The following article was originally posted to Fetlife.com by Andrew Love, of MrAndrewLove.com and is republished here with the permission of the author.
The Myth of “Protection”
by Andrew Love
I get it! You’re brand new, coming into a kinky world filled with all sorts of people willing to come up to you and they bluntly ask, “Can I do dirty stuff to you?” It can all feel very overwhelming.
I would love to tell you that everyone in the community is safe, that no one on FetLife would ever do you harm, that we manage to filter out every unsavory character. This is not true, they exist and often times the people that will do you harm actually mean the best for you.
If you start to ask experienced single bottoms in the community who protects them and looks out for their safety they will most likely answer, “I do, I watch out for me” To be around for some time, to be single some time and still find your joy as a bottom in this community you must first learn one very important thing, the word “no.” You need to learn the art of saying “No”
The word “No” is a simple word but seems exceedingly hard for people to say. That’s because we really hate to disappoint people, we really hate to feel responsible for somebody else feeling rejected and disappointed. I will be the first to admit that I am not always the best at saying no. As a top I have on occasion had bottoms request play with me that I did not want to do. Usually if I don’t want to play, I decline the opportunity. Declining play is much easier to do when it’s not somebody that you care about. It’s much harder when I actually care about the person and know them well. When we are at the bar and a stranger approaches us we can decline their advances much more easily. Still often times we use a brush off instead of a no. For example it’s often easier to say, “Maybe later”, “I have to run to the restroom, look for me later” I digress, I’ll get more into bar brush offs and how we can all more clearly say no later on.
So let’s say you’re a brand new bottom and you find yourself at a munch, a class, or a play party for the first time, or you find yourself on fetlife with some super nice top ready to offer you all the information you’ve ever hoped for. You aren’t interested in play or sex*, but they already have play partners so they feel safe to talk to. They may even have some sort of position of authority in the community you want to be part of that seems to grant them credibility. I once even saw a known “white knight top” offer a new girl a reference from a lesbian, failing to mention that this impartial lesbian was in truth his wife. There are many different approaches, but the goal is always to make you believe that the community is a very dangerous place and they are safety. You express nervousness and apprehension to them and this tops trap is set.
“Well I could protect you, help you sort out who is safe and who is not. Here’s how it works, when you want to play with somebody you just tell them they have to go through me first, that way you don’t have to feel bad for rejecting them, or risk making them upset.” Sometimes it varies a little but it’s usually pretty similar. Sometimes this is called mentoring, sometimes protecting, either way the end result is usually sexual interaction.
Here’s the truth, I own two girls, and very few people are willing to approach my girls. I give them full permission to decide for themselves who they want to play with. They are really good at this, and are comfortable saying no on their own. Few people actually do approach them. Earlier in my BDSM career I required other people who wanted to play with my girls to ask me. They almost never asked. I almost never ask to play with somebody else’s property. See this whole thing of being a Male dominant and being put in a position where I feel like I’m requesting permission from another dominant, it’s not hot. I ride motorcycles, bikers are usually very territorial about their bikes similar to how Dom’s are often territorial about their submissives and slaves. This means unless it is specifically offered, “Hey do you want to take my bike for a spin?” most will just not even seek permission.
“Ok Andrew, get to the point” My point is you have now agreed to enter into a “protection” arrangement with somebody else. The very nature of entering into that arrangement means most people will not approach you. Sure the creepy ones won’t likely approach you, but neither will the ones that might be a really good fit for you. This results in a form of isolation. During this time the newbie will begin to feel more comfortable around this “white knight protector”
You remember earlier when I spoke about how I have a harder time saying no to people I’m close to? Now we have a situation where the bottom is wanting to explore but they are isolated and the only person they know that they might trust to play with is their “protector” but that’s purely non-play non-sexual. “Well, if you really want to try flogging, I could do that for you” within weeks or days from this point there are often sexual advances from the protector on this new submissive. So somebody the submissive now trusts is asking them for something they don’t really want to do and they have a much harder time declining their “protectors” advances. I have watched for many years the “protector” types and they almost always end up sexually involved with these new bottoms.
Even worse, sometimes these newbies feel obligated, “He’s done so many nice things for me, I guess I kind of owe him a chance”
“WOAH! Andrew you just blew my mind”, or “Andrew, what’s wrong with that relationship developing naturally?” Either way the next point is an important one.This protector’s approach while it might have seemed full of good intentions at the start is devoid of integrity. You heard me, it has zero integrity. Your protector played a slow game of manipulating your trust and coercing you into a sexual dynamic. Even worse you may believe it’s ok, or have romantic sort of feelings about it. It’s a less violent form of trying to rape a girl after rescuing her by offering her a ride home when it’s dark.
It robs this new submissive of meeting new people that might be a better fit for them. It robs them of the opportunity to learn how to say no for themselves. It creates a dependency and keeps them from alternate points of view.
“Wait a minute, you want this poor newbies to have to learn the hard way?” No, no I don’t, I offer you an alternate approach that in my view is filled with much more integrity.
White Knight Protector Types, Consider the following:
Welcome to the community newbie, I’m non-protector and I want to give you some advice and be completely up front and honest with you. First, navigating through the community can be a little intimidating at first. You will be the shiny new toy and people are going to express interest in you. Enjoy it, it doesn’t last forever. Most people inside the community are very respectful, if you tell them “no, but thank you for your interest” They will handle it very well. If you use a bar brush off, “Maybe later” they will show up later asking if now is a good time. If they ask, “Can I flog you?” and you say, “I am not interested in being flogged” They may say, “Does rope bondage sound better?” If what you really meant was, “Thank you for your interest, but no thank you” Say it!
You see in order to navigate an incredibly complex community it’s very important that we say what we mean and mean what we say. We all must become very accustom to very up front and honest communication.
“Now I’m going to give you a chance to practice. First let me here you say, ‘No Thank You’”, “Great! Now I’m going to ask some questions and I want you to answers as honestly as you can. “
That’s right give them a chance to practice saying no. Assure them that no is a great answer. If you have sexual interest in them, now is your chance to have integrity and be up front. “So now that I know you are comfortable saying no, What level of sexual interest do you have in me?” I like the open ended question because you can read the true answer on their face before any words come out of their mouth. Or even better, give them a month or so of exploring different things before you pursue. Either way, don’t pretend to be something you are not.
Give them some time in the community to explore and discover. Don’t get in their way. Instead of isolating them, suggest play partners, suggest experiences. Help them make introductions.
Finally give them the space they need to find out if any initial attraction there might have been between the two of you is something they want to explore. If they come back to you expressing a desire to serve you, the loyalty and devotion you will experience will be deeper than you could have imagined. Isn’t that what we all want?
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