Vetting Potential Partners

Vetting Potential Partners

It’s very difficult to know if someone is safe. No-one, not matter your fantasy, wants to be assaulted or abused. And since kink is inherently more risky and requires a trusting relationship, we need to take whatever precautions necessary to avoid harm.

You may receive messages from someone online or meet someone on the scene that interests you. These are just a few ideas and tools we can use to help us decide:

  1. Know your boundaries and how to assert them. If someone is unsafe, they will push at your boundaries, often using charm and whit to make it more palatable. If they ask you to do or say something about yourself and you say “no, thanks” to it, and they ask “why not?” trying to change your mind, consider that a warning sign. Back away. Respectful people respect boundaries.
  2. Notice how they’re interacting with you and how you feel about it. Are they treating you as a whole person, not just the kink you’re interested in? Are they engaging in kink chat without your consent? Are they messaging you all the time? Are they actually listening to what you’re saying and accepting how you feel, or are they questioning your own opinions and feelings? Again, a warning sign. Back off completely.
  3. Take a hard look at their friends. Are they people you feel comfortable around? What is their reputation on the scene? Are they likely to give you a fair and unbiased opinion and information? Do they excuse any bad behaviour from the person you’re interested in? Friends will naturally have each other’s backs, so take what you hear with a pinch of salt.
  4. Do you have any mutual friends that might be able to give you more accurate information? Are those mutual friends reliable? Might they have a vested interest in you playing with the person you’re interested in, that might compromise your own needs and safety? Ask a few people their opinions, to get a fairer over view.
  5. Watch them interact with others. Are you comfortable with what you see and hear? Are they behaving one way with you and another with other people? Do they put other people down (often hidden behind a joke)? If they’re treating you nicely but horribly to others, it’s not because you’re special (which I’m sure you are), it’s because they’re bigotted. Walk away.
  6. Notice how they take criticism. Are they very defensive? Do they make excuses and blame other people or their personal situation, rather than apologise for mistakes and try to learn?
  7. Do they in any way try to separate you from your friends and support network? Do they criticise your friends or make jokes about them?

There can be a lot of rushes of excitement when you meet someone new, and it can cloud your judgement. They look hot and talk the talk. Their profile may be polished and they have lots of friends. But that’s absolutely no guarantee that they’re safe.

So, TAKE YOUR TIME to get to know them.

If you’re new, you’re at an increased risk, because you are just getting to know people and who is safe to trust – so don’t jump into something quickly. Good players will give you plenty of space and time to get educated and meet different people. You need to focus on building friendships, not getting kink (no matter how desperate you may feel).

If, despite all your efforts, you fall victim to an abuser, don’t blame yourself. It’s easy to get caught up with the wrong person. Learn from your mistakes, reach out to friends if you feel you can share your difficult experience (it will help the community know what’s going on) and get any therapy you need.

Be safe.

Dea Nexa

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