When I was new to Fetlife and I saw the ‘under protection of…’ tag on profiles, I didn’t quite understand what it meant. It’s strange wording isn’t it? Sure, it says ‘under protection’, that person is protected – but by who? And what does that mean? And is it a platonic relationship or a romantic one? Just what does it entail?
It’s important to note that the use of the word has different meanings and this all depends on context. For example, a Dominant can be the protector of his or her submissive – but can also be a guidance for his or her trusted newcomer – a completely non-sexual relationship established together upon a set of decided rules.
Which isn’t for everyone, of course. There are those who view a protector as simply a predator preying on unsuspecting newcomers – and this can very much be the case, unfortunately. I hear of it happening time and time again. While others have stated if a person needs a protector in the first place, if they can’t apply critical thinking to what they want to approach, then maybe they should take a step back and wait.
There is also the view that the ‘under protection…’ tag on Fetlife is discouraging to those generally interested in the individual, that the tag does more harm than good and scares away folk.
One of the many viewpoints is that ‘to be under protection’ is to have a trusted friend that can talk you through the concepts of BDSM, vetting play partners (if that’s part of the agreement) and generally be there for you, either in person – to accompany you to live events – or online. What shape this ‘protection’ takes depends entirely on the individual and what they’d like.
If you’re thinking about wanting a protector or protecting someone, make absolutely sure you will define boundaries and terms and ideas, making sure you both are absolutely on the same page, otherwise that can lead to unnecessary drama and hurt and a breakdown in communication.
If you just met someone and you two are considering the label,take some time to get to know them. Talk often. Meet for a coffee date or organise a safe way to communicate online – be sure that they are a healthy fit for you and where you are now – and if you’re not confident or comfortable entirely with the idea, that’s okay too. We really do have all the time in the world.
At the end of the day, being somebody’s protector can mean entirely different things for entirely different people. It could be non-sexual, it could be a Friends-With-Benefits scenario where the submissive is accompanied to munches and clubs as moral support, it could just be moral support and a voice of guidance along the way, customised to an extent. It really depends on what people want and how people feel and I could be here all day discussing scenarios.
If you’re new to Fetlife and new to kink and this sounds appealing, try not to rush into it. Be careful. There are those out there who will abuse your trust to get their quick fix. They can easily be sussed out, their lack of interest and patience can be evident generally. Just be wary – but don’t despair! There’s plenty of good out there too.