You can make asking someone to play very complex, but really it is fairly easy. There are a number of ways to go about this, and here we will offer some tips and approaches to help you.
The most important thing is to make sure that you are honest about your experience. Please don’t think that being new or inexperienced takes you out of the play pool, quite the opposite! New folks get the most play because they are willing to ASK!
We live and die by our reputations, and exaggerating your experience will not get you very far. An experienced top or bottom will know if you have exaggerated your experience, and word travels, so be honest, and set your partner(s) expectations appropriately. It is perfectly acceptable to say “I have never done this before, but I would like to try it”, or “Hey, I just got a new X and I would like to get great at it, want to help me?”.
Approaching people can be intimidating, but remember…at APEX “No” only means “No”. Learning to hear “No” in a positive and constructive way is one of the best lessons we receive at APEX. It is important that we accept that as a final answer and move on. We don’t coerce, cajole, or intimidate people into doing what we want at APEX. That is predatory behavior that is not acceptable. Hear “No” as unequivocal and final. The absence of “No” is not “Yes”. Only “Yes” means “Yes”. Consent is the most important thing that we do at APEX, and each of us is responsible for obtaining consent.
Once you obtain agreement or interest in principle, it is important that you negotiate the boundaries of consent. If you have attended APEX 101: Communication and Negotiation, you have the tools to do this. If not, make sure you take the class, or get a Lifeguard or Spotter to help you negotiate. This is a person who has a bit more experience who is willing to help you ask good questions and explore your answers so you and your partner(s) are getting informed and enthusiastic consent for your scene. Most members of the club are willing to do this, so find yourself a Lifeguard!
It is important when you negotiate that you ask how someone prefers to negotiate. For some people negotiations are part of the scene and they have a ritualized way of negotiating. If that isn’t your cup of tea it is perfectly OK, and you can just take a pass. That means you aren’t compatible. NO problem! For some people they prefer negotiations in writing, or outside of a play environment, or any number of other things. Before you negotiate, you have to agree HOW you will negotiate.
So, if you are new to the club, new to BDSM, or new to APEX…lots of people will be willing to help you find your way. Be honest, learn from other members, and most importantly…have fun!