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A scene is a BDSM activity or encounter involving one or more people; it may or may not involve sexual activity.

A scene can take place in private or in a club where it can be viewed by an audience. There is an etiquette at most clubs and play parties which regulates how the onlookers may interact with the people in the scene.

In some cases a scene may also be referred to as play. A scene may also be referred to as a session to set a more professional context and tone, or a pro session to indicate a specific professional transaction.

Types of Play

  • Physical Play: encompasses all 'kinky' activities that are carried out physically. See Disciplines.
  • Mental Play: is the collection of activities intended to create a psychological impact, often without a physical component. See Disciplines.
  • Light Play: consists of activities that are considered mild and/or carry little social stigma. This especially includes BDSM elements commonly practiced by "vanilla" couples. Most SSC practices will be on this side of the spectrum. Light bedroom bondage, light sensation play and casual spankings are examples of light play.
  • Heavy Play: indicates elements that are intense and/or carry substantial social stigma. The bulk of activities undertaken by BDSM participants would be considered heavy play or as bordering on heavy play. Most RACK practices will be on this side of the spectrum. Examples of heavy play may include [[impact play
  • Edge Play: Play that is considered especially dangerous. Examples will vary widely by perception, but often include things such as knife, degradation, and fear play.
  • BORK: Play that is considered exceptionally dangerous and in many cases well over the edge of what many would consider is acceptable risk. Examples may include cutting for the purposes of permanent body modification, auto erotic asphyxia and others.

Anatomy of a Scene

Scenes have specific phases. While not all of this phases will apply to all situations, it is imperative to be educated about the different phases of a scene.

  • Party Etiquette Be Sure to respect the environment you are in when meeting someone new.
  • CIQ This is a great technique to introduce yourself to someone and get them talking. Most people enjoy being chatted up some before they begin discussion of a potential scene.
  • Negotiation Be sure to set clear boundaries.
  • Scene Preparation Have everything ready to go so that the flow of your scene isn't disrupted.
  • Activity Participate in the BDSM activities that have been negotiated and consented to, enjoy!
  • Aftercare Be sure to bond with your partner on some level and make sure they will be alright the next day.
  • Aftermath And check back in with them to ensure they are alright physically and emotionally after a few days.

Scene Preparation Checklist

This is a brief checklist for tops and bottoms to run through before beginning a typical S&M scene. See also BDSM Checklist.

  • Peak physical and mental health of all parties is essential as SM activities are very physically demanding. A balanced diet mixed with regular exercise is optimal. Some bottoms find it useful to take fish oil and B vitamin complexes several days before an intense scene to help mitigate drop and bruising.
  • Negotiation, informed Consent, Boundaries, Safe Words/Signals and Risk Assessment are all clearly and firmly established. Be sure to negotiate only when properly fed, hydrated, rested and of sound mind-- free of intoxicants. In many cases it can be beneficial to negotiate with a third party present or in writing.
  • Incidents of sub space are planned for and aftercare areas and supplies are set up in advance for reception. Various types of play will offer various needs for a bottom. Many suggest at least one partner bringing a bottoming bag with some or all of the items listed on the (aftercare store page). Other specific items may be desired by a particular top or bottom for any reason.
  • The environment is well suited to the type of scene involved and all appropriate and has been inspected for potential hazards to all parties.
  • Appropriate levels of privacy are ensured (Doors are locked, curtains are closed, kids are at the babysitters house, etc.). Remember that involving others that are not negotiated and consenting to the scene can cause a consent violation. Many players find it useful to place mobile phones on silent before beginning a scene.
  • Tools, safety equipment and furniture to be used are free from debris, inspected, tested, disinfected, and laid out appropriately. It is often considered bad form to rummage through your toy bag mid scene for a specific implement required, though some tops may prefer implements not be visible to the bottom before play begins for psychological purposes. Covering items or bottom with a sheet or otherwise obscuring them is also a simple matter, or use of a blindfold can assist in this.
  • All Players are in good or great mental and physical states, to include having a positive attitude and having eaten and hydrated appropriately before play begins.

Use of Music in a Scene

Music in a scene can be a great opportunity to help set a desired mood. Any type of music that enhances and elevates the mood and activities is great but it is also good to have something familiar that won't disrupt the rhythm of the players. If you are a top that is planning the scene consider setting up your playlist for a scene ahead of time as well as taking into consideration extreme musical likes and dislikes of your partner(s) and the activities that are to take place. Consider that a soft and gentle fire massage and a brutal whipping and humiliation scene are likely to have different types of optimal musical accompaniment.

Common genres of music for scenes might include:

  • Classical
  • Dance/House
  • Death Metal
  • Gregorian Chant
  • Rock
  • Trance

Alternative Uses

  • "Scene" or "Scening" is sometimes used as a verb, meaning to act out a scene and may alternately be referred to as dancing, work, or play.
  • "The Scene" is also used to refer to the BDSM / Fetish community. See Culture. Alternately "The Scene" may also refer to Swinging.