You’re new to BDSM and kink. Maybe you read 50 Shades or are recently divorced (that was me!) or have known for a long time you might be kinky, yet you are just getting started. You have opened up to a new world and you want to explore it. Where the heck do you start? How do you figure out what you like or don’t like (for now) when you’ve never done any of it or know anyone who can guide you?
There’s a thing called frenzy (sub frenzy or Dom/Top frenzy depending on which side of the slash you’re on). When a newbie to the scene wants to try “all the things”, yet doesn’t know how to go about it and ends up risking their safety along the way. I am here to tell you that it’s ok to slow down and enjoy the discovery of “all the things”. So that’s my first tip in regard to kink discovery – take your time!
Step one, in my opinion, is to gain more knowledge about various types of play, etiquette, and safety. A great way to do this is by attending classes as well as munches. (If this article applies to you then I will quickly add that a “munch” is when local kinksters gather in a vanilla setting for casual socializing and perhaps food/drinks.) Munches are wonderful for meeting other kinksters and getting some first hand, personal observations and opinions. Classes are also one of the best ways to start because you learn so much without putting yourself in risky situations. I wouldn’t be very good at promoting if I didn’t mention that if you are in the Southern CA area I teach a BDSM 101 series and host a munch every Monday night at Sanctuary LAX (yes there may be another plug later in the article, but how could I not? Lol). Yet, outside of my classes there are other classes here in the LA area and if you are looking for classes or munches wherever you are located you should check the events link on Fetlife.com. Take any classes you can! Even if the topic or type of play being taught isn’t an interest of yours – go anyway. You will at the very least meet people and you may also learn some very valuable things that may come in handy as you continue your journey.
As you meet people you will find those that you click with who can help steer you in the right direction to try things, or can be potential play partners to help you discover what you like. If you’re in SoCal (get ready for plug #2!) you can attend Club Awakening which is a monthly play party I host where there are “tasting booths” set up for you to try various types of play – run by experienced kinksters. If you are outside of Southern CA start to look for parties that are designed more for new people – perhaps parties that don’t allow edge play, etc. Or simply find whatever party you can attend with a friend or two that you’ve made by going to all those classes and munches!
In any case, remember, if you are trying something new (whether you’ve been in the scene 20 years or 20 days) start light and slow. Build from there and remember there is no shame in stopping if you aren’t comfortable. Everything is not for everyone. Also, just because you don’t like something now, doesn’t mean you may not enjoy it down the line. Continue to learn and discover – always!
Jennifer Masri is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, specializing in Alternative Lifestyles for individual and relationship issues. She also teaches the BDSM 101 class series at Sanctuary LAX in Los Angeles every Monday evening. Read more about Jennifer on her blog, A Kink Shrink.