So you’ve worked out you’re kinky, huh? You have a fetish and you want to explore it. There’s all these incredible ideas in your head, and they grow exponentially, each building onto the other, until one day you realise you this doesn’t have to be total fantasy. You decide you want to PLAY!
Identifying and Accepting Kink:
Just because you’re ‘kinky’, doesn’t mean you’re a Dom/me or a submissive. It doesn’t mean you’re a sadist or masochist. Just to be clear, ‘kinky’ is a label attached to anyone practising ‘unorthodox sexual behaviours’, it is not specific to BDSM. Your kinkiness could express itself in an array of forms; fetishism; swinging; power exchange; giving or receiving pain; exhibitionism; role-play… the list is as long as your imagination is fertile.
The first step to an engagement with the kink community is acknowledging your kinks, and being accepting of those of others. The main Kink mantra you hear is ‘Your Kink’s Not My Kink (and) That’s OK’ (YKNMKTOK) - you don’t have to enjoy the same things as others, but you need to respect their right to enjoy them. Keep a gentle, patient mind with yourself, and an open mind for others, and you are on your way.
First things first - please find a glossary of kink and BDSM terminology. The way you use the ‘language of kink’ says a lot about you, particularly online as you begin putting your thoughts out there and communicating with other kinksters.
Before you start planning any adventures, read about what goes into the type of play you’re after. What skills do you need? What skills will your partner require? Do you need specific tools or toys? Find blogs on your subject of choice, and read differing opinions and voices. Look into any potential safety hazards inherent to the play, and start assessing the risks.
Basically, make Google your friend; whatever you’re into, there will be information out there if you know how to ask. The clearer you can be, and the more specific the terms you can use, the more successful your searches will be. Try some key phrases like ‘BDSM blogs + Your Kink’, ‘social media + kink and/or fetish’, or even ‘BDSM for beginners’. Put some time aside and enjoy.
Social Media For Kinksters:
Once you’ve got some background research done, and you’re feeling more assured in what you want, it’s time to start putting it out there. I won’t pretend that the social media groups for kinksters are free of opinionated turds and keyboard warriors, however, on the whole, communication is a little more mature, and definitely more open.
Facebook has a bunch of interesting groups, and you would more than likely find your fetish covered on some page or group, however their Community Standards can make it difficult to share kinky pics, and even ideas at times. The other difficulty with Facebook is the need for ‘real names’ as people can be fearful of outing themselves.
Try Twitter. It’s certainly not as ‘chatty’ as Facebook, but there is such an incredible array of non-censored people sharing their kinks, fetishes, and thoughts, that it can be a brilliant facilitator of information. If you choose to get on Twitter with your kinky persona (no ‘real name’ required) do know there will be a bunch of NSFW stuff in your feed… and probably a bit of dick. (A lack of censorship has its price.) You can start your Twitter life by following @AdultMatchMaker and the gang of bloggers here, and check out their networks and interests to find more cool profiles to follow.
There are several social media platforms particularly for kinksters, so check in with your buddy Google, to see which one suits you.
For some of you this may be your first piece of vital, new terminology. A Munch is a purely social event for kinksters, where people meet in a non-kink setting (e.g. café, restaurant, bar, park) to hang out, chat, and meet new folk. For people new to the scene, Munches are a fairly common starting point; they are casual, public, and in most cases, extremely welcoming. A good Munch will be hosted by someone with the energy and inclination to spend some time with newer members, getting them settled, and helping with introductions.
A lot of Munches are organised by location (e.g., Eastern Suburbs Munch, Bayside Munch), but some are kink-specific (Submissive’s Munch, Male Slave Munch). There is sure to be something in your area, if not in your kink. And do contact the event organiser to let them know you’re coming along for the first time. Not only is it just kinda sexy etiquette, it means the organiser will be looking out for YOU.
Workshops and Skillshares:
Partaking in these educational events is potentially the best thing you can do to enhance your connection with the kink community. Not only do you have the opportunity to learn some tangible skills to help you develop your kink play (skills you can keep forever) but there is every chance you’ll have some great opportunities to engage with other kinksters about their play and lifestyle.
There is very little difference between a workshop and a skillshare. Workshops generally cover the more theoretical material, while skillshares are more hands-on, practical classes, but this difference can just come down to the definition the organiser gives the event.
The Adult Match Maker Event section can give you an idea of some of the classes being held in your vicinity, but your social media connections will also come in extremely useful to keep abreast of the latest offerings.
There are so many events Australia-wide - anyone with access to a major city can find themselves spoilt for choice. Fetish events can be anything from a BDSM-friendly nightclub, a spanking party, public dungeon space, or even a market, like Fetish Expo. There are an array of fetish events being held all the time. Several nightclubs have fetish themed nights, and some places even have clubs dedicated entirely to kink.
These larger, playful, social events can be pretty full-on. Picture a crowded nightclub; noisy, boisterous, alcohol-fueled, and little in the way of light. Now add to this spanking benches, restraining points, St Andrew’s Crosses, and a bunch of other kink equipment with people being whipped, needled, and roped. There are screams and squeals of both pain and delight. There are welts and bruises and sometimes blood. The sensory overload of a kink event is not to be understated; there is A LOT going on, and you may need to rest your eyes, ears, and mind at times. That’s perfectly natural, and even the most experienced kinksters can find these events overwhelming. Make sure your first time along is with a trusted friend, and if there’s stuff you find confronting, walk away. These events are not the place to attempt desensitising yourself.
Some venues or groups run events more specific to new-comers. There are introductions to both the venue and some of its regular players, as well as a brief run-down of the specific rules of that event or venue. And yes, the Adult Match Maker Events section covers this too!
If you’re lucky enough to be in Melbourne in September, OzKinkFest is a brilliant place to check things out. The Fetish Expo features stalls from some of Australia’s most respected kink artisans and suppliers, live entertainment, great food, and a LOAD of great people and information. DO get along if you can - it’s always a fascinating day.
Believe it or not, Mentors have the same definition in the kink world as they do everywhere else. Yay! Yes, the Mentor/Mentee relationship is simply one where an experienced person takes on a newer person to help guide them on their journey. Mentors can help with everything from general advice and support, and an accessible listening ear, to aiding in arranging play dates, helping with negotiations, and being a safe place at public events.
And as in mainstream life the type of Mentor you want depends on your passions and your path. The BDSM and kink communities are a treasure trove of tiny sub-cultures within sub-cultures, as again, social media will help you find your network, and within that, the right people who might be up for a Mentor/Mentee relationship. Some people are passionate about their Mentoring roles and will actively seek interested Mentees. But these relationships can also be borne from mutual respect and friendship.
Regardless of your kink or fetish, there will be safety issues to consider, if not for you, then for those that you play with, and safety includes emotional and mental well-being just as much as the physical. There are a couple of common acronyms within the community that people identify with in terms of safe play - SSC (Safe Sane Consensual) or RACK (Risk-Aware Consensual Kink).
SSC: This is a good place to start. Safe: there is a bond of trust, the safety aspects of the play have been considered (e.g. knowing during impact play to avoid certain areas, like the kidneys), and the location is comfortable for all players.
Sane: This means that everyone involved is making clear decisions, and keep in mind drugs and alcohol can affected this. We are not just talking mental health ‘sanity’. Even heightened emotions like anger can make for poor decision making. ’Sane’ is being clear-headed and mindful.
Consensual: This means a resounding ‘yes’. ‘Maybe’ doesn’t count. ‘One day’ doesn’t count. The only word that can give consent is ‘YES’. It really is that simple.
RACK: Once people get a bit more comfortable with their play and their people, they often move on to RACK. To be truly ‘risk-aware’ takes time. There are always differing opinions on what is ‘safe’, and this is because the feeling of safety is a subjective one - people have different trust and tolerance levels. As you develop as a player, so to will your self-knowledge about your own fears and tolerable levels of risk.
And again the CK of Consensual Kink - everyone has to say ‘yes’.
Meeting Prior To Play:
Um, yes. Absolutely. And publicly. And if the person is as awesome and ace, and the ‘experienced’ player they say they are, then they too will know a public meeting is definitely the way to go.
Munches are often used for first time meets, as they are public, attended by like-minded people, and generally supportive; the bonus being if the meet doesn’t go well, both of you have other people to talk to. It can also help to have other people around just to ease the conversation. I highly recommend Munches for first meets, but if it’s is not an option, make sure you go for a café or restaurant in a well-established area.
Even the most basic and seemingly harmless play should be negotiated. This is a conversation in which safe words are established, physical/emotional issues that may affect the play are voiced, boundaries are established, and aftercare is discussed. This is also the time to discuss whether this is something that is potentially sexual, or just purely BDSM or fetishising. Once all parties are satisfied with the negotiated terms, play can commence!
I am generally passionate about people ‘knowing’ themselves, and living authentic to who they are, but even more so when it comes to my fellow kinksters. When getting involved in this new and exciting world, it’s important to not lose sight of yourself, and what you want, particularly if you are inclined to be more submissive. Keeping a strong sense of self is vital when having the conversations needed to engage in play. Know what YOU want to achieve with the scene, and negotiate from there.
A safe word is a word you use to stop all play instantly. INSTANTLY. Regardless of whether the discomfort is physical, mental, or emotional, when you can’t or just don’t WANT to take anymore, use the safe word.
If play ever strays into non-negotiated areas, use your safe word.
It’s fairly common for kinksters to use the Green-Amber-Red safe word technique.
Green is all go, everything’s cool, let’s play.
Amber is a way to acknowledge you’re close to your current limit, and it’s generally advisable to check-in with the Top or Dom/me to decide whether the play slows down or pushes on.
Red is STOP. No questions, no final love taps. Just STOP. And again, a check-in is required as to whether play resumes at a different level, or the scene is over.
Often people will develop their own personal safe words with partners or playmates, and if you wish to do this choose a unique word that won’t be confused with anything else. Not only must your safe word stand alone, but it needs to be articulated easily in stressful and adrenalised situations. (Which is why RED is such a winner - quick and to the point.)
You will come to see more of these as you travel along your kinky path, and you’ll find some people more apt at seeing them than others. Here’s a few of the common ones.
Refusal to meet in public:
Not only is this for your physical well-being, but your emotional. There are people out there who like the game of getting peeps excited about potential hook-ups, only to let them down - it’s not kink-specific, it’s just part of our online world. I call it The Carrot and the Stick Game. It’s nasty, head-fuckery and nothing more.
So no matter the reason - and I mean no matter how big their Pity Party is - a refusal to meet in public (or consecutive cancellations) are signs that this person is not okay for you. I would also suggest that the more elaborate their ploy to get you alone, the more you detach.
Getting the terminology wrong:
In a BDSM social media group a week or two ago, and a guy who identified as Dominant put up some pics of his girl’s extremely bruised arse. In the accompanying text he’d proudly stated that these were the result of a very hard flogging with a shoe horn. Um, no. You can hit, cane, stroke, smack with a shoe horn… but you absolutely can’t flog. You flog with a flogger. The RED FLAG here is the fact that this person does not even know what he is hitting with, yet presents himself as a major Dom, complete with colour photos of his handiwork. Considering he can’t name the play, there is no reason to believe he is going to know where to hit. Or how to hit.
People like that are to be avoided.
Yes, apparently the internet is full of them, and the kink world has its share. Most problematic are the self-styled Doms who actively seek out newcomers, mostly for their own personal use. They have little interest in the wider kink community, and are often more focused on the sexual side of things, rather than kink-specific. Often their role is no more than that of a controlling boyfriend, and considering we’re still reeling from the version of kink that manifested in the mainstream via Fifty Shades of Grey, I can’t say I’m that surprised. If your potential Dom comes across all Christian Grey, bail. It’s an act learned from a crappy representation of what kink is.
Aftercare and/or Debriefing:
Kink play can be physically and mentally demanding. It’s important to take some time after play to look after yourself, and your play partner, even if it’s as simple as cuddling, checking in, and eating some chocolate. People can experience what is called ‘a drop’ a day or two after an intense play. This is the body recalibrating itself after the outpouring of crazy chemicals it made during the play. The better your aftercare is, the less chance you have of a bad drop.
How aftercare is carried out depends on the relationship you have with the play partner, and how you negotiate prior to play. For example, if you’re standing for the entire scene, it would be good to have a safe, comfy place to relax after. And having a drink ready is also good. Do be sure to put your wishes out there - if they don’t come true they may come close.
It’s a lot to take in, I know, but every word was worth writing. With some of these tools at your disposal, your journey on this kinky path can be a wickedly wonderful one. Be safe, be true, and enjoy it.