Discovering the world of kink can be a fabulous and overwhelming experience. So where do you go? What do you do? This can be especially nerve wracking if you are coming in like I did – unpartnered and clueless.
In my opinion Fetlife is the best way to find events in the scene. Most event coordinators will promote there whether or not they promote elsewhere. So the first step, if you haven’t already, is to join Fetlife. Go to Fetlife.com and create a profile. Feel free to use a stock photo or a picture of your dog as your profile pic until you come up with something better. Just don’t leave it empty for long. The profiles with a big “?” as the profile pic may make people think it’s a fake account, you’re a troll, etc. Also, keep in mind my next step will only work if you input your actual city or one that is near you. I understand if you are uncomfortable putting your specific city name – but even a nearby city will work. For example if you live in Santa Monica (which is a beach city near Los Angeles) then use Santa Monica or Los Angeles. However, if you use Antarctica (and don’t actually live there) then my next suggestion will not work.
On to the next step. Along the top of the site you will see a link for “Events” – click on it. Under “Upcoming Events” you will notice three tabs. “Friends RSVPed to”, “Near Me”, and “All Events”. If you are brand new to the site, chances are you don’t have any (or many) friends on your friends list yet, so that tab won’t offer much. The “All Events” tab will be overwhelming and probably take you a while to scroll through, however, if you posted a fake city this will be your option. So that leaves you with the “Near Me” tab. Click it! You will probably have to get through the first few pages of events that recently happened before you get to the current date. Then look at each event listed for the dates coming up that you have some free time. My opinion is that you focus on finding a class first. Starting with classes accomplishes a few things – you learn something regardless of current interests, you meet people in a non-pressure environment, and if you are on the shy side there is less expectation of socialization. So find a class on any topic that works for your schedule and GO!
(*If you are in the Los Angeles area I know a wonderful BDSM 101 Series at Sanctuary you can attend every Monday at 8pm – wink wink.)
My first class was on singletails (a.k.a whips). Was I interested in singletails? Nope. Did they, in fact, terrify me? Yep. I went anyway because I figured I would meet other people who were active in the scene and possibly learn something – or at least have fun watching the demo. Sure enough, all of those things happened. There was no pressure to play (because it wasn’t a party), going alone wasn’t awkward, and even though I am very social and extroverted, there was more focus on the class and presenter, which was nice given my newbie status.
Once you’re at the class be sure to approach either the instructor (after the class is finished) or another classmate that looks friendly and let them know you’re new and wondering what other classes or munches are coming up. Ask if they will be there – then you will have a familiar face to look for.
Go to more classes, start attending munches. Munches are just where a group of kinksters get together in a vanilla setting (usually a restaurant) to eat and socialize. Let people know you’re new and looking for friends and other events. Once you are ready to attend a play party you will have met lots of people and started to create a friends list. You will have people to reach out to and to look for and talk to at events.
I know you may be anxious to start playing and/or finding a partner. However, my advice is to slow it down and take your time. Get to know the scene and the people in it. Get a feel for who is experienced in the type of play you want to try, who you can trust, etc. I know it can be overwhelming and scary at first – and your experience will differ depending on how big your local scene is – but enjoy the process. View it as an adventure to be explored!
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.