In today’s world, there are so many people who have trouble meeting the right partner in their day to day lives. This is just as true for those in the BDSM lifestyle as it is for anyone else. Many people will turn to meeting others online. Whether it's Craigslist or FetLife doesn't matter; you've met someone and clicked through cyberspace. There’s potentially thousands of miles between you and this person, and even if there isn’t, it doesn’t mean you'll necessarily be ready to meet in person. So, how do you know when you are ready? What can you do to stay safe? How do you make the transition between online and real life relationships go smoothly? Here are a few tips and things to consider when you're planning your first face to face meeting.
The first thing to consider when arranging a meeting between you and your power-play partner, regardless of your role, is safety. It’s perhaps even more important in these types of relationships than in others to keep safety in mind when meeting face to face for the first time. In the case of the submissive, you're going to meet someone who you've already most likely given permission to; to take some portion of your power and render you helpless. This can be a frightening thing, even when you've known someone for a good while. Meeting face to face for the first time after an online relationship is no different in this sense. Even if you're the one in the dominant role, there’s a certain amount of fear and safety concerns involved. You have to worry about not going too far, or doing too much, and whether or not you can trust the person you're involved with not to make false allegations against you. All this combined, the nerves involved with meeting someone for the first time make safety the number one priority in these situations.
You should start with setting up a simply meeting in public, a small café or restaurant would work well for this. Unless you live in the same town or nearby, this can seem trying after traveling a potentially long distance. It’s still important, however, to take this step; it can help you decide if you want to put yourself in a situation to be completely alone with that person. Spending an hour in a public place like this, surrounded by others, and with an easy out available, can do much to help settle some of your last minute nerves. You can also discreetly discuss further negotiations of your visit. If you're traveling a long distance, for instance, you may be planning to visit your BDSM partner for a week or two before going home. This rule still applies to those who live in the same area and are planning to see each other in person much more.
Another thing that might make you feel safer is to bring a friend. That said, unless you live nearby, this may not be a viable option. Instead, you could simply leave all the details of your trip and meetings, including the name and contact information of the person you're planning on meeting, with a trusted friend. Encourage your partner to do the same, so that both of you have the maximum level of security available. Should any of your plans change, such as the location of where you're to first meet, call that friend before going there and let them know of the changes. This will help you feel safe and keep a safety net in place in case something does go wrong. Knowledge is never the enemy in such circumstances.
Other forms of information you may wish to gather are background checks. Ask and let the person you're meeting know that you want one before the meeting, and offer them the same opportunity to check over your background. If you see anything that goes up as a red flag, you can address it, or decide simply to end communications long before sitting face to face with the person. Even simply "Googling" the person can also help you to ascertain a safer condition for meeting. Next to remember for your safety is to listen to your gut and know the emergency services phone number of area you're going to be in. Just knowing something like this can create a sense of ease in you for the duration of your meeting.
Now that you've considered the safety implications of meeting your dominant or submissive in person, it’s time to consider the travel itself. While driving across town may not be something troubling, flying across the country or even to a foreign land can be. There are many things to take into account when traveling to meet your cyber-Dom(me) or sub. Where are you going? If you're going out the country, do you need to be able to speak a language different than your native tongue? Will shots or other inoculations be required? Do you need to have your currency converted? What documents will you need to have in hand to get into or leave the country? These are all important factors to consider when taking a trip.
Other things you may wish to consider in these circumstances are where you will be staying. If you’re invited to stay with your partner, keep a backup location, such as a hotel or list of hotels you could go to, to stay at as a safety precaution. What things will you be packing for your visit? Most people in these forms of relationships will be counting on, or at least hoping for, some form of sexual intimacy on a visit. While some materials you may wish to use are easy to obtain almost anywhere, such as tape or rope, other things, like a favorite vibrator perhaps, can be a bit more difficult to travel with.
Next on your list of travel preparations is how you'll be traveling. Will you be driving, taking a train or bus, or flying? Will you be using a combination of traveling methods to reach your destination? Calculate how long it will take to travel to your destination, how much it cost, and what stops you will may make on the way. Travel costs will include the price of both going and coming back, along with shopping, food, hotels, and emergency needs. It’s always wise to have at least some small portion of emergency funds available or accessible to you when you travel. Meeting a Dom(me) or sub is no exception to this rule.
Now that you've arrived in your meeting place and all your safety needs and expectations have been met, you can start setting the tone of your visit. It’s vitally important to set the tone of the visit and utilize your time together to the fullest. If this trip is meant to be a one-time thrill fest, it’s important to determine if you both feel good cutting loose and going all out? Is your visit just about relaxing, having fun, and perhaps having sex for you, or is it meant for something more? If you're just planning for a one time adventure, then you can simply set the rules with your partner and enjoy the time together as much as you’re comfortable with. However, if this trip is meant to be the first of many, it’s important to slow things down a bit. Perhaps focus more on connecting emotionally and mentally than simply on a physical level. This can help set the stage for a more long-term relationship in the future.
You can handle all these things from a dominant point-of-view by staying in control, not only of your submissive, but of yourself. You don't want to push things too far and frighten your submissive, regardless of the purpose of your trip. Respect your submissive's limits, and listen should they need to use their safeword. Watch your partner for reactions, and stop short if you read their signals as reaching a limit. While you may be used to your submissive perhaps taking a spanking of twenty strokes online, that doesn't mean the live in the flesh person you're with can. You may need to hold back on this first visit, or perhaps even the next several if you wish to build up a more stable long-term relationship. Oftentimes this slight holding back and going slow is well worth it.
From a submissive standpoint, it’s important to understand your place and limits. This means not questioning or fighting against your dominant simply because they're choosing to go slow. If, however, your dominant is going too far and hasn't noticed the signs and signals that your limits are being pressed, you should communicate this fact immediately. Use the safeword or other gesture and signals you previously agreed upon to call a stop to or pause what you're doing.
All of these tips and tricks can help a great deal when first meeting your Dom(me) or submissive. With such things in mind, you can meet and enjoy turning your cyber relationship into a real-life one.