March 2005

The BDSM group is having a play party this Saturday, with a theme of EXTREME FETISH PLAY PARTY! (yes, the e-mail used all caps, making it look like spam to me at first), with the invitation advising us to “Please feel free to come dressed in your finest and most outrageous fetish wear!”

Uh-huh. I e-mailed to RSVP, and asked (in what I hope wasn’t an unforgivably newbie manner) if *everyone* dresses in fetish wear, because, being new, I have none and don’t plan to acquire any in the near future, and if everyone *does* dress in fetish wear, would I look like a total tool in vanilla party clothes? I’m sure that not everyone does, or at least, from time to time people just wear vanilla party clothes, but I’m so damned NEW at this that I really needed to ask to calm my nerves.

This is SO new to me (duh), and I’ve never been to anything remotely like a BDSM play party, so, while I’m calm now, I expect to be kind of freaked out on Saturday, even though I’m only going to socialize and….observe, and not to actually participate in any of the less vanilla activities.

Tomorrow I’m having dinner with some people from the BDSM group — they call themselves the Submissives Circle, and get together once a month. They organized this because there are issues that are unique to submissives, and this provides a way to support each other and kind of check in. And get perspective from other people in the same position (no pun intended). Since my own inclinations are pretty much subby, I thought this would be a good thing to check out.

So I went to another BDSM group meeting tonight — not a meeting-meeting like last time, but a hang-out-and-drink-beer-at-a-bar meeting referred to as a “munch.” Everyone was in jeans and sweaters (though there were a few collars here and there, but none were ostentatious — this is a very conservative city, and anything viewed as deviant gets smacked down harder than in most cities our size), and it was, really, just hang out at a bar and drink beer and eat burgers and fries. Just a social, mingle-y thing.

So, of course, I was nervous as hell. Sitting in a meeting where a presentation is being given — that’s one thing. I don’t have to participate; I can sit and watch and listen. Kind of like going to the movies. But bar-mingle-y time? Ack! (You may imagine me doing the “Ack! Ack!” from Mars Attacks.)

And, yeah. It’s hard being the new person in any group. However, I’m not as socially inept as I tend to think I am. I went, and I talked to the few people I remembered from the first meeting — just basic Hi, how are you? chatting — and sat at a table with them. I listened a lot more than I talked, because a lot of their conversation, naturally, was about past events and other members, etc., etc. But the conversation drifted from topic to topic (cars, work, computers), and I offered up a quip from time to time.

I also talked with a guy, C., who asked me if I knew what happens at play parties, what to expect, that I knew I didn’t have to participate, etc. And then we talked about the scene in general, how long he’s been involved, what it’s like to be new, the benefits/safety of being part of a group, stuff like that.

So, yeah. It turned out pretty well, I think. Considering my fear of Social Events, I think it went VERY well.

So. My first BDSM group meeting. I survived, I didn’t flee in the middle of the meeting, and I even interacted with people. Going in, two things made me a little less stressed. (1) They had a small newbie meeting *before* the general meeting, just to provide important general info, etc. (2) They don’t publicize the location of meetings, so — if you’re new — you have to e-mail them to find out where it is. And, I suppose, so they can screen out the creepy scary folk. So I dutifully e-mailed, and the woman who e-mailed me back was very warm and friendly and reiterated that I was definitely welcome.

So that was a little better than just going in completely unprepared. People were friendly, in that they said Hi and smiled at me even though I was edging away and probably had a deer-in-the-headlights look on my face. (Since the meeting was in a public location everyone was in regular old Sunday-afternoon vanilla clothes.)

The topic of the main meeting was Intro to Dominance and Submission, and it was basically a discussion-type format. A few people were a panel of sorts, to talk about their experience with D/s — a single guy who just charmed the hell out of me with his grammar-geekery (he talked about not using “dominant” and “submissive” as nouns, when they’re really adjectives, and how that was actually significant to him b/c no one is 100% dominant or submissive, etc.), and a couple who have been in a 24/7 lifestyle D/s relationship for 5 years.

Let me say this — I totally understand that different things work for different people, in different relationships. I get that. But, for *me*, the 24/7 D/s scenario pinged every single feminist flag I have. Or maybe they weren’t even feminist flags — they could just be My Own Particular Issues. Either way, that 24/7 relationship wouldn’t work for me. I couldn’t live like that. And it’s not an issue of the sub being in bondage gear all day long, because that’s not their thing. It’s totally the mental, non-sex part of the relationship that I couldn’t cope with. The dom makes all the decisions, gives his wife a list of things she must get done during the day while he’s at work (housework, organizing meetings, etc.), she cooks dinner every night, she serves him dinner and doesn’t start eating until he starts — things like that.

I understand that it works for some people, and that for some submissives, that kind of devoted service is their thing. But so so SO not mine.

It’s interesting — I’m already learning things about myself, just from this one meeting. Like my inclination is more strictly limited to what happens during sex (and I define “sex” pretty broadly), rather than how I interact with my theoretical partner in non-sex-related areas.

I even asked a question of the panel, and didn’t stammer or get all babble-y, which I can really do when I get nervous. I was all calm and coherent. After the meeting, when the woman who ran the newbie meeting came over, she said “It seems like the panel didn’t answer your question fully,” which they didn’t, because they got off on a tangent, and so she told me that if I wanted to discuss it further, I could call or e-mail her. Very nice.

So. It was good. Not as scary as I feared. I’ll be back.

For as long as I can remember having sexual feelings (and probably before that, actually), I’ve also been BDSM-inclined.

In truth, the “also” in the previous sentence doesn’t make sense to me. There’s no “also.” It’s as much a part of my sexuality as being (mostly) hetero. It’s not an add-on, as if one day I’m not kinky and the next day I am — it doesn’t work that way for me. I just….am kinky. That doesn’t mean that all my sexual activity is (or has been) BDSM-related. Far from it. But it IS an integral part of my sexuality, inasmuch as “sexuality” is something different from genitals, having nothing to do with body parts and everything to do with our thoughts and emotions and what we want, sexually, and how we want it.

In any case, this blog isn’t about the Why of my kinkiness; it’s about the What of my kinkiness. And, more importantly, the What Do I Think about my kinkiness.

[Note: there are so many terms that are used to generically mean “BDSM” — S&M, leathersex, bondage, Dominance/submission, power exchange, etc., etc., ad infinitum — that I’m just using the catchall terms “BDSM” and “kinky” to refer to myself. What those terms mean to me, and what they encompass, will — I hope — become clear as this blog develops.]

I’m in my 30s, and I’ve known I was kinky for at least 20 years. But it wasn’t until this year that I became actively involved in the BDSM lifestyle. Now, that doesn’t mean I’ve converted my house into a dungeon, and it doesn’t mean that I now dress exclusively in leather, PVC, and/or chains. “Lifestyle,” in this usage, just means “Hey, this is what I’m into, and I like to get together with other people who are into it also, and talk about it, and maybe actually do it, too.”

So I joined a local BDSM group in February. I had actually found the group’s Web site probably 2 or 3 years ago, but just couldn’t work up the courage to check it out. When I finally did join the group this year, I really really REALLY wanted to — but I was also scared out of my mind. Not because I was worried I’d be walking into a group full of people in leather, cracking whips menacingly at me; but because it was, quite honestly, a coming-out experience for me.

I don’t know what it’s like to be gay and come out to family and friends. And in this case, I certainly DIDN’T come out as kinky to family or friends; I just….went to a BDSM group meeting. And yet, it was a public statement that yes, I dig this kinky shit. It doesn’t matter that the “public” was a small group of people I didn’t yet know who were also inclined the same way — it was more people than just me knowing that I was kinky, and THAT was “public” enough to me. And it felt like a coming-out.

But I survived that first meeting, and stuck around.