Not many of you will know this but I recently moved house. In fact I not only moved house, I changed cities as well. I used to live in a rural township about an hour from Sydney in Australia. Now I live in the middle of the second biggest city in the state, three hours from Sydney. It's been a big change but after approximately nine weeks, I think I'm finally in the swing of city living again. As well as settling into city life I've also had to connect with members of the Kink community in a city where I know very few people.
While I was deciding what to blog about today, something occurred to me. Maybe some of you are interested in becoming more involved with your local BDSM community but just don't know where to start. Needless to say, I thought I'd share my journey so far.
The first step for me was to investigate what groups existed in my local area. In order to do that I went to Fetlife. For those of you who don't know what Fetlife is it's a social networking site for the BDSM and Kink community. There are other sites that you can join but I find they are more about hooking up or dating and that's not what I'm looking for. I've had a profile on Fetlife for many years and I use it to stay in touch with friends involved in the lifestyle. It's my kinky facebook. I began by searching different groups listed on the site for my local area, had a look at what they offered and joined a couple of groups that seemed to be active and who organised social events. I became friends with a few of the group participants, joined in on the forum discussions and checked out dates for the munches that were coming up. The next step was to move from the relative anonymity of cyberland into reality.
Step two was...attend a munch. A munch is a get together at a public venue, there is no BDSM play, no typical fetish clothing, it's just people in the lifestyle getting together to have a meal and get to know each other in a non threatening environment. As it turned out I knew someone who attended, which only proves the BDSM community can be a small world. The group members seemed really friendly and very protective of their subs and younger (both in age and experience level) members within the group, which is a great indication that I've met a good group of people. I would just like to add if I hadn't felt comfortable at the munch, if people had been offensive or inappropriate I would have left and started my search again, but in this case, the experience was a good one.
So, a few weeks later and where am I? I'm attending my first play party. The group has specific requirements for who attends parties and how soon someone can do that after joining the group. I've met the requirements so on Saturday night, I'm off to do more socialising and learn more. Just because it's a play party doesn't mean those attending have to play. I'm not intending to play for the simple reason that I don't know the members well enough yet and haven't built up enough trust with anyone in the group to engage in the activities I like. It's still going to be a fun night though, even without being flogged..lol.
I think it's important to note that throughout the process I've set rules for myself, and will continue to do so. As a single sub I need to look after myself and setting personal limits is a way to do that. As well as the no play rule I mentioned earlier, here are some other practices I use.
- Fetlife for me is a social medium and that's how I use it. If I get messages from people asking to hook up or wanting to talk dirty, I politely decline. They generally go away without any fuss.
- Before I committed to going to a munch, I spoke with the local group leaders online and found out the motivation for the group they moderated. I read the group profile and some of the member profiles just to get to see who everyone was and chose people to friend that I thought I'd have something in common with.
- For the munch and the party there specific requirements like dress codes, appropriate behaviors, limits on alcohol consumption etc. I'll make sure I'm fully aware of all these and stick to them.
- When I arrive at the party on Saturday, I'll make sure I identify and say hello to the Dungeon Master/s, in case I need assistance throughout the night.
Anyway, that's about it. So far so good as they say. I'm making inroads into getting to know people and having a kinky social life again. Now, the next thing to do is to decide what to wear...um, where did I put my platforms again?
Wish me luck.