Not everyone is fortunate enough to cross the boundary into kink accompanied by a friend or a mentor. New people might say to themselves “well, I have to look around, see what my options are, and then I’ll figure out where I want to be. I have to see everything first.” That’s the All You Can Eat Buffet approach. So, what might be better? How about a Be True to Self approach. It is far more likely to support a new person’s right to retain control over what they experience and over personal safety.
The wildly experiential nature of the All You Can Eat Buffet can seem attractive to anyone. Why not wield a flogger or cast a whip or drip some wax? We’ve, all, watched other people do it, so, how hard can it be? Someone might feel pressured into saying “yes” the first time that someone contacts them online. Or, they might exaggerate their BDSM experience the first time that someone approaches them at a club. So, it’s “yes” to pretty much whatever this or that stranger encourages them to do.
All You Can Eat Buffet can look like s-types (submissives or slaves) doing whatever a dominant says as a necessary element of their identity as an s-type. That’s fine in a trusting and respectful relationship with negotiated boundaries in which both partners know their rights. “You can say ‘no’ at any time.” Otherwise, disrespect is possible and, at the extreme end, abuse can erode any relationship.
By strong contrast, Being True to Self begins with turning inward. Listen to what feelings are kicking up. Using one’s feelings as a navigation system is a wise move in life in general. It’s a terrific choice as you stroll along BDSM paths, specifically. If a situation feels uncomfortable then turn away. That awful feeling in the pit of your stomach when danger is nearby is a warning. Go elsewhere. Let your feelings guide you toward good people and great situations for you. That’s when your internal navigation system rewards you with “yay,” “that feels right,” “ooh, give me more.” “Personal responsibility and risk management are really the point.”
Doing whatever it takes to stay safe is an important aspect of Being True to Self. Listening to your built-in navigation system is good for the individual and good for our kink communities. We can protect each other. “There are good and bad people everywhere, vanilla or not. Take the time to learn first so you can make informed decisions.”
Our communities are full up with genuinely caring people who think of it as an honor to help newcomers. But it is crucial to recognize that BDSM is a world with open doors, porous walls, and people of every type. So, none of us should hesitate to ask for references and to vet potential play or relationship partners: “I vet people. If I don’t know someone I will reach out to people on their friends list.” You might want to stick with people who are well known in your local community. That’s Being True to Self.
It really is okay to let yourself embrace whatever feels good to you within BDSM and leave the rest alone. In truth, there is no such thing as seeing all that’s available in our kink communities. Design your kink journey slowly and with patience and all the while listening to that internal guidance system of yours. Ask yourself, “What Do I Need?” Ask yourself that question again and again. You have a right to your own personal happiness. Create what’s right for you with the people you choose to interact with rather than be pulled and pushed by external forces. That’s Being True to Self.
The kink community gains yet another strong and alert member when the new person walks about mindfully. That’s one more set of eyes, wide open. Then, it is of less consequence that someone is new. The new person who is practicing Being True to Self has a lot to contribute and that alone makes our kink communities stronger.
Mistress Sky is a tantra practitioner, bondage queen, and hypnotist. Professionally, Sky is a life positive counselor for alternative lifestyles at Gates Counseling. She gives presentations and workshops and writes about Unequal Partnership, the dominance/submission model that she developed over the last ten years.