Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Getting Involved

One of the most common emails I get - both from people who follow my blog and those who just identify me through profiles as a kinkster - is wondering how to get involved in their local kink community. Usually it's more from a "How can I get laid and have really hot sex?" standpoint than a "What can I do to help the community?" one, but you have to start somewhere.

Community is important when you begin delving into kink, because it helps ensure that the people you are playing with know what they're doing. I've talked to many guys who have been burned (literally in one case) by a shitty kink experience with an unworthy partner, and in a few instances I was aware of the person and their irresponsible nature. Of course there are various cliques in each local community, but most of the time guys not connected to that network in any way are isolated for good reasons. I've personally had my ass saved a few times by asking around about such an individual.

Unfortunately not all cities are created equal in this respect, and it isn't always as simple as going to a leather bar on the weekends until you meet a group of guys you hit it off with. In most cases, however, there should be some form of kink group however small it may be. There are a number of sites that can assist you in finding individuals in your area; Recon.com for homos, CollarMe.com for both heteros and homos, Alt.com for just about for anyone (though it's pay-only which I find to be ridiculous), and there's also FetLife.com which helps more with finding groups. I, myself, also use anything from Grindr to A4A to ManHunt to find guys, but I've been at this a while and don't mind wearing my kink on my sleeve; if you're looking for support and commonality your best bet is to stick to the kink-specific sites which will be less judging of your interests.

In addition to websites, you can also kick it old school and try some in-person or more serendipitous methods. Despite kink being on somewhat of an upswing, it is still something that hasn't quite injected itself fully into "mainstream" gay culture. Things are still very youth and glam-oriented, and cater to a very specific image; as such, kinksters aren't always welcome in environments trying to cultivate said image unless they play that part. Barring the obvious possibility of a leather bar, check out any gay bars (or mix bars, even) that might fall closer into the "dive bar" category. If ever there was a safe haven for kinksters, it's bars that don't care about having a specific atmosphere and would welcome a dozen extra people coming in for drinks no matter what. It's also good because they tend to be pretty judgement-free places where it's easier to be yourself. After all, if a Prada-wearing, judgmental twink would walk in and say "Ew" he won't stay long enough to make you feel self-conscious about wearing leather or being shirtless and hairy.

It's also helpful to talk to your bartenders. Obviously you don't want to monopolize the time of someone in the service industry while they're on the job, but they do interact with a lot of people. They're also often aware of competing bars' events and happenings and - duh - have their own lives. It doesn't hurt to ask on a slow night if there are any bear, leather, rubber, sports gear, bondage, or whatever gatherings that happen on occasion, or if people inclined to those circles migrate towards certain bars. Maybe there's a bar you hadn't heard of, or maybe there's a bar that has a gay night or even a fetish night once a month you hadn't yet seen a flyer for. Some might make it to the local gay magazines and newspapers (which can also be good resource materials), but they're generally not all-inclusive.

If all else fails, you can always commute. If your city really is so small that there's no recognizable community, look to the nearest metropolitan city. I wouldn't suggest randomly driving out there with the hopes of meeting kinksters randomly, but you can research events through the internet methods mentioned above and get to town on an event night where there's guaranteed to be kinky folk. Of course it's going to cost some money in gas and drinking presents a problem if you have to drive back home, but on top of having access to kinky friends close enough for a day or weekend trip, you might meet people who commuted there as well from an area nearer to you. This is especially true of larger events like Mid-Atlantic Leather, Mr. International Rubber, Cleveland Leather Awareness Weekend, and International Mr. Leather. Most of these larger events also offer volunteer shifts to help set up or maintain the event (coat check, door man, package selling, etc) during which you're guaranteed to meet plenty of friendly kinksters.

Becoming immersed in the kink community - or growing one where there isn't one present - can be an arduous task, and patience is paramount. Essentially it boils down to how much you value developing your sexuality. I place a higher value on it than most since bondage has almost always been a part of my life, but I've talked to far too many forty-somethings who regret not exploring kink earlier in their life for me to not encourage others to do so as soon as possible. That being said, if feeling kink-dry is something weighing heavily on you with your current living situation don't think "Oh, it's just sex;" your sexuality is a part of you and should be given the reverence and prioritization it deserves.

1 comment:

  1. Great information source. "Stickie" material if there ever was a post worthy of it.

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