How to Play in Public and Private BDSM Dungeons

BDSM Dungeon. Those words cause many a kinkster to shiver, some out of excitement and some out of fear. If you have never been to a dungeon, it can seem intimidating. You are probably picturing a place full of sin, wantonness, wickedness and more. You could have a flogging scene happening in one corner and someone screaming in pleasure in another corner. Someone could be walking around, leading their partner who is on a leash and collar.  While all of those things may be happening, you will also see people just standing around catching up with friends.

How should you act?  The answers may very well depend on if you are at a public dungeon or a private dungeon. There are definite etiquette rules that you should follow at any type of dungeon, but there are also subtle differences between public and private play spaces that you should be prepared to navigate.

Consent

Consent is the cornerstone of BDSM. It’s given before you touch, whether it’s a person or their toys. In a public play space, people are very careful about getting consent for everything. Imagine you are surrounded by strangers, you do not want them touching you or your things without your permission.

In a private dungeon, consent is still an important part of the BDSM lifestyle but it’s a lot more subtle. The parties I throw in my dungeon average 45 people, most of whom know each other well. They are friends and many have scened together. So you will see a lot of touching, even hitting, where no consent seems to have been given. You will see tops picking up toys belonging to other tops without asking permission. What you won’t see is anyone getting upset or angry, because these friends have blanket permission to touch.

Keep in mind that if you are new to the group, that the permission does not extend to you.

Talking During Scenes

In a public dungeon, etiquette demands that you watch scenes from a distance and do not talk to those involved in the scene. If you want to socialize there are areas in every club meant just for that. If you’re watching a scene but want to say something to your friend next to you – get in their ear and whisper. Keep the conversation to a minimum. In a private dungeon, you may still have couples participating in scenes who prefer to not chat, but you are just as likely to find a lot of discussion between scene participants and onlookers.

In a private dungeon, you are more likely to see interactions during scenes. The guests are all usually good friends and may banter with each other as scenes are going. The important thing to remember is that the bantering is happening because of the relationships that are already established. If you are new to the group or the private dungeon, this is not an invitation for you to automatically participate. Watch the interactions, see if the people in the scene are speaking to only a select few or are inviting other audience members to speak, then use your best judgment.

Dungeon Monitors 

A Dungeon Monitor (sometimes referred to as a DM) is a person charged with supervising a playspace (or “dungeon”). The primary responsibility of a Dungeon Monitor is to ensure the physical safety of all participants engaging in BDSM play.  These people may be of any sex and can identify as any role (dominant, submissive, or switch), but while on duty their authority is absolute. If a Dungeon Monitor orders a play scene to stop, it must be stopped immediately. They often wear a special uniform, hat or armband, so they are more easily identifiable.

In a private dungeon, more often than not, the host is the dungeon monitor though they may also assign a close friend to serve in that capacity. The responsibility of a dungeon monitor is the same whether in a public or private dungeon. However, because participants in a private dungeon know each other well, the DM’s may appear more lenient. The familiarity allows the DM’s to better understand participants skill levels and boundaries.

Entrance Fees

At a public dungeon, there is usually a fee for entry into an event. In addition, many dungeons require you to be a member before attending any events. Private dungeons may or may not charge an entrance fee. They may also ask that you bring food or beverages to share with other party guests.

And while membership of some type is typically not required at private playspaces, guests may need to go through a vetting process before they are allowed to attend an event.

Equipment 

Public dungeons usually have a wide variety of equipment and multiple items of the same piece while private dungeons to be more limited in options. Therefore, being considerate of your fellow guests is essential. Be aware of the amount of time you are spending on a particular piece of equipment because there are likely others who are waiting for their turn.

Also because private dungeons are typically smaller than public spaces, you may want to limit the amount of toys you bring to play with. Don’t plan on bringing your entire arsenal. Instead, plan out your scene in advance so that you bring only the implements you believe you will use that night.

Ultimately whether you are at a public or private dungeon, you need to be respectful of house and playspace rules, especially in a private dungeon which is often someone’s home. If you have questions as to what those rules are, don’t hesitate to ask the host. This way everyone will have a fun and enjoyable time.

About Rara

Rara is a kink party and event planner in the Washington, DC area. She has her own personal dungeon where she holds BDSM play parties.  She also hosts munches, facilitates a discussion group on Poly and Power Exchange Relationships and organizes educational classes. Rara is an active member of her local BDSM community enjoying life as a poly masochistic bottom. Her kinks include impact, rope suspension, needles and more.

Want to learn more about Rara?

Follow her on FetLife or Twitter or Tumblr.

If you liked this post by Rara, check out her post: The Do’s and Don’ts of Going to a Munch or When a Kinky Scene Goes Bad.

Feel free to share your thoughts or questions about private and public BDSM dungeons in the comments below or talk to us on Twitter!

Rara

Rara is a kink party and event planner in the Washington, DC area. She has her own personal dungeon where she holds BDSM play parties.  She also hosts munches, facilitates a discussion group on Poly and Power Exchange Relationships and organizes educational classes. Rara is an active member of her local BDSM community enjoying life as a poly masochistic bottom. Her kinks include impact, rope suspension, needles and more.

1 Response

  1. January 21, 2019

    […] isn’t so much kinky as it is A Thing We Do. When we go to a local club or BDSM dungeon to play, not only does he pick out my panties (of course), they’re always a thong. Technically I […]

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