An answer to observing a scene gone wrong
Tao of The Crown
This post was inspired by an email I received. It brings together many issues that we have to engage with when inviting others to join us to observe as we engage with our specific kink dynamics. Do you think the observer is part of scene they are observing? This email encapsulates many of the general assumptions people can come to the kink community after only learning about what it means to be dominant or submissive through porn and fantasy. This email is a learning experience about communication and how to handle unpleasant feelings while attending an event or online. Not every piece of advice that any of us will give is going to be positive. People need to know they are wrong and need to see consequences when they do not change their behavior. As you read this over and please think about what you might say. Chances are good you will encounter someone like this.
Hello Master Crown I saw your blog and looked at your book. A couple of weeks ago I got invited to a private holiday party with people from my local BDSM group. I am relatively new with some experiences as a mistress and I wanted to give myself an opportunity to explore myself and know what my boundaries are. I’ve done everything I could to make sure that everyone knew that if they did not feel like roleplaying with me or if I overstepped a boundary to please let me know and I will talk it out with the m. Consent is super important to me on both ends, and I want to make sure the person feels comfortable with me and could tell me if a scene goes wrong. Well, the same couldn’t be said for how I felt. There was a scene that got too intense and I stopped it, I was met with, “You should’ve walked away. You can’t interrupt a scene you were not directly a part of (which I was. I wasn’t participating with the other people but I was seeing if I enjoyed the aspect of not being a part of it and watch it, but I wasn’t). You need to take this privately.”
I was then removed from the room and next the Fetlife group as they accused me of starting drama when I called out the safe word after I got too overwhelmed because of the intense scene and the confusion of “What should I do? I was told so many different things.” I will admit, I had some of my overdramatic moments, but I was getting triggered by some of these actions and was gaslit into thinking my mental state wasn’t important because I was “triggering other people.” No compromise was attempted, no solutions on how to make the physical space or the Fetlife group chat safer...nothing. It was like someone who was new to this was not welcomed. I wanted to ask you what your perspective of this is. If one person calls out a safe word because they were getting triggered and needed to be comforted, does the overall scene have to stop to address the issue? What can be done to help that particular person? Finally, should there have been some form of communication BEFORE scenes started so that the new kinksters would not get triggered and have a heads up? Thanks for taking the time to answer me.
I read several potential problems in the email you just sent me. The first being that the physical space you entered as well as the digital space for the local BDSM group, likely had explanations about what to do if you saw or read something you did not like. In the physical space, there are often one or more people there to answer questions, and someone usually goes over questions and expectations with new people to a community space. If this did not happen, that is a failure.
I noticed you saying you are relatively new as a mistress, you take consent seriously, your discovering your own boundaries, and the tone of your email suggests you are certain about what happened and your responsibilities. If you read my book, you would know that I state people that who are hyper concerned with the safety of all tend to be the problem for all. This email suggests you felt out of control and did not like what was happening, so you wanted it to stop for the scene you were not part of. Observing a scene happening is not making part of that session. I see here that you quoted other people saying you are not part of this, and you don’t seem to believe that. I will be the next person to state you were not part of the scene if I read that correctly. You perpetrated a consent violation of the people in the scene, broke usual play space rules, and still are attempting to force your view on others. I would have banned you from future gatherings and forums also.
Typical etiquette is that people don't stop scenes they are not directly participating in. The exception would be if it was explicitly discussed that observers could do this, such as a group learning/discussion situation in which your participation was requested. If everyone had the ability to stop scenes they didn't like for one reason or another, imagine how detrimental that would be to everyone else's playing, including your own. You will learn that there is always someone who is uncomfortable with something someone else is doing. Self-care is essential here, and knowing your boundaries and maintaining them is ultimately your responsibility. If you encounter something you don't like or are comfortable with, simply excuse yourself. If you are unable to do that respectfully, then others will need to step in as they seem to have in your email. I am guessing you were not around for the pre-scene negotiations for what was about to take place. If you were present for that pre-talk discussion and announcement would have given you an idea of what to expect, and you would make a judgment call for yourself about watching the scene. If you are wandering in mid-scene and see something you can't handle, and it's on you to remove yourself. If you were there in the beginning and that is how you knew their safe word, then you knew what the scene would likely entail.
The majority of BDSM scenes aren't scripted and predictable. What triggers people varies as much as the triggers. It's impossible to warn or make rules for every potential possibility there. No one can expect people in a scene to weigh every word for their audience, especially if they aren't engaging directly with you. I can guarantee that you aren’t really on their mind. They are busy with the dynamic and communication being shared, not contemplating some random newbie's feelings. And if you interrupt their play (which was probably going great if they booted), everyone will be annoyed.
Your email demonstrates that you don’t fully understand the community expectations, expectations of interaction, and what it means to be a mistress or a sub. You may identify as a mistress, but that does not mean you have any sway over the submissive serving someone else. That kind of thinking shows you don’t know what it means to engage with your local community and don’t get that your boundaries end with you. Other people are not responsible for your feelings. They are not responsible if you happen to get unpleasant feelings from watching what they are sharing with the group. No, being triggered is not an excuse you can use to get out of the consequences of the actions you took and the drama you are seeking to continue to stoke. Out of all the things you complained about I did not see you mentioning COVID once. That is either very good or really bad since you were at a house party and hopefully being safe. My advice is to go back to basics. Please read up on what it takes to take charge as a mistress and what the expectations are when engaging with others. If you attended one of my classes or read my book, I would be attempting to understand this experience as a failure on my part. I would be trying to understand what wasn’t communicated effectively to you to improve what is taught. You may not like what I have to say, but it is my hope you will adopt my perspective on what it means to be guiding others. Behavior like you described causes harm to more than your reputation. This behavior will follow you into the future. I wish you luck and sincere contemplation on your journey forward.
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