Originally Posted by Tonberry
I feel there is a big amount of getting to know each other before you can do BDSM together because you need to be able to read each other. If at any time I felt like the other person wasn't enjoying themselves I would just lose it, it would stop being hot and would become disgusting and disturbing and I would have to stop everything. Being able to predict how far you can go or what you can`shouldn't do is essential to me. That doesn't work with strangers, even if I know they're enjoying it, so I'm not really able to differentiate between consensual and non-consensual when I'm merely an observer, therefore I don't wish to be one.
While there are many people in the BDSM communities that play without knowing each other very well, often it is more thought out than say just a casual sex night. Even if two people interested in BDSM are only planning on playing once, there is often a good deal of negotiation that goes into a scene, which allows those involed to get to know each other's interests, dislikes, and hard limits. While it is true they may not be able to read someone's non-verbals very well the first time play happens, a good play partner should be frequently checking in with the partner during the scene to make sure they are ok.
While certainally not everyone in BDSM does this, and there are those in every community that can be irresponsible, the actions I listed above are strongly encouraged throughout BDSM. While I am involved in BDSM with both of my poly partners, I have known them each for 5+ years so we all know how to read each other very well, and, as a result, don't really need to do much negotiating anymore. However, on the occasions where I do play with either a new person or someone I am not quite as familiar with playing with, I tend to do less intense, less involved scenes, with expectations clearly discussed beforehand. With new/occasional play partners I sometimes also check in a day or two after a scene to make sure they are ok, got what they wanted out of the scene, etc.