Q. Could you write a primer, or provide links to decent online ones, on how to either get into a local kink community or find safe, like-minded people? Specific advice for individuals who are new to kink and do not know what they want yet would be especially appreciated. Thanks for your awesome column!
A. First off baby doll, congrats on taking your first steps towards the kinky side of life! While each journey is different, the goal is to find great, trustworthy, and safe spaces where you can run buckwild with the stuff of your BDSM dreams.
The representation BDSM is in a strange place in culture right now. Of course, bits and pieces of BDSM culture have always leaked into mainstream culture, whether through fashion (think Malcolm McLaren, Jean Paul Gaultier, Vivienne Westwood ) images (Thierry Mugler), to film (Dancing at the Blue Iguana, CSI, The Surreal Life with fourth season guest, Jane Wiedlin) to yes (I have to mention it) the prominent rise of Twilight fan fiction inspired BDSM, The 50 Shades series. Of course, what mainstream culture takes from BDSM is not always a full and whole representation of what BDSM actually is, and I certainly know that I am not the only one who is confused . Is 50 Shades diluting the representation of BDSM, making it more palatable to Christian housewives all across American airports with a deluded, abusive “kink” relationships or is it making “kink” more accessible to those who may have felt there was more to their sexuality and might not have had access to kink communities? I tend to agree with the first camp, which is why I am hoping you, dear reader, are coming from a place that has not been overtly influenced by the rise of this series.
First off, lets start simple and acknowledge that this is just one resource guide. There are tons and tons of other people out there, some who are way more qualified to talk about what you may need than I. I’m just going to give a very basic 101 guide. Now -you mention that you aren’t really sure what you want to do. Well, ask yourself this: Why kink? Why BDSM? What about this field attracts you? This is a crucial step to getting involved, as it is always good to know your wants, needs, desires, and limitations. Now, when you haven’t done any scenes or really, anything, it’s a little harder to define all those things, but it is a must. It’s exciting to be getting involved in this community and being open to “possibility.” However, one of my favorite pieces of advice for beginners who are in that foggy period of not knowing exactly what they want or need comes from my life time love blog, The Pervocracy:
What kind of interest do you have in BDSM? BDSM is what you and your partner(s) make it, so never feel that you have to do it “correctly” – anything safe and consensual is correct. So suss out, maybe even write down, what parts of BDSM interest you and in what role or roles you see yourself. Do you want to experience physical pain, or give it? Do you want to experience humiliation, or give it? …While many of these desires will come from or change with your experiences in BDSM, and while “I don’t know, I’d have to try it” is a legitimate answer to the questions above, it’s a good idea to have at least a rough idea to begin with. The more you know about what you want, the better your kinky experiences will be…If you just want “sex, but spicier,” you are probably not kinky, or at least don’t have a thorough understanding of what kink entails. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to have sex with someone who wears tight black stuff and has a femme-fatale demeanor, but that’s not really what the BDSM community is about
The Pervocracy’s guide to getting into BDSM is a phenomenal resource and I would highly recommend taking a peek. But what she said comes from a serious place of truth – you need a place to stand before you go heading into the unknown. If you want to do some more research, check out both Jay Wiseman’s, SM 101: A Realistic Introduction and Tristan Taormino’s The Ultimate Guide to Kink: BDSM, Role Play and the Erotic Edge. Transcending boundaries is another great 101 resource. While it’s not a 101 guide (this link may not be NSFW) , Mistress Matisse’s writing is a wonderful resource for a look at kink at large. Consider these your starter manuals that will be able to give you some of the basic ins and outs, as well as the advice of people who have been involved in BDSM for years. But remember, you start where you are, even if it doesn’t feel like the place everyone else is at. The idea is that once you find a community you can bond and play with, then you will be able to develop more of a palate of activities over time, ones that may seem out of reach now. Getting involved in BDSM ends up being a life long type of thing, so think about where you want this journey for you to go and know where you want to begin.
Once you have done your research and found what it is you really want to explore, start to form a network of like-minded people. When in doubt, go online. There are huge online communities that will be able to guide you and help you meet people. Fetlife, iTaboo, Deviantside, etc. My primary recommendation would be to go to Fetlife, because unlike the other two, it’s not really like a dating site (as opposed to Deviant side) and is a place to build community, ask questions, look for local meet ups, and to find out information on attending your first munch. There are chances you might play with these folks later, yes, but build up a support group first – everyone needs a community they can trust, ask questions of, and get some real talk from.
So, let’s say you have reached this point and are still full-steaming ahead in regards to BDSM. Fantastic! It’s time to take those little baby training wheels on the road and come to your local munch! Munch? I already ate munch (snort, bad joke, I know). A munch is like a tea social for kinksters. There is no play whatsoever, and it is intended to create a low-pressure environment for newbie kinksters to chat about their particular fetish, talk out their curiosities and hesitations, and just meet other folks. Now, as all polite folks know, that in life, discretion goes quite a long way. Be polite. Don’t hold up one of those signs with someone’s name, like you’re a taxi waiting for a person at the airport. Don’t be so overexcited, you lose your cool and forget to be socially responsible. BDSM is seriously misunderstood. And it’s not technically legal in many, many places. Also, people enjoy their privacy and what Bob the kinky ball suck slut might love in a scene, he might not love having it as an introduction to a non kinky friend at an art opening, or being yelled at on the street, had it said to him at work, or actually anything outside of that community. Vice versa, don’t call Bob the kinky ball suck slut by his legal name at a party. Seriously. This is huge, like, in some states get your kids taken away, lose your job, or be isolated from friends and family. Discretion is a respectful boundary that has to be practiced. While it would be fantastic to live in a culture where submissive pony play and latex fetish were as casual as say, doing taxes, we just aren’t there yet, legally, culturally, and socially. People’s private lives need to be handled the way you would expect your private life to be handled. Doing so creates a bond over the age old BDSM motto: “Safe, Sane, and Consensual.”
Still interested? Then off to a party! I would recommend going with someone you know and trust, someone who may just want to be there and not be playing. Parties are a different atmosphere than one on one, and it’s a good place to gradually take the training wheels off. Parties are usually public, so if you aren’t into public play, there are ways to negotiate more privacy, but with parties, their are more people, more to watch and observe, and more ways to learn. However, before you start playing go over the following:
1. Alert: You know that supportive friend who is here to get your back? Let them know where you are and who you want to play with. They could be in the room with you or check on you every few minutes. Tell them your safe word if you want to be super vigilant. Having a third party to supervise you throughout the first steps can be crucial and offer you support when needed. If they have an opinion about the person you are planning on playing with listen, especially if they are more experienced. Remember, while the goal is to get to play, you do not have to do anything you do not want to.
2. Found a partner? Negotiate: Negotiate! Negotiate! Negotiate! I can not say this enough. What are you and this person interested in doing? What do you not want to happen? What are the expectations? Most importantly, what is your safe word? If you are new, you may want to walk through an entire scene, even talk about anything you are hesitant with. BDSM is 70% communication and 30% good times. You and your partner must be on an equal playing field and be able to talk about hard limits (absolute no no’s) and soft limits (not yet, maybe, I’m interested but maybe later) and what you hope for to happen. While RACK activities are something folks usually encounter later on, talk about it (RACK- “Risk Aware Consensual Kink”, aka, some BDSM activities are by nature, unsafe). If you get a sense that maybe it isn’t going to work, trust your instinct. It’s better to feel confident in your first scene, than go in with doubts on your mind. This is your sexual autonomy, your sexual life. You make the calls.
3. Enjoy yourself, know when and if you need to stop, try, try, again: Remember to go easy on yourself. Just because Mistress Matilde is suspended from a rack in full sensory deprivation gear doesn’t mean you have to do that just yet, in the near future, or ever. This is about your enjoyment and your pleasure. Appreciate the community around you for all the things they love, but also remember that you have your own set of kinks. You don’t have to push past them unless you want to. Keep your momentum going and build up your play at your own pace. Talk, talk, talk to people. Use them as your lifelines to a great, healthy, kinky life.
Other than that, my newly crowned kinkster, the world is your oyster. Go in with respect and an open mind, and you will do swimmingly. Remember, when it comes down to it, all these folks, are people with lives, feelings, hopes and dreams. This is a community where some of that can happen and where people go to feel less isolated. Treat it accordingly when it deserves so and when it deserves to be licking the shit off your boots. And above all my love, have fun!
Got a question to ask, subject you’d like us to discuss, or myth you’d like us to bust? Keep “˜em coming! You can send us an anonymous message via the Ask Us! feature here.