Saturday, April 26, 2008

Wanna Party?

Etiquette, rules, Guidelines, Party Outlines, Dungeon list- what ever you want to call it, us folks tend to want a bit of order with our fun.
Collecting and re-writing our private event rules has become it's own cottage industry.
With that in mind, SX thought it might be fun to have one place to keep them *all*.
Send us your submissions (no pun intended) or variations on a theme.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Furniture uses

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

BDSM Venues and Legal Status
Posted: April 25, 2007

This article is about the challenges facing establishments offering BDSM and other forms of consensual adult activity, particularly as this relates to our local community. This is an area of concern that many in the BDSM scene like to talk about at length, but few really understand. We hear terms like "flying above (or below) radar", "legal status" and "proper permits". It is easy for us to become confused about what is legal and what is not.

First and foremost, understand that we are dealing with multiple levels of law. Many of our activities are governed to some extent by criminal law, while other activities fall into the areas of zoning and licensing. All of the above are further influenced to some degree by our First Amendment rights to freedom of expression.

This topic is particularly difficult to define because criminal laws vary from state to state. Also zoning and licensing regulations vary from city to city and county to county within the same state. Still further complicating things is the reality that certain zoning and licensing requirements may be selectively, or even arbitrarily enforced by individual local officials, often with little in the way of practical recourse. For purposes of this article we are focusing solely on the zoning and licensing aspects of the issue. The criminal law aspect is a much bigger subject that has been addressed in many places but needs to remain in the back of our minds when we make decisions about our play.

When we talk about being "legal" with respect to BDSM, we must understand that many of the things we practice are at best marginally legal, and in some states may be quite illegal. We also need to be aware that just because a bottom in a given scene is happy with the scene and swears to officialdom that the scene was consensual, does not mean that police cannot still arrest and a District Attorney cannot still charge and prosecute the top. In the bay area this type of prosecution is mercifully rare but that does mean it can not happen even here.

This situation can occur even in a private home. If a neighbor observes "something" through a window or hears "something" that he or she finds suspicious and decides to call the police, guess who's coming to dinner? The net result is that there is no place we can do BDSM play without running some risk of having an unpleasant encounter with law enforcement. The risk may be greater or less depending on where we choose to play. Mitigating that risk through choice of venue is the subject of this article.

There are two approaches employed to dealing with officialdom. One approach is the so called "fly under radar approach". Here the concept is to keep what you are doing shielded from the public eye. Generally play parties at private homes are adopting this strategy. The party in most cases will only be advertised by word of mouth and the parties host will generally want to meet all the guests prior to extending an invitation. Folks tend to choose homes for parties where it is less likely to disturb the neighbors and risk a complaint to the local Police.

This is not the tactic that most public venues use. Within smOdyssey for example, we believe in the opposite approach "flying above the radar". In this approach local law enforcement, licensing, zoning and other cognizant public safety officials are contacted in advance and our intentions regarding our planned activities are openly discussed.

We enjoy this sort of relationship in both the City of San Jose through the past efforts of smOdyssey pioneers like Jerome, and in Santa Clara through the continuing efforts of folks like Ali at Edges.

Numerous issues crop up when you attempt to do BDSM parties in commercial spaces. Fire safety regulations, zoning restrictions, local laws on adult entertainment, business licensing requirements and use permits all come into play. A common misconception is that a space needs one specific license as a BDSM club. In fact, no such single license exists. Every business needs a local business license and most will need additional licenses and permits to cover various activities. The mere fact of, being issued a business license is not sufficient protection if the business has not been up front with local officials about the true nature of contemplated BDSM events.

By way of example, smOdyssey stages many of our events at the community space known as "Edges". Edges; is owned by South Bay Productions and have several different licenses and permits. They have a basic Santa Clara City Business license to operate a member's only club. They have additional permits for photography and video production, and they have another county required permit to offer non-accredited educational courses. Additionally they have special use permits to allow use of the facility for construction and or repair of what we would call play equipment.

In addition they had to pass through the scrutiny of both the local Zoning Department and the Fire Marshall. They are housed in a building zoned for industrial use, which in Santa Clara is the least restrictive zoning possible and the ideal location for an adult oriented Members Only BDSM club. They also routinely pass inspections by the Santa Clara City Fire Marshall.

Equally important to getting all of the above permits and licenses though was being upfront with the city and county officials issuing those permits. Recently, Edges ownership sat down with Police Department Officials in the City of Santa Clara and spoke to them more than frankly about the activities within their building. No additional permits or licenses were required for Edges. This is due to Edges' excellent track record in their first year of operation along with their strict member's only status and membership policies. City officials even went as far as offering to add S/m club to the business license. It was later agreed that this would not be in the best interest of Edges as that information becomes much more "searchable" and could cause future problems for the business.

Both the Police Department and Fire Department are fully aware of the type of activity the space is used for. The good news here is that if for any reason fire, EMT or law enforcement had to come to the site their superiors would know in advance about the activities within Edges. This greatly reduces the likelihood of an officer deciding to issue citations or make arrests and leaving it to a judge to sort it out. In short a player is much less likely to have a bad experience with law enforcement at a well run "above radar" member's club than at an "under radar" venue, that is relying on invisibility as their first and last line of defense.

Similarly when we stage large events like FolsomFringe we work with the hotel staff, local police and other interested parties to assure that to the greatest extent possible our events are properly permissible at the locations they are held.

None of this is a guarantee that Edges, smOdyssey or any other South Bay Leather Organization will always be welcome in Santa Clara County or City. Indeed no Dungeon space or leather event has such a guarantee in any county or city within the United States. Local standards of public "morality" can change at anytime and today's cooperative public officials might be replaced with the next season's elections by those opposed to sexual freedom.

smOdyssey and Edges are not activist groups. It is neither of our goals to create confrontation and then test our first amendment rights in court. Our goals are the same, to provide access to safe, sane, consensual; risk aware, BDSM/Leather oriented social and educational opportunities. We both work to be as open and transparent as possible with our local authorities and to be good neighbors in our communities. While we can never guarantee absolute safety in pursuing our BDSM interests we can and do offer the highest possible degree of safety to our respective memberships.

Many have expressed dismay about the inconvenience of having to go through an application and orientation process for becoming members of smOdyssey and/or Edges. These measures are necessary to distinguish our organizations from Adult Erotic Entertainment facilities that would not be nearly as welcome within the city limits of Santa Clara in the same way that we are at current. These measures also assure that a level of screening stands between sincere BDSM folks and those who are merely curious and/or potentially disruptive.

For further questions regarding the steps taken to ensure the safety of our members, feel free to contact or
Authored as a collaborative effort of kinky friends.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


Party admission is $5 with a potluck contribution, $10 without. (See below.)

Please don’t bring guests without permission. All new guests must first come to the XXX Munch and meet ABC, DEF, GHI and become a part of our community the same way you did.

Vanilla to the front door! No collars, leashes, or nudity for our neighbors to see. Please wear a coat to cover fetish wear. You may change inside.

Party starts at 7pm. No one will be admitted after 8:30 without special permission. We start the demos and info class promptly at that time.

Our parties are potlucks. Each guest is asked to bring one dish. We provide coffee, tea, and bottled water as well as dishes and utensils. You may also bring your own non-alcoholic beverage of choice. If you forget to bring a food item, we’ll ask you to chip in an extra $5 (in addition to the $5 donation to attend the party), making your cost to attend $10.

Please bring your own toys, blankets, and towels. We provide sharps disposal containers, first aid supplies, and safer sex supplies, as well as cleaning supplies so you can clean your play area after your scene.

Please respect other people's personal space and property. That means stay out of others' scenes unless invited, and keep a safe distance away from scenes you're watching. It also means don't touch other people's toys or bodies without permission (not even an uninvited hug). No means no!

Experienced players are here to act as DMs (dungeon monitors). You can recognize them by their red armbands. Their role is to keep an eye on things and make sure nothing happens to spoil your scene, as well as to offer instruction from time to time. Their word is final!

Thank you for not smoking in the house. There is a smoking area outside on the patio. No alcohol or drugs! If we smell them on you, you won’t be admitted; and anyone using alcohol or drugs at the party will be asked to leave and will be removed from the list.

No cameras or cell phones please.

This is a private home. Please stay out of non-party areas and be respectful of the property (and the maid – she’s a bitch if pissed off!).


(my thanks to R).

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

All parties are for Members only. For everyone's safety anyone attending shall have met with us in person. This protects our group from the less desirable element and also keeps us as a private group/club as opposed to a public venue where anyone can attend. Contact us off list if you have a special need in this area.

House rules:

The house safe word is RED to immediately stop play.

Quiet areas are the dungeon areas, patio and kitchen areas. Please keep all noise to a respected level. We live in a neighborhood, please respect that fact.

While fetish wear is encouraged, please cover up to enter and exit the house from the street.

There is to be no play behind closed doors.

Please park legally and respect the neighbors. Parking is on the street only.

Lets police ourselves and please notify the host or hostess of any safety issues or , harassment or etiquette infringement problems that come to your attention. ,

Management reserves the right to declare any toy, implement, object or practice as unsafe, for any reason, and require that it be removed from the facility immediately.

Edge Play defined as Fire, Breath, Blood and rape scenes should be prearranged with the host or hostess. We all know what is within the envelope and what is too far out there.

Safe sex practices are recommended for all activities. Examples: use a condom or put down a chuck (absorbent pad, available in the dungeon) to protect the members around you. Play with respect to others in the room.

No cameras, video or audio recording devices are allowed at any party without prior written authorization from the Host/Hostess

Cell phones should be on silent while in the dungeon or open play areas.

Cleaning supplies are located throughout the play space. If you do wax, blood or other messy scenes, please use a tarp or drop cloth. Please clean up the equipment after yourselves! Leave all equipment free of sweat, blood, other bodily fluids, wax, toys, etc. Bring body fluid contamination to the attention of the host.

Do not interfere in a scene. Do not touch anyone or anyone's gear without permission. You are not required to say or do anything. Watching is acceptable from a safe distance. Please keep all conversation, laughter and comments to a minimum in the play space.

Do not monopolize equipment to the extent that others may not have the time to play.

Abnormally loud screaming and talking within a scene is discouraged as a courtesy to others. Tops may be asked by the DMs to quiet or gag loud bottoms if there is a complaint made by others.

Please try to move aftercare away from the equipment so that the equipment is not tied up during aftercare.

No alcohol or any illegal substances of any kind may be brought to a social. Any member or attendee deemed to be under the influence by a DM will be removed!

Smoking is prohibited indoors.

Confidentiality: We are like Las Vegas; what happens/said/seen here, stays here. Let's be grownup about this, some people are still in the closet and don't want others (outside of the group) to know their involved. Group members are privy to knowledge the general public is not. Keep it that way. Do not give out any personal information which includes scene names or real names, email addresses, jobs, phones #'s, etc to anyone except your own. We are like a family to the regulars and we want to keep it that way. You may discuss generally what happened and the demo information but not the people who attended or the location without the permission of the person you are talking about.

By reading these rules, you acknowledge that you have read these rules, understand them, and will abide by them and that you assume all risks incident to your attendance.

Play safe and have fun!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

D/s Party-- Polite interaction

Here's a short list of general ideas towards basic D/s party etiquette that have worked here in the Bay Area. i am sure others have found more tried and true guidelines for their own groups and we would love to hear about them.

All slaves need permission to speak
All slaves will avert eyes unless ordered to.
No one shall touch another without permission of the owner,even for old friends and ex-play partners.
Property does not sit on furniture.
All Masters/Owners/slaves shall use formal titles for greetings- All male dominants are Sir, all females are Ma'am. Slaves should be called by their names if known.

Slaves may be addressed for general service. Discussions beyond such should be first cleared through their owner or the House.

Slaves may speak with each other ONLY in the confines of the kitchen, for information regarding service, or to clarify a question of service.

Once a party servant asks an Owner a question (e.g., "May I
bring you anything, Sir/Ma'am?"), the party servant must wait until
the Owner has finished with the request (e.g., "Bring me a bottle of
water, please"). As a courtesy, the Owner should say "That is all"
and the party servant would respond with "Yes, Sir/Ma'am". If the
Owner says nothing, then ten seconds of silence (along with a
consistent body gesture of attention diverted elsewhere) is
equivalent to "That is all". When the party servant returns with
the requested items, the servant property says, for example, "Here
is your water, Sir/Ma'am". As a courtesy, the Owner should
say "Thank you" and the party would then respond with "You're
welcome, Sir/Ma'am." If the party servant is named jane, for
example, it is also OK for the Owner to say "Thank you, jane."

(3) All properties must address all Owners as Sir/Ma'am as

This rule means that if an Owner talks to another Owner's property
by mistake without having obtained permission first (with the
exception of "Who is your Owner?"), the other Owner's property must
still address the out-of-line Owner as Sir/Ma'am (e.g., "I don't
have permission to talk to you, Sir/Ma'am"). The reason that such a
faux pas is a mistake is because everyone knows the protocol rules
and would only violate them due to an honest mistake. The out-of-
line Owner would then be required to apologize to the other Owner's

(4) Any permission can be revoked at any time by the Owner who
granted the permission.

(5) All Owners are responsible for the behaviors of their
properties. If a property misbehaves, the property's Owner is
notified, who then deals with the approrpiate punishment or further
training of the property as necessary.

(6) "Please" and "thank you" are the recommended forms of politeness
to use between Owners and the properties owned by others. Owners,
of course, can use whatever forms of politeness they wish with their
own properties.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

From an early member of the on line BDSM Scene

Party Rules & Expectations
From the home pages of Tammad Rimilla
He is greatly missed and thought of often.

In my own opinion, party "rules" are just another form of negotiation, and are as essential for a successful party as negotiation is for a successful scene.

With that statement I do not presume to specify what the rules _are_, or _should be_, merely that NEGOTIATION should take place. It goes something like this: the host specifies what actions are and are not within their party "limits". Then each invitee has to decide whether they can enjoy playing inside the host's party limits, and also whether they might be squicked by other people's play at such a party. If the guest feels uncomfortable with the party limits then they should probably decline the invitation. If they accept the invitation, then they have to be prepared to honor the party rules and to cope with watching the play of other guests.

In general, the more detailed the information provided by the hosts, the better able guests are able to react and to plan. And "detailed" need not imply "verbose", my own inability to be brief notwithstanding. :-)

Party rules are how the host makes explicit their EXPECTATIONS for behavior at their party. If those expectations are not made clear, then it is quite possible that the guests will unintentionally violate one or more of those expectations. When expectations are violated that the normal human response is anger -- and angering your host isn't cool party-animal behavior.


These examples are all cases where the host's EXPECTATIONS really need to be made very clear, in advance, or else major unhappiness can result. Most people have strong feelings about these issues. [I use the word "host" as a gender-non-specific title, "network host".]

I've known some parties where penetration is not permitted, and others where it is permitted or even encouraged.

I've known some parties where alcohol and/or tobacco are permitted, and other where one or both are forbidden. A similar statement is often made about use of other chemicals. (NOTE: If you need to bring prescription medicines with you to a party to maintain a medication schedule, it is considered polite to mention that to your host, so that they will be expecting you to be taking pills or whatever.)

I've known some parties where donations of money were expected, to help cover the food costs. I've known others where money was forbidden, but guests where expected to contribute "pot luck" food items. I've known still others where (for sound legal reasons) the hosts will not accept money, food, or any form of gift on party days.

I've known some parties where full nudity was not permitted, some where fetish costumes were expected, some where nudity was permitted in "scene/play space" but not in "safe space", and still others where clothing was optional for the whole event. Some hosts might require mandatory nudity.

I've known some parties where guests are expected to help answer the door and the telephone, to unburden the host. I've known other parties where the host insists on being the only person to handle door and/or phone, for privacy reasons.

I've known some parties where the doors are locked after a certain hour and no new guests will be admitted after that time, while at other parties guests are welcome to wander in and out as the mood takes them.

I've known some parties where SM play was permitted only in certain rooms, bondage tickle play was permitted in another room, "generally vanilla" type sexual play was permitted in certain other rooms, and still other rooms were "safe space" for talking and eating. I've known other parties where play could happen anywhere. I've never known a host not to designate at least a small space as "non-play safe space" -- at least in the vicinity of the front door, if nowhere else.

I've known some parties where all occupants of a room were expected to fall silent whenever a scene was in progress, and others where subdued conversation was permitted even during scenes.

I've known some parties where "safe space" differed from "play space" only in that no active _playing_ would be going on, but people in that safe space might be nude, might be wandering around in bondage, might be in some erotic costume. But they would be talking, eating, dancing, and/or generally partying it up there, not scening. At other parties, the nudity and costumes might be OK in safe space, but no ongoing bondage. At still other parties, people in "safe space" are expected to be dressed, so that if a neighbor shows up at the door the tableau inside the door looks like a relatively normal party.

I've known some parties where positive ID, proof of age, and a signed "rules agreement" form are required for admission. Many parties are by invitation only, and there is someone by the door checking names off the host's copy of the invitation list. Some parties allow guests to bring friends without pre-arrangement. Some parties (esp. at SF conventions) are open to anyone (anyone with a Convention badge).

I've known some parties where the hosts have floor space but not many big toys, so the guests are invited to bring racks, benches, etc. I've known other parties where space was constrained and the guests were required to make do with the items provided by the host.

I've known some parties where the host has provided sturdy overhead attachments for those wishing to bring suspension gear, and other parties where the opportunities for attaching restraints to the (rented) residence were very limited.

I've known some parties where the host makes a portion of their personal flogger/whip/paddle collection available for general public use, and I've known other parties where each participant is expected to make their own arrangements for such toys, so that it is easier to keep track of which toys have been used on which Bottoms. (Guests should ask permission to use another guest's toys, and alert the owner if blood contact occurred while using a borrowed toy.)


One particularly nice touch, especially at a party where some guests might be new to the scene, is for the host to arrange and announce one or more "exhibition scenes", whereby the host has prearranged with certain guests to do a particular kind of scene for all to watch, at a time early in the party. It's a nice ice-breaker, and it also helps the host convey in powerful non-verbal ways what sort(s) of play they want to encourage. I had the good personal fortune that my very first play party started with a *very* impressive sensual flogging. It was very reassuring for me to know that BDSM play in _reality_ could be everything I had always _imagined_ it to be.

I was incredibly impressed when I attended one party at which penetration and sex play were strongly encouraged, because the host arranged for a local entertainer (into the scene) to give an extensive and delightful "Safer Sex" lecture/demonstration early in the evening. Guests were not required to follow the practices described, but by the end of the lecture everyone knew enough to intelligently make their own decisions about risk. [I also learned something new: that putting lubricant inside a condom can greatly improve the sensations. Never assume you have nothing more to learn from such a lecture.] A very classy touch.

Some hosts ask that guests planning long, complicated, or "extreme" scenes mention that in advance. That allows the host to "fine tune" any details of the scene beforehand and perhaps to make special preparations. Sometimes mention of these "special events" is made either in the invitations or in pre-party update E-mail. This allows guests who might be especially attracted or repulsed to plan accordingly. [I departed a day and a half early from one particularly nice party, because there was an announced scene scheduled where my assessment of the potential for loss of life was higher than I was comfortable being around. The host did me a BIG SERVICE by announcing the plans in advance. There was no shortage of guests for that event, but I wasn't there.]


Hosts have limitations that may be imposed upon them by their location and their personal situation. Hosts also have moods and interests that vary over time. Thus, hosts will seek to provide different styles and intensities of entertainment for/with their guests at different times. And each host will have their own unique set of tastes and constraints, different from the tastes and constraints of every other host.

For each party the host generally has a fairly specific set of EXPECTATIONS. The good host will make those expectations known in advance, and the good guest will either politely decline the invitation or scrupulously honor those expectations.

Party hard! I do... :-)