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BDSM Vetting Process - Everything You Genuinely Need to Know


Vetting a new partner has somehow lost its essential value in our current society, not just the BDSM community. New dating apps and social media give us the illusion that the next best thing is just around the corner. We see this often when people, instead of working on themselves, replace the person they are seeing.

What is BDSM vetting?

The vetting process is like playing an in-depth question and answering game to carefully examine if what you are into, and looking for matches up with the person you are interested in. You're getting a feel to see if you can trust the person with your life. In my opinion, it's the most critical step in a relationship.


Why is it so important?

It's an essential step in more ways than one. The first being is it saves you time. It makes it, so everything is on the table, including deal breakers. If you are looking to have children and the other person is clear they don't want kids, well, you know you have a choice to make. Will you keep pursuing them, or will you walk away?

It's important to realize you aren't in a dynamic until you can both honestly say you can trust the other with your life. It's ok to agree to be exclusive or even agree to be in a relationship of sorts, but not a dynamic. To enter a dynamic, you need to know each other inside and out. You need to know everything you can about each other. Both the Dom/me and sub need to know they can trust the other with their life.

More times than not, relationships start online. It's important to note that the vetting process isn't something that should be rushed. Give yourself a week or so before agreeing to meet in person. This should allow you enough time to ask plenty of questions; it is even a good idea to repeat a few to see if they give you the same response or sniff out the possibility of deceit on their part.


How long should the BDSM Vetting Process last?

Even after the first meeting, I wouldn't say vetting has ended. Think of it this way, when you start a new job; it usually comes with a 90 day grace period before hiring you full time. You will lessen your chances of ending up as yet another number on the statistics chart if you think of that. Giving yourself and your partner, that kind of time, will allow you to see each other in various situations. You will see flaws, how they handle stress and disagreements. You will have plenty of time to discuss both kink and what you need outside of the bedroom too.




Essential questions to ask during the BDSM vetting process.

Before you even get to the deep dark naughty stuff, there are some essential vanilla things you need to know about each other. I know it's stimulating and pleasant to get wrapped up in the kinky side of this lifestyle and get lost in its euphoria; however, we have basic needs that need to be met. If we don't mesh well outside of the bedroom, all the kink in the world won't make for a lasting relationship.


Simple health questions to ask during the vetting process.

Ask if they have physical illness or limitations. Ask if they have mental health issues or past trauma that affects them emotionally. You need to know these things before a scene; you need to know upfront if you are ready for any challenges in the relationship. You don't have to be cruel, but it's best, to be honest, and walk away upfront if there's something you can't deal with. It wouldn't be fair to you or your partner to get deep in the relationship only to walk away later on because you later realize you've never been comfortable with a limitation they have. Be completely honest with them and yourself if you have even the slightest reservation.


If they have a history of mental illness or past trauma, ask what triggers they have. Ask what they have done to try and manage it. Ask what you can do to help. Try to remember just because you can't see a disability doesn't make it any less real. If you can't look at them with compassion and kindness in helping them cope and grow, you have no business sticking around. You could do far more harm than good. Don't be that person that tries to beat mental illness out of someone's head; you aren't helping.


Other Vanilla Questions to ask:

  • What are their hobbies?

  • What was their childhood like?

  • What are their political views? Maybe touch on the hottest political topics of the day.

  • What are their views on child-rearing?

  • Do they want or already have children?

  • If you have children, can they handle that?

  • If you or they already have children, what role will each of you play in the children's lives?

  • Do they have income? If not, what are the circumstances behind it? If they work, what do they do? Do they like their job? If not, where do they want to be happy? What plan do they have in place to get there?

  • Do they have transportation?

  • What is their living situation?

  • What education do they have? Are they planning on furthering their education?

  • Do they have food, pet, drug, or other allergies? What should you do in the event of a reaction?

  • What's their biggest pet peeve?

  • What's their five-year plan? What plan do they have in place to get there?

  • Do they drink or do drugs? If so, how often and how much? What do other people say they are like when drunk or high? If they don't right now, have they ever been diagnosed as an addict? If so, what do they do to keep from having a relapse?


Now that you've got a better perception as to who they are as a person, you can move on to find out about the naughty things they enjoy. You don't have to go in this order of vanilla to playful. However, it is usually easier to talk to someone about your fantasies if you trust them. Also, if they only want to talk about the naughty things and gloss over the vanilla topics, that's a big red flag in my book. For any friendship or relationship, there is an essential foundation of needs that need to be obtained. (i.e., Trust, Open and honest communication, Respect, Empathy, Understanding, Validation, Affection, Security, Prioritization.)

There's far more to life and relationships than just sex. Remember, you set the price for your commitment to a relationship. Don't let anyone manipulate you into selling yourself for far less than you are worth.

Here are some kink questions to ask:

Do they want a poly, open, or strictly monogamous relationship? If they wish to have a poly relationship, have them describe what it means to them. Ask them what their rules and boundaries are. Have them be specific about how many people will be involved. Will it be both of you being poly or just one?

If they want an open relationship, have them describe what it means to them. Will it be both of you or just one? Will they like to share you with others for fun or punishment? Will they want to swing?

Ask if they are single. If not, is their partner aware they are seeking another? Can you meet their partner? If not, tread very carefully. If their partner isn't aware, you could be putting yourself in a lot of danger. Jealousy can lead to murder; remember that. Not only that, but if they cheat on their current partner with you, they will have no qualms cheating on you.

If you want to get involved in the local kink community, be aware that cheating is frowned upon in most communities. People take this offense very seriously. Not only will your new partner be looked at with caution, but they will stain your reputation as well as one who is willing to come between another couple.

25 Naughty Questions to Break the Ice:

  1. How old were you the first time you had sex?

  2. Who was it with and where?

  3. Have you ever been called a tease?

  4. Do you masturbate?

  5. Have you ever made out with someone just because you were bored or horny?

  6. What do you wear when you go to bed?

  7. Do you own a sex toy?

  8. Do you watch porn?

  9. Do you like dirty talk?

  10. If there’s one place a girl/guy should touch you to make you instantly horny, where is that?

  11. How many sexual partners have you had?

  12. Have you ever had sex continuously for 1 hour or more?

  13. If you could only say one line to someone to turn them on, what would you say?

  14. Ever left the house without wearing any underwear?

  15. What is the best thing about having sex with a guy or girl?

  16. Have you ever devoted an entire day to sex and sexual activity (with breaks for eating, etc)?

  17. Have you ever brought your partner to orgasm using only your hands?

  18. Have you ever brought your partner to orgasm using only your mouth?

  19. Have you ever had your sexual technique/style/skill openly praised by someone?

  20. Have you ever had sex with someone who’s married to someone else?

  21. Have you ever had anal sex?

  22. Have you had sex in front of other people?

  23. Have you ever had a threesome? MFM? FMF?

  24. Would you get turned on if I was whispering all these questions in your ear?

  25. If you could have sex with anyone in the world, who would it be?



What is their relationship history?

Ask them to describe their last three relationships. What was satisfying about them? What things went wrong with them? What did they learn from the past relationships they would like to change this time in the new relationship? What led to the end of the relationship? Are they willing to allow you to talk to any of them? If not, why? If you hear the word restraining order in this conversation, run, run fast and run far. If they don't have contact info for previous partners, ask for other references that can vouch for them. Preferably people in good standing in the local community.

How much experience do they have?

I wouldn't suggest passing them up just because they lack the experience, but you defiantly want to know the answer to this question. The amount of experience will not determine whether they are worthy of your time and devotion unless it is crucial. If they are new, the next question is, are they willing to put in the effort to research, take classes, get involved with reputable online communities and the local community to learn? If they say they are experienced, you can judge if they are overstating their experience by answering questions about SSC (Safe, Sane, and Consensual), RACK (risk-accepted consensual kink), the sub creed, the Dom creed, techniques, and safety protocol.


Are they active in the local community? If so, which groups do they attend? Are they willing to let you contact the group admins to check references? How long have they been attending these events? What type of events do they treat? Have they ever been removed from an event or asked not to come back? If so, what were the circumstances behind it? Which group was it? Contact that group to check their story; depending on the offense and truthfulness, you may need to proceed with caution or walk away. You may also want to contact other groups in the area to see if they have been banned for unethical or dangerous behavior and aren't telling you about it. If you discover this is true, run, run far, and run fast. They can't be trusted with your life.

If they aren't active in the local community, are they willing to attend events with you? If not, why? If they have an anxiety disorder that limits their social abilities, you may want to work with them on this. But, if it appears they are just too jealous to allow you to socialize or are unwilling to admit they can learn from others, you need to see this as a red flag. If they are new and unsure of testing the waters, take it slow, maybe offer to attend a group munch with them instead of taking them to a full-on dungeon event. You want to see how they interact with others in the community if you can. You may also want to ask around at events what others think about your new partner before finding yourself alone with them for scenes.


What is their STD status?

Do they have any blood-borne pathogens? Will they agree to test before becoming sexually active? It should go without saying that you need to know the answers to these questions. Your health and life, in general, could be on the line. If they refuse to test for whatever reason, run and run fast. This shouldn't be a risk you are willing to take. There are too many clinics that offer testing for free or reduced cost to put yourself at risk. Don't just trust them to tell you the results prove they are clean; ask to see the paperwork. If they can't provide paperwork, they didn't have it done. Please, don't leave this up to chance.

Do they want a 24/7 dynamic or just a bedroom kink?

This is something you shouldn't compromise on this. You will only set yourself up for failure if you go into it knowing they don't want what you do in the end.


Discuss yours and their most desired kinks. Discuss how much experience each of you has with each of them. Discuss safety protocols. Ask them specific questions such as where to strike and where to avoid. If they enjoy edge play, discuss what steps should be taken in the event of an emergency. Each of you should fill out a kink checklist and bring it with you to your first meeting. Don't go over it at dinner. Put it aside and go over it later at home. Then later, you can discuss other kinks if needed. Find out which ones each of you can't live without and which ones you can be happy never being able to do them. Discuss options for meeting each other's needs even if specific kinks aren't your cup of tea. You may compromise and maybe allow each other to have nonsexual scenes with others at local events.



Discuss your hard and soft limits.

Discuss what options are available for pushing your boundaries, if any. Discuss how to address the issue of your limits ever changing; we all learn and grow with time, but don't ever allow anyone to push past your limits when you're not ready. You should always be in complete control over your limits. If someone tells you that you aren't allowed to have boundaries or that you should work toward not having limits, run and run fast. The same goes for if someone tells you they don't have limits. Some subs or slaves think this makes them more desirable. It will, to a predator. A Dom/me should not accept a sub or slave without limits either. This puts you at risk of needing a criminal law attorney. Even dominates have limitations.


Discuss safe words.

It can be anything you like, but it's best to keep it simple. A single word or gesture is best. Most dungeons have safe house words. Everyone I've been to uses the traffic light system. Green means you are good to continue; yellow means to slow down, check on me, or enough of that one activity, but you may continue with something else; red means stop the scene. I do suggest having multiple words like this. If gags are in play along with bondage, you may need something like a bell to ring.

As a sub, make sure you feel your partner out enough that you can be confident that they will honor your safe word when you call it. As a dominant, make sure the sub knows their safeword and isn't afraid to use it. Make sure they understand it's not a good sub to refuse to use a safe word when needed. It puts both the hero and the dominant in danger. This can't be stressed enough.

Ask what they expect from a Dom/me or sub.

Ask them to define your role in their life. Ask them to explain their role in your life. What protocol will be expected in private? What protocol will be scheduled for the general public? What protocol will be scheduled at lifestyle events? You need to discuss such topics as eye contact, positions, dress, collars, honorary titles for each other, address others, and anything else that will be expected.


Ask if they are a sadist or masochist.

For sub vetting, Dom/me, ask what type of dominant they identify as. For Dom/me vetting sub, ask what type of submissive they are. You also need to ask point-blank if they are a brat. Realize it takes a special dominant to handle a brat, and there is no point in taking one on if you just want to run a few weeks later. Subs, be honest if you're a brat. There's no point in getting involved if you aren't both what the other needs and wants. Some dominate's enjoy a brat, be patient and seek those dominates out.


Discuss birth control.

Even if you have breeding as a fetish, there is no need to bring children into the world until you are both ready and have established a healthy and lasting relationship. Ladies, do you want to be one of many baby mammas he juggles? Fellas, do you want to have a dozen baby mommas you have to pay child support to? By all means, be kinky, but do it wisely and don't make children suffer for it.

How much physical attention does each of you want or need?

How much is too much? How much alone time do you need to recharge? Does either of you have work, school, or children's schedules that may interfere? Where can you compromise, and what lines are drawn hard in the sand? How do they deal with rejection due to illness or you being physically or emotionally unable to perform at that time?


How much control will the dominant have?

Will they control the subs body, daily activities, chores, work, school, children, diet, health concerns, and hobbies?


Will there be rules in the dynamic?

If so, will the punishment be involved? What types of disciplines can the sub expect for breaking each rule? Will the penalties increase over time for the same offenses? What transgressions will end the dynamic on both sides?

Will, both of you, be expected to work, or will one of you stay home?

If one stays home, how long until that is expected to happen? My advice is to live together for at least a year before becoming entirely financially dependent on your partner. That gives you time to see them in various situations. You will see the good, the bad, and the ugly. If you need to get out quick, you want to have the means to do so. Don't be blinded by new love, and allow yourself to be at the complete mercy of another before they have proven they are not an abuser hiding behind the mask of BDSM.

There are a few milestones you want to discuss upfront as well. You don't want to come off as being pushy or trying to rush things, just make it clear you want to know what they have in mind for how fast or slow things will go. Make it clear you understand this will not be written in stone that each step will take XYZ amount of time.


If they don't even want to discuss the possibility of milestones, you may want to chalk that up to at least a yellow flag. They may not be serious about a relationship moving forward but rather get their jollies on the kink and nothing more. If you've been dating for a few months and they still don't want to discuss milestones, don't waste your time; they see you as a play toy, nothing more.





The first thing you want to discuss is how long BDSM vetting should last.

My recommendation is at least three months. That gives both of you enough time to see and feel each other out in different situations. You will likely see each other at your best and on days that aren't so great. You'll know how each other respond to stress, anger, and excitement. It will also give you plenty of time to explore kinks, limits, verify experience and check for holes in their stories.


I want to strain that a sub should not offer their complete submission during the vetting period, and a dominant should not accept the entire submission. It's perfectly ok to test the waters with basic training (think basic protocol and research), scenes that have been fully negotiated, and tasks. It's ok for the sub to address the Dom with name titles and for the Dom to manage the sub with name titles. It's ok to agree to be exclusive during this period and to expect fidelity. It's even ok to set up rules and tasks. Just don't expect or agree to full submission.

However, both should keep in mind the Dom does not own the sub, and both can walk away at any time. Think of it as dating before marriage. You wouldn't marry someone you've talked to on the internet for two weeks, would you? The same goes for offering up submission or agreeing to accept submission. It's a deep commitment on both sides that shouldn't be taken lightly. Dom/mes be weary of subs offering submission too quickly. Subs should be on alert of Dom/mes demanding submission too fast. Honestly, they shouldn't be demanding submission to begin with. If they do, that's a red flag of an overbearing abuser.


Discuss how long it will be before the sub can expect a collar.

Find out what the collar means to them. Will there be different degrees of collars? If so, how long will each collar need to be worn before the sub can expect the next? Will the sub need to reach specific goals to earn the collar? How will it be tracked so as not to cause confusion or resentment? Once the collar is acquired, can it be taken away? Under what circumstances? How would the sub earn it back?


I want to add here that it is my personal opinion that once the collar is earned, it should not be taken away for punishment, except in extreme circumstances. Think cheating or emotional abandonment. That's like taking away a wedding ring because you're upset. That's emotional abuse and is frowned upon.


Discuss how long you will date before even considering moving in together.

Please don't rush this. Give yourself time to see some red flags before putting yourself in a situation it can be challenging to get out of. My suggestion is a bare minimum of 6 months to a year. You want to give them enough time that the high of the honeymoon period has worn off, and they feel comfortable enough to let you see enough of their true colors that you can make a very informed decision.


What is their credit like?

This may be unimportant to some, but it could be a big deal if your end goal is to get married and buy a house; you want to know what type of financial burden their credit rating could be. I wouldn't hold a bad credit rating against someone for medical bills or something like that. But, if it's clear they buy cars they can't afford or splurge on other luxuries they can't afford, you have to wonder what else they aren't responsible about.


Is marriage an option?

If so, how long until it will be considered? My opinion is to live with someone for at least a year before you marry them. It could save from a few bad mistakes. It's doubtful you wouldn't see someone's true and raw nature in that length of time. You'll get a full taste of their hygiene habits, cooking, cleaning, and work habits. You'll also get to see full-on if you're compatible with how often each of you wants sex and kink. You'll more readily be able to catch discrepancies in their stories too.


Before you ever meet in person, run a background check.

Not just in your state, all states. Check the national sex offender registry. Pay close attention to violent offenses and sex offenses. If you see a protective order against them or charges for domestic violence run, run fast and far. You don't want to be their next punching bag. Don't even worry about getting an explanation for such offenses. They may have been falsely accused, but do you really want to take the chance they were, in fact, guilty and know how to convince you otherwise sweetly?


For your first few meetings, meet in public, and there shouldn't be kink or even vanilla sex involved at first. You both should be focused on getting to know each other, not worrying about getting in bed or one of you tied up and beat. Moral values aside, that's really not safe. You need to fully trust someone with your life before you agree to a scene. Can you honestly say you can trust them to tie you up and let you live after one date?

Set up a safe call for your first few meetings. Make sure someone knows who you are with, where you will be, how long you will be there, and they have a description of your date. If you can, get a picture of their car and license plate before you go inside. Have your safe call you periodically throughout the date to check on you. I say talk over the phone, not text. Anyone can answer a text; they need to voice verify that it's you and that you're ok. Have a set phrase in place that your safe call notifies police of your location and that you're in distress if you say it. Maybe put a tracker, like life360, on your phone that your friend can track for police in an emergency.


Trust your gut instincts on first impressions. If you're struggling with the idea, you may be overthinking things with everyone you meet; take a friend along on your first date and get their opinion too. As a general rule, our instincts about someone are generally correct. If they make your skin crawl, you probably shouldn't be alone with them, ever.


Go out on actual dates during the vetting process. You want to see how they interact with you in the real world, outside of kink. Even if the Dom/me wants to have a date night where they control the night, you want to see how they behave toward you and others around you. Pay attention to how they treat staff at restaurants, movie theaters, or anywhere else you go. If they are rude, condescending, or flat-out belligerent, they will eventually be that way toward you as well once the new wears off.

Set up plans for them to mingle with your friends and for you to mingle with theirs. Ask your friends what they think about your new interest. Ask their friends questions about your new partner. Pay close attention if more than one person has reservations or concerns. Others can often more clearly see red flags we often miss on our own due to being blinded by new love. Usually, when we meet someone new that we like and they like us back, our brains turn off our rational thinking. It is always a good idea to get an opinion of our closest friends we trust.



Spend the night together through the vetting process.

It's easy to keep up appearances for a few hours. It's harder to do the same overnight or even harder over a weekend. People tend to relax more in their own homes. Besides looking for red flags, you want to see them in their home environment. You want to see their housekeeping skills, personal hygiene habits, eating habits, and if the electricity is in a constant state of being threatened to be turned off. You want to know if they are hiding a drinking or drug problem; evidence will likely be displayed at home. You want them to see you first thing in the morning too. You need to know if you can handle each other's oddities at home; we all have them.


The main thing is to have fun, relax and get to know each other. Don't try to rush anything. If it's meant to be, it will happen. The bottom line is, are you looking for forever or just your next booty call? If you want forever, it's worth the time and effort to vet appropriately and make sure you are both what the other needs before jumping into a dynamic. Once a sub submits, they expect undying love and commitment. Once a Dom/me accepts submission, they expect total submission, love, loyalty, and obedience. You can't and shouldn't hand those things out like candy to everyone claiming to be just what you want and need without getting to know you inside and out.


The BDSM lifestyle is about so much more than scratching an itch for kinky sex. This lifestyle is about the highest degree of love, loyalty, Respect, and trust. Respect everyone until they give you a reason not to. Make people earn the rest from you over time.

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