Monday, 15 December 2014

BDSMonday - Play Parties

It's BDSMonday!

Today I'm talking about play parties.

In case you don't know, a play party is a gathering of kinky people where the attendees play or watch others play, as opposed to a munch which is typically in a vanilla setting and play of any kind is a big no-no.

I'll admit to limited experience. I live in a small city, and the kinky community here is small. All of the play parties I've attended bar one were organized at least in part by me. The one I didn't help organize was very, very small, and held in someone's home. Some of what I say might not apply in all cases, so I'd love to hear from people with more experience!

First, how do you get invited to a play party? Some are completely open--anyone with the cash can buy a ticket. This is especially true of very large parties that have been running for a number of years. Smaller ones tend to be more selective, both because of size restrictions and concerns about the safety of those attending. Most of the parties I hosted were semi-private. A group of vetted people would be sent direct invites, and any remaining tickets would be sold at munches. Interested people had to attend at least one munch so we could meet them in person. We also had a list of people who were not welcome, because of past incidents or major personality conflicts with people who were attending. We also tried to mostly invite people who we knew would play, because that way it's more fun for everyone.

It's usually okay to attend a play party and not play, but it's best to ask ahead of time. Play parties aren't public, but they aren't in the bedroom, either. Anyone playing at them has to realize that they may be watched while they play. We always left little areas where people could stand and watch play. If someone tells you they don't want to be watched, or any other request, please respect that.

Stay out of the way of play! The people involved in a scene don't want to be tripping over you or have to worry about accidentally hitting you with a riding crop. Stay out of the scene unless you're invited. Don't talk to the participants unless you've been invited to, or unless that scene is specifically stated to be a demonstration.

Another important part of play parties is DMs or dungeon monitors. The DM is there to make sure everyone is safe and happy. At our parties, people who had already played weren't allowed to DM, because that meant they were in an altered state and probably not as focused as someone who hadn't played. Not all play parties have them.

I don't remember an instance where our DMs had to intervene with a scene, but they helped clean up stations, brought water, snacks, pillows and blankets to people who'd played, and just kept an eye on everything.

If you have a question about a scene, or if it's making you uncomfortable, approach the DM. Don't try to stop the scene yourself. If you need to, leave the room. Not everyone is going to play the same way as you, but that doesn't mean they're doing it 'wrong'.

Due to hygiene/safety, you'll probably have to bring your own toys to a play party, but there will probably be different stations set up to play at. We had a spanking bench, St. Andrew's cross and massage table. If you can, it's nice to clean up the station when you're finished playing--some form of disinfectant should be provided. Sometimes you or your play partner are too out of it to clean up. That's okay, just let someone know.

And a quick note, as someone who hosted parties: getting there early to help to set up, and staying late to help take down everything is a super awesome thing to do if you're able! Putting on play parties is a lot of work, and chances are your help will be appreciated.

Thank your hosts for putting on the party. Don't constantly pester them about when the next party is going to be, because eventually the answer is going to be, "Whenever you put one on." Play parties should be fun for everyone, and that includes the hosts!

Play safely, and see you next week!

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