6 Steps for Vetting Potential Partners
Updated: Jan 8
This week I've noticed a lot of people calling for organizations, event spaces, and lifestyle groups to vet their patrons. And while it's a lovely thought, it's nearly impossible. Event spaces can't do a thorough enough job, and predators will always find ways around it. While I absolutely believe there are steps that organizers can take to help protect the community, it shifts responsibility off of ourselves, and in the spirit of empowerment, I want to share with you a few tools for your vetting process.
First of all, what is vetting?
Vetting is making a careful and critical examination of something or investigating
someone thoroughly to ensure that they are suitable for a position requiring trustworthiness. In this case, that job is to be your Dominant, your submissive, your playmate, your romantic interest. Originally, vetting was a term coined in horse racing. A veterinarian had to examine the horse before determining it was safe. Vetting used to be a more common practice in the BDSM world. In the modern days of social media, we can get the sense that we know someone from their posts, photos, comments, and interactions, and as a result, countless people have suspended the vetting process and are putting themselves in precarious situations.
1. Start out by actually getting to know these people. What do they do for a living? What do they do for fun? How did they come into the lifestyle? Have they ever played with a couple before? Have they ever had a third? Are they comfortable with their partner kissing you or fucking you? Have they ever been accused of abuse? How long have they been a Dominant/submissive? Do they have any mental health disorders? Do they play intoxicated? How would they describe their Dominant/submissive side? Do they have any rules or boundaries around swinging? What kind of polyamory do they practice? Do they honor safe words? Do they understand the importance of consent? How do they handle jealousy? What experience do they have? Every dynamic will require a different set of queries. It can even be helpful to write down what's important to you in a partner/s and create a list of questions ahead of time to avoid missing anything. You can even design your own scenarios and find out how they would respond. If someone is vetting you, be honest about your mistakes and how you learned from them. It shows true vulnerability and willingness to grow from your errors.
2. You are allowed to request references. I consider this extremely valuable for D/s dynamics. Previous partners are a great source of information. If they can't provide any references, its a big red flag that they aren't on good terms with any previous partners. Beyond personal recommendations, it may feel right for you to do a background check. In BDSM, we practice activities that can be circumstances of life or death, so this may be important for you, especially if you have concerns.
3. Ask about their sexual health. Do they use condoms? Do they use barriers with all partners? When was their last test? Were they positive for anything? My partner and I have agreed to get tested every six months and require our new partners to have recent test results as well. While most STD's and STI's are treatable and the stigma around them is usually worse than the actual STI/D, it's still knowledge that needs to be disclosed to make an informed decision.
4. Communicate your sexual desires and what kind of activities you find arousing. We're not all going to have the same fucket lists. If they're into humiliation and you have trauma in your past and feelings of embarrassment triggers it, you're probably not going to be an aligned match. It should be a mutually satisfying relationship. Find out what fantasies they have or what their favorite toys are. These questions can tell you a lot about a person.
5. Meet somewhere public and consider taking sex off the table for your first date. This will remove the pressure from both of you and allow you to continue to get to know each other in real life. Even though we can obtain a great deal of information and gage attraction through text, nothing can replace a face to face experience.
6. Lastly, use your intuition. If your tingly little spider-sense is telling you that something isn't right, it probably isn't. Listen to your gut. Your need for companionship should never outweigh your need for safety. There will always be another potential mate out there.
I care about your security, and I hope this inspires you to be advocates for your needs and well being. Even with event and community screening, nothing will ever replace your vetting process.
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Your Kinky Kitty,