When people think of bdsm they most commonly imagine leather gimp suits and pain of some kind. BDSM has been closely associated with humiliation, abusers and willing victims, and other not so savory things for a long time. For the most part the BDSM community is invisible. We’ve protected ourselves from these gross associations by keeping part of ourselves secret from even the closest prying eyes but we were drug out into the spotlight when 50 Shades of Grey became so popular. All of a sudden people remembered we were out there but they didn’t know what to make of us. Mostly people were just curious about a subculture they probably didn’t know existed or hadn’t really thought about. This attention has brought some good things and some bad. People are more willing to listen to us and ask us questions with open minds. It has also brought in a lot of new folks anxious to try it out. If you’re one of these people, thank you for taking the time to learn about something we hold very dear.
What most people don’t realize is that there is an entire subculture surrounding bdsm. We even have a symbol, flag, and an awareness ribbon.The high standards of consent, respect, and safety that come with bdsm have created a culture based upon those principles. BDSM events and places have a polite, open atmosphere.
Our world is surprisingly large. We get together to socialize and learn at events called munches. We call them munches because food is almost always involved. A munch is just a casual gathering where we chit chat and meet new people-usually at a restaurant. Play parties are held at private venues (sometimes after a munch) where we have access to larger spaces and furniture most of us can’t keep at our homes. I have never been to a play party but I hope to soon. Lectures and demonstrations are often held as well where we learn how to do things safely. There are even conventions with vendors, public figures, and performances in some major cities.
There is some basic etiquette for these events and gatherings.
- Always ask permission before you touch anything or anyone.
- If you see someone you know outside of the community, be careful not to out them.
- Respect everyone’s aliases. People have to protect their vanilla identities.
- Don’t drink excessively at gatherings and events where it’s allowed.
- Local clubs and groups will have their own set of rules. Follow them. They’re there for a reason.
Social media has made it possible for us to come out of hiding anonymously and you can find a plethora of information and people on Twitter, Facebook, and other outlets. This has helped a great deal with the public’s perception of bdsm. Information and experience is readily available and aggregated, making something secretive and taboo more open and accepted. This also has it’s drawbacks since less open minded people can also disseminate misinformation. Don’t feed the trolls. It isn’t worth it.
The bdsm world is full of amazing people and amazing things. Look around and dip your toes in the water. Check out some social media pages and groups. Make yourself an alternate account so you can freely enjoy getting to know the online community. Get involved with local groups nearby, you can use social media to find them!
Have fun and get to know that other side of yourself better. The world is your kinky oyster.