No.

It is one of the shortest sentences in the English language. It is a complete sentence, with absolutely zero requirements to elaborate, explain, justify, or otherwise fill in the blanks.

No.

Here’s a hint to the newbies: A GOOD Dominant/Top will accept a NO without losing their shit like a three-year-old denied a candy bar.

You should NEVER feel hesitant or ashamed or embarassed or pressured if you have to say NO to something/someone.

If you ever DO feel that way, then you need to take a SERIOUS step back from the person in question and figure out WHY you are feeling reluctant to issue that simple sentence to someone you don’t even know.

NO.

You’re new, and at a party, and someone comes up to you and starts talking to you. After a while, they seem okay, and you’ve admitted you’re new and alone and unsure of things. They ask you if you want to play.

You WANT to say NO, but you…hesitate. Your gut is sending up mixed signals.

Why?

Do you not want to piss them off? Do you feel there’s some unwritten code you’re violating by saying NO? Do you feel pressured to say yes?

NO.

I’ve seen too many newbies who said yes way too soon, for whatever reason, and before you know it they’re burnt out and we never see them in the lifestyle again.

Yes, there are predators out there (which might sound like a harsh word, but unfortunately it covers a wide spectrum of behavior from clueless subby play collector all the way up to sociopaths and psychopaths) who will pressure you for a yes, and not stop until you do say yes.

ALL THE MORE REASON TO SAY NO.

Remember, a GOOD Dominant/Top will graciously accept a NO and NOT pressure you to play when you aren’t ready. They will frequently wait until YOU ask THEM to play, because they honestly don’t want to be seen as pressuring a newbie. (So, yes, if there’s a Dominant you’ve been wanting to play with who’s a service top, and they haven’t asked you to play yet, go up to them when it’s an appropriate time and talk to them and ask them if they’re open to play.)

If someone is pressuring you, and you say NO, and they say, “But why not?”

You are NOT required to explain. PERIOD.

NO.

If you feel NO is too rude and blunt, then say, “No, thank you.”

You don’t owe them a, “Sorry, not tonight.” (That opens it up for them trying again.)

You don’t owe them a, “Not right now.” (That opens it up for them to keep trying THAT night.)

You owe them NOTHING.

NO.

It’s such a short, easy phrase that many newbies feel unable to say.

I have a hot news flash for you: Just because you think you identify as submissive, it does NOT mean you are required to say yes to ANYONE. (Well, except to the IRS and your cat, maybe, but not another person.) You are NOT required to play with someone just because they can’t take NO for an answer.

And if someone seriously gets po’d at you for saying NO to them? Get LOUDER when you say NO.

“I SAID NO.”

Or, hell, even yell RED. (That’s a pretty sure-fire way to get a predator to back off, to yell RED at them at the top of your lungs.)

That will make more than a few heads turn your way, possibly even attract the attention of a DM, and will shed an uncomfortable spotlight on the predator. And, seriously, if you feel you’re being pressured, find a DM or staffer and TELL THEM.

Most predators like to operate in quiet and darkness, with their actions going mostly unnoticed by others so they can keep their fishing pond relatively smooth and placid.

They don’t like it when attention is drawn to them.

So try that word. See how it feels in your mouth. You need to get used to saying it as a newbie, because–literally–that little word might be the difference between you having a fun night and you having a horrible, life-shattering experience if you get hooked up with the wrong person. Trust your gut. If everything else looks okay, but your GUT sends up red flags? Then say NO.

(Tymber Dalton is a writer and the web mistress and social media sadist for the Tampa Bay Phoenix Club.)