I was talking with a self-confessed newbie on Recon, when he brought up this question, as with my response:
I think this is a great question, and it’s good to get this info out there. This is my general policy, especially when meeting a person for the first time. Communication is so very important for everyone to enjoy a scene. And even if there has been a lot of messaging beforehand, in person talk is still important, as you can find out more face to face and be very direct. Sometimes, what people say online can be misinterpreted.
I want to further elaborate that when I say “discuss what we will and won’t do”, that’s a discussion for both the sub and Dom to state their limits and preferences. Doms can have limits, too. In my case, I won’t do any anal at all. Also not into the idea of sounding or electro (even as a Dom). I love the idea of flogging, but I have no experience in it, so I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing it.
When working with someone who is new to kink, I will often check in with them during the scene to make sure they are doing okay, if they are enjoying themselves, as well as ask if there’s anything else I could do to them (or not do if they didn’t like something). Yes, it can sometimes sound a bit like a customer service survey. I try to keep it brief. But it’s worth it to know the sub has an opportunity to express how they’re feeling about the scene without repercussions. I do try to read body language, but everyone reacts differently, so it can be difficult to gauge with certainty.
Now, if you’re meeting with someone you already know, or have excellent references for, this process can be greatly abbreviated. But even then, I still will check in a bit. People can grow and change their preferences, and what was once taboo for them may have grown as an interest after all. Or vice versa, where they tried something and found it wasn’t for them. So updates are always important. Never assume.
I think this is something important that often becomes overlooked in many kinky blogs. And I can’t lie, the abstract idea of being taken against one’s will without “consent” can be a hot one… as a fantasy. However, it can be entirely a different thing in reality, and if not careful, can potentially lead to some unpleasant situations. Unless you already know and really trust the Dom, I think it’s generally best left to fantasy.
If the Dom doesn’t want to communicate with you and answer your questions, it may be best to move on. It’s important you feel comfortable, and if you’re not, don’t put yourself in a situation where you feel unsure (in a bad way).