The Dalai Dom and the Case of Dunning Kruger

I recently came across a noob sadist who believed his months of BDSM experience made him 100% free of risk.

It’s damned hard not to think you have infinite knowledge when you’re a noob because all human beings arrive on this green earth with potentially fatal cases of Dunning-Kruger effect. The less we know, the more we think we know. The more we know, the less we think we know. None of us is immune. If you think you’re too humble to come down with a bad case of Dunning-Kruger, you probably have Dunning-Kruger about Dunning-Kruger. I’ll wait while you churn that sentence around in your head.


When we’re new, we’ve not yet had the time to become aware of all the risks and uncertainties of what we’re doing, which makes us convinced of our expertise. That applies as much to rigging as it does to our careers. Telling me that you offer a 100% risk-free sadomasochistic experience is like saying you’ve learned how to fly because there is no such thing as 100% risk-free sadomasochism. There are always risks, even if you were trained for 15 000 hours on the top of Mount Fuji by The Dalai Domly Dom. <genuflect>

A medical doctor knows all there is to know about anatomy and physiology, right? He knows enough, at least, to safely take someone’s blood pressure. I mean, with 10 years of full-time learning and three decades of practice, you should be able to get a minor procedure like that done without harming someone, or so you’d think. My GP once managed to injure me with a blood pressure cuff. Shit happens. It always, always happens.

The body is a complex thing. You’ll obviously be a safer player with some experience behind you, but accidents happen. An experienced player is unlikely to think they’re risk-free, so if you’re claiming absolute safety, you’re prolly too inexperienced to understand the meaning of risk, which makes you unsafe as it stands.

Why does it matter? Because if I think I know enough so early in the game, I won’t look for information about safety before I take to your ass with a paddle. If I know everything already, I won’t try to learn before I fuck around with breath play, which is never free of risk. If I think I’m risk-free, I’ll be way too confident to be safe to play with. If I’m a noob who thinks there are no risks involved in playing with me, I can’t be risk aware because I’ll falsely assume that I know all the risks already.

All that repetitive shit I just spouted is the reason people like EM and ShayBlondie, who have thousands of hours of classes and thousands more hours of experience behind them, speak so often about the risks of their scenes. It takes a lot of experience and knowledge to realise how fallible you are.

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