Be a Healthy Player:
Avoid Problems.

by Ms. Margaret Davis

There are basic rules to all scene play. Know them. Some are listed out on the General Scene Protocol page, while some are listed on this page. They were collected from meetings, parties, clubs and a variety of people who have been in the community a long time.

1. Use a scene name and guard your privacy. Have a scene email separate from real life.

2. Scene activities are forms of adult recreation. Reckless immaturity is different from fun-filled, respectful, noisy bottoming. Arrogance and bad manners don’t make anyone a good top.

3. Be a healthy player, and play only with others who are healthy. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.

4. Take your issues to a therapist, not into the scene. People are there to have fun, not solve your problems. If you’re not doing well emotionally, don’t play. Be healthy. Be happy. Spanking parties are not a good place to talk about your health, death, your children or grandchildren.

5. Start slow and educate yourself. Go to educational meetings, read books, magazines, articles and informative websites. Talk to other players with your same interests and same orientation. Be cautious of anyone who would isolate you from information, other groups, other players or the right to make your own decisions.

6. Every scene has some risk. If you are a novice — top or bottom — at certain activities, take the time to learn all the safety precautions. People can and do get injured when you’re not careful.

7. Learn to communicate your needs. _Listen_ to the needs of others, including tops, bottoms and party hosts. Look for, seek out and give feedback afterwards. Nobody can read your mind. _POLITELY_ Communicate any way you can but get it out. No one can work with ambiguity. Find pictures, talk, listen or write a story, but learn to communicate your needs.

8. Bad manners do not make you a good top nor are they acceptable if you’re a bottom. Humility is a strength not a weakness. Play is play and should be kept within the boundaries of you and your partner. Don’t embarrass or annoy others by pulling them into something that’s not fun for them. Also, practice basic pleasantries, like saying please and thank you.

9. Not all scenes are about sex or have to end with sex. If a top tells you that, find a new top.

10. Anybody can make mistakes. Everyone does. You should be able to solve problems in a rational, logical, polite manner. Repeating the same mistakes is a clue something else is wrong.

11. Activities in the scene are meant to be fun and pleasurable for both parties. Rejection happens to everyone. Rejection isn’t easy and it occurs as much in the scene as it does anywhere else. It’s okay for people in the scene to say “no thank you” and hopefully it is said politely. On the other hand, not everyone hears the word “no” very well, even when it’s said with manners.

12. If a player is a known “flake,” run like the wind and avoid further contact. (Even if s/he is cute.) Protect your privacy from them.

13. The scene is a private situation where people bring their most intimate secrets and fantasies. Respect that. Getting too casual about something so private isn’t appealing for many of the players but especially the women. You will have more success with the females if you watch your manners and keep the conversation a little formal. (No different than in real life.) When you’re topping, be a seductive mystery. If you’re bottoming, be polite, fun and respectful.

14. Some players shoot themselves in the foot with common mistakes. Scrub every inch, clean, bathe, use deodorant & mouthwash. _Before_ arriving at any party location (including/mostly weekend parties) Men: Groom, shave, snip, _cut your nose and ear hair_ before you arrive on the property. Ladies: A little make up and effort with your hair at all times. Please, if you must use a pad keep your undies up.

If it’s a weekend event keep in mind people are looking at potential spanking situations. Appearing too casual or unkempt at a spanking party doesn’t always work.

In addition to poor personal hygiene there are other things that can go wrong: bad manners; sending mixed messages; over-reacting; freely swatting and touching without notice or invitation; groping hands during what was negotiated as a platonic situation; not listening to what a partner really needs; ignoring safe words; asking someone to play when s/he doesn’t know your name or anything about you; and forcing a sexual conversation on someone who isn’t interested. The list is endless, so brush up on your social skills. Getting too casual too fast is a recipe for disaster.

AVOID certain foods before a party: Garlic, Onions, Seafood, Beans, etc. Nothing gassy or heavy.

15. If you’re looking for something specific, be prepared to travel. Spanking gatherings are usually across your state or the country. Nothing will come to you.

16. People eventually tire of drama queens, drama kings and chronic complainers.

17. Make sure the scene is safe, sane and consensual. If not, it’s okay to say ‘no’.

18. Read the rules of the party you are attending. There are basic scene protocols too. ( If you have manners you will find most scene rules are common sense. (Play nice, don’t touch things that aren’t yours, ask permission, etc.) Every group has their own routines so don’t assume anything, even if you have been playing for years. Most scene parties mirror the interests of the people hosting the event. Introduce yourself and research as to what kind of play is acceptable. If you know the interests of the people in charge, most likely you can figure out play for the party.

19. Get a name (and a good visual) of a person before you play.

20. Tell Ms. Margaret or Mr. Ryder if something offensive happens at a SCONY party. At SCONY parties we will ask some combination of, “What’s their name or can you describe them?”, “Did you use safe words?”, “How well did you know them before you isolated yourself where no one can hear you?” (Ask a friend to go with you and wait outside.) We support weeding out bad guests but we need everyone to use common sense. We deal with all matters very quietly.

21. Bondage is not part of SCONY party protocol, however, bondage should be off your list unless you know and trust the top. Ask another bottom about their experience with a top interested in bondage. Bondage is _not_ (really not) a starting point or first scene activity. Consider yourself warned.

22. If the players are glaring at you like you’re a fresh piece of meat and you are uncomfortable there are choices. 1. Tell the hosts. 2. Stay covered and/or wear a thong. 2. Change groups since some hosts are more aware of this than others. 3. Look at what you are wearing and ask yourself what your outfit might be inviting. 4. Confront the player and tell him/her to put the eyeballs back in their head and go away. There are people who like lots of stares so talk to someone in charge. SCONY people are very good at escorting and protecting novices until they feel safe.

23. If you know that a player has been around a long time research the trail they left behind. Novices often get the ‘glow of passionate scenes’ confused with ‘love’. (Go back and read that again.) A good scene is not necessarily a love affair to both players. If a top/bottom is known to leave a trail of broken hearts keep your wits about you. Stay in control of your emotional attachments. If your involvement is keeping you from functioning in real life it’s time to step back and think this out. There are many great tops that do what you like without messing up your head, your life and your ability to function. Not all tops can get into your head and the ones who can have a responsibility to keep attachments under control. Keep your play sane.

24. Watch your money. Just like life, the scene has people who have money to spend and people who like to borrow or don’t want to spend their own. This is just a friendly warning to be cautious. Don’t let your passions take over your wallet. There are exceptions and I’m not talking about close friends or a party where low attendance didn’t cover the tab. All party groups struggle to stay in the black.

25. If a player seems to have too many emotional issues and multiple personalities that’s a sign to be cautious. Unstable people are in the scene, too, and you do not have to tolerate them. Research and observe where dramas originate and who are problem players. When emotionally unstable people descend into a dark place they usually take nice people with them. The scene is built on trust and, on some level, you have to be able to trust the people around you.

26. All guests must be aware of their own safety regarding previous injuries and health problems.

27. You have to be able to communicate very clearly (hearing, speech and the English language), to be able to negotiate a spanking scene. If you must, step outside where you can hear. Communicating first is part of basic safe play! Good manners in speech, dress and personal hygiene are common sense matters.

28. Titles and Labels:

Family titles like, “Daddy”, “Mommy”, “Auntie”, “Baby Girl”, “Little Boy” are enjoyed by some spanking enthusiasts, but make others uncomfortable. The same is true for titles such as “Master”, “Mistress”, “Slave”, “Sir” (but not “Yes/No Sir” in a sentence) etc. Some titles are used more widely in BDSM circles and that’s not SCONY.

If you are at a spanking party, especially a SCONY party, and you enjoy family or service titles, please use them _privately_, and only when you play with someone who also enjoys them. Do not use them on your party badge or expect to hear them in general conversation with you. Remember that even if you are someone’s Top/Domme/Master/Auntie/Sir, you are not everyone’s Top/Domme/Master/Auntie/Sir.

Not everyone needs or wants to be ‘labeled’, ‘owned’, or ‘under the protection of’, ‘dominated’ by another person. (Novices are often convinced they need someone’s protection to be safe. All players should know how to make their own decisions and be safe.)

All SCONY participants are adults, capable of making their own choices and having those choices respected. That includes the use of titles and labels.

29. You are there to have fun and enjoy your spanking fantasies. If you are not with a group who keeps peace but rather wastes time arguing it’s time to move on to a happier situation.

30. Three reasons why things go wrong with a scene:
Ignorance, Arrogance and Alcohol.