Here are 5 reasons to support your local BDSM Community:
1) If you are new I highly suggest you get out and start by attending classes and munches. Even if a class topic doesn’t particularly interest you I still suggest going if you can. No matter what, you will learn new things, meet new people, or perhaps run into people you’ve met at previous classes and/or munches, etc. Take some time to simply absorb and observe. If you go to play parties there is nothing wrong with (respectfully) watching people play. You can learn so much by doing this!
2) If you aren’t so new to the scene I always suggest still going to events and classes. My philosophy is that you can stop learning when you die. There will always be new perspectives and techniques that you haven’t been exposed to. Or perhaps another generation of kinksters begins writing their own rules. May as well be aware of the changes, right? Classes also serve as reminders of things we may forget or not really think about anymore. Another great thing about getting out to any event – classes, munches, parties – is that it creates an opportunity for you, the seasoned player, to offer your knowledge and/or experiences to newer folks. Whether that’s through talking to them or being one of the scenes they happen to observe that night.
3) Keep events up and running. Any event is in danger of no longer continuing if people don’t go. Feed the educational cycle – help parties and munches last. This is especially true in smaller cities or towns. Even in Los Angeles I have seen munches and parties end due to lack of interest or attendance. Then people complain that they don’t happen anymore. You gotta show up!
4) Support local vendors. This is the idea of buying local as opposed to big companies. Vendors that you see sitting behind booths at events put hours of work into their craft. Each piece typically made by hand. Consider purchasing from them instead of big on-line companies. The more they sell, the more they can put back into their business and create more fabulous items!
5) If you see a void that needs to be filled – stop complaining and make it happen! This was my philosophy when I started my BDSM 101 class series as well as the parties I host. I wanted to create things that I wished I’d had when I was new. If you really wish there was a party with a specific theme or that caters to a specific crowd – talk to venue owners and see if you can give it a go! If you feel like the community needs a certain class taught – try to put it together. Whether it means you are qualified to teach it or if you need to find someone else to teach it – chances are if you want to see that topic taught, others do too. If you feel like your city could use a munch in your area, host one! If it starts out a little slow I suggest you stick with it for a few months at least. Sometimes new events can take a bit to catch on.
Bottom line is that we get what we give. Enjoy the things (parties, classes, locally made implements/goods, etc.) that are available to you so they can continue and if you see a void, do what you can to fill it. This community is its own giant energy exchange! ☺
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.