For me, although I've written about BDSM for some time and have contacts who are wonderful about sharing information with me, this was my first actual visit to a club.
It didn't disappoint.
The hostess knew we were authors on a research trip and she took great care to give us a tour of the premises so we knew exactly what to expect and where to find it.
The club has performance areas both indoors and out but that night was a little too chilly for outdoor activities. Although the fire for people to warm themselves at was very enticing.
Inside people were already engaged in activities and I curled myself into a large leather armchair to take in the scene.
There was almost too much to watch.
Against one wall a man was being spanked against a St. Andrews Cross. On the other side of the room a woman was punishing and arousing her female submissive. In the center of the room a woman stretched out on a leather platform while an other woman expertly wielded switches of different lengths and materials. Watching her hands was like watching someone in a choreographed ballet, so expertly did she wield them and in such intricate patterns. She knew exactly how and where to apply them to elicit the maximum amount of pleasure.
I was also drawn to the couple next to me, especially when they were joined by another man and proceeded to indulge in their own activities while watching others.
I was struck by a lot of things - the respect all of the players had for each other, the familiarity with which they greeted each other as you would at any other type of social club. But most of all the delicious cookies in the kitchen. The hostess told us she baked them herself!
I don't know about my companions, but I left the club with my brain busily cataloguing everything I've seen and already thinking of stories to weave the scenes into.
So even if you just write about BDSM and don't actually practice it yourself, I urge you to get out and immerse yourself in the scene. What you learn will enrich your stories and help you better communicate to your readers what the lifestyle is all about.