a Barak & Sheba Article

Poke the Sadist!" - Yes, It's a Good Game... But There Are Rules...
Monday Feb 16, 2015

I see this on profiles, or as events once in a while. It is a game that many of us love to play. But… there are rules – on both sides. And… It can be quite risky territory – at least as far as consent is concerned.

Please Note – this is not the comprehensive and complete “Twue” guide to “Poke the Sadist…” but it is my experience and the guidelines I go by.

For those of you who don't know, or haven' experienced this yet, let me give the summary. “Poke the Sadist,” is a game that many masochists play, both consciously and unconsciously. It's that, non-verbal, verbal, or physical “poking” that is intended to say, “play with me,” or at the very least, “pay attention to me.” This game can start out cautiously, tentatively, flirtatiously… or it can be as abrupt as a physical poke, a slap or even a strike!

Normally it is a bottom initiated interaction, and can be tremendous amounts of fun… However, before you wascally masochists dive into the deep end of the pool, there are a few things you might just want to keep in mind. First, you might want to have some interaction prior to with said Sadist. Whether it's a flirt, some lingering eye contact, a previous scene, or a 10 year relationship, it should be something. There should at least be some mutual assent… or for that matter, interest.

Think about that for a second – I am a Sadist. There I am, standing, minding my own business, doing whatever thing that it is that I do… and someone I don't know comes up and punches me, then runs away. To me, if there is no frame of reference? That is irritating at best, and assault and battery at worst. It could be an outright violation of my consent – if I don't retroactively grant it. Either way, if we don't have this arrangement already, it certainly doesn't endear me to a person. It doesn't make me want to chase them. It makes me want to avoid them… or possibly press charges.

Next, you probably want to know what you are getting in to. “Poke the Sadist” is a game of retaliation and escalation. It starts and most often escalates by percentages or degrees. But, if you are playing with someone who prefers to not play for long? You might get into the retaliation via “Hulk Smash” game… which for some, is not as much fun as something that builds a little slower. Just putting it out there, you may want to develop an understanding or parameters for potential responses.

You may want to start small, with initial flirts. Perhaps some little pokes, and prods. This way, you both can see if this is something you want to explore and experience together. It gives both parties a chance to feel out the energy.

Many Sadists, including myself say, “hitting or poking me implies consent.” It is true. There is a level of that… but it doesn't imply a “Carte Blanche” or “blanket consent.” Because in this instance – the Bottom, Brat or Person Poking (Poker?) doesn't often obtain verbal consent. And when you are playing “Poke the Sadist,” it's a form of full contact flirting – and without that verbal consent? It's possible that you could be playing without a net.

It should imply “reasonable consent.” What do I mean? Simple. If you poke my arm, there is the implication and expectation that I will poke back, a little (or perhaps a lot) harder. But that doesn't give me consent to throw you down and jam my fist in your ass up to my elbow – or beat the living hell out of you with a baseball bat… (well, unless we have negotiated something like that prior to the incident) The second responses might seem a bit “over the top” for the stimulus, and certainly wouldn't be expected.

There can be expectations that the bottom will respect the Sadist (or Top) also… We all have a history, and have developed our individual limits based on that. Sadists are permitted limits also. I can be a little defensive when it comes to areas of my body and styles of approach. For instance, if I see you coming? And know something might happen? We are probably good. You can watch my initial body reactions to see if I am receptive as you approach. But if you come at me and somehow surprise me by let's say… grabbing my neck from behind? You might not get the kind of reaction either of us prefer.

But… what if everything feels right. You have gotten all the “green light” signals. Then you go for it… and something happens? You have to be able to negotiate during the scene. Don't be afraid to express your needs/wants/desires – even while the scene is escalating. I've seen Sheba – in full on Brat mode – setting parameters while being carried over a shoulder down a hallway after she poked the Big Scary Man. She was yelling out, “watch my right shoulder, it's injured!” and “No genital penetration!” So even in the middle of a fray, it can be done.

A certain modicum of Trust should also be present. Each of you should have an understanding of the other. The bottom trusts that the top will maintain control of themselves and the situation; and retaliate with a reasonable response. The top trusts that the bottom will communicate intent, and physical/emotional status in some way – up to and including safewording.

Yes. I said safewording. What about that… calling it done? Either party can call the “scene” at any time. Safe-words are never invalidated. Not at a meet n greet, not at a party, not anywhere. So if there is something that is going sideways, or you are just done… use your words. Whether you are yelling “Red!” “Safeword!” or even, “I WITHDRAW MY CONSENT!!!” Make sure you are paying attention to your own body enough to keep yourself safe.

But what about people who are outside the scene? What about your friends and onlookers who are “egging you on?” Can't you go longer for their amusement and fun? Up to you. But tomorrow morning, when you are hitting that ibuprofen, and trying to look yourself in the mirror after giving your ass away – where are they? Obviously not standing behind you in the reflection. It's important to “play your own game.” The interaction, the drive by, the poke and response, the scene is between you and that other person. Make sure you are respecting each other.

After all, as a Bottom, you don't want the Sadist to be listening to the crowd when they egg them on to “hit you harder,” or “give 'em all they've got!” do you? And conversely, as the Top, do you want the crowd dictating the Bottom's limits for them? Heck no! Cause tomorrow – you both have to live with what happened. And we all want fun, positive interactions, right?

Another thing? This is not broad sweeping. Many Tops – be they sadists or not – don't like this game. Or… may be conditional about who they play it with or how they play it. See the above paragraph about the initial steps… with the flirting and energy part of it. It's always a good idea to have a conversation of some sort – if not a full out negotiation - before running down this road.

Furthermore, poking and prodding from either side tends not to be really successful if either party isn't good at reading people – or recognizing social cues. Many nuances, gestures, flirts, or escalations can be missed and things can get out of hand very quickly. After all, this type of play is based on the mutual “read.”

I did try to catch many of the pieces here… but there are undoubtedly more. However this should give you some opening parameters at this type of play. Remember that your intuition is the best indicator of what you should do - especially when playing with people you have not played with before. Good luck and enjoy some fun and mutually consensual poking!

Thank you to a Brat or two for discussing this with me and adding some ideas...

©2015 Barak & Brat Sheba

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