Archive for May, 2011

May 27th, 2011

So You Think You’re Kinky?

It doesn’t matter where that feeling has come from but you have an urge to do something more about the longing to be tied up, spank people or whatever little kinky ideas have sprung up in your mind. This feature will give you some hints and tips on how to start out, where to find more information and what’s out there on the ‘scene’ for you.

It all begins somewhere. Maybe you remember tying up your teddy bears or liking being ordered around. Maybe you watched ‘Secretary’ and fancied being spanked (or spanking someone). Or maybe you’ve seen people playing at Antichrist and want to know more about it all. In my case, I’ve always been a little kinky and probably can’t place what it was that had me curious, apart from my persistent obsession with ‘Allo ‘Allo! In any case, it doesn’t really matter what triggered that interest, what’s more important is what you do with it.

A lot of people are kinky, whether it be because they like to play dress up, role play in the bedroom, enjoy using implements of torture, or all three!  For some people, it’s a big part of their lives, myself being one of them.  My interest in kink has led me to new friends, new places to go out and a wonderful girlfriend.  Other people keep it in the bedroom, and there’s nothing wrong with that either.  I’m going to cover things in this article that are both for those who want to get out there and become part of the ‘scene’ and also some pointers that will help you if you want to keep things a little more private.

First things first: some very basic terminology.  Hopefully, there will be future articles covering more of this kind of thing and in more depth but there’s a few things you may want to think about as you’re first starting out.

Top, bottom or switch? – this is a huge consideration and there’s no right answer.  In general terms, a top is the person who is in control, the giver.  There are some other words we use to describe tops such as dominant, dom, domme, master, mistress (the liste goes on).  A bottom is on the receiving end and can also be known as a sub, submissive, slave etc.  A switch is someone who both tops and bottoms, although not always doing both with the same person or all the time.  I describe myself as a switch as I enjoy both giving and receiving but I’m mainly a bottom at the moment, just because of how things have worked out with the people I’m playing with.  You may not know where you fit in to this right now, or you may start out as one thing and actually realise you lean more towards the other side of things.  Whatever your leanings, there is still plenty to learn about.

BDSM – what does it all mean?  There are several variations on this abbreviation but they tend to all be getting at the same idea and most people use the term relatively interchangeably with kink.  For me, it refers to bondage, domination, sado-masochism.  There are lots of different areas and dynamics to explore and there’s no right or wrong thing to be interested in, as long as it’s consensual with everyone involved.  There are people who live 24/7 dom/sub relationships, those that like practising intricate bondage, some that see themselves more as a sadist or a masochist and lots of other variations in between.  The options are wide and varying.

So, you’ve got some ideas forming in your mind. What do you do next?  I think it’s a good idea to go out there and find out some more information about what you’re interested in.  There are some great resources out there and they can often be a spring board for your mind.  There are some excellent books available and some great websites (I’ve suggested a few in a resources section at the end of the article). There’s also the possibility of getting out there and meeting some real people.  I’ll go into this further in a minute, but I just want to say that you don’t have to be out on the ‘scene’ to be kinky.  If you’re happy to play with your partner in the bedroom and take it no further, that’s great.  You still need to think about what you’re doing and whether you’re doing it safely and consensually.  Read some books, visit some websites, communicate with your partner and take care.  Negotiation and discussion are important parts of being kinky, not just the act of whatever you might enjoy.  Everyone has limits and boundaries and you need to talk about what and where they lie.  It’s worth taking things slowly at first and building up whatever style of play you have.  Your partner may not be new to kink and could be able to teach you a thing or two or you might both be new to this, but definitely take the time to find out things for yourself and don’t feel you have to rush into the deep end.

If you want to get out there and meet people, there are so many different types of events to consider.  Depending on where you live, you may have to travel a little to find something you want to go to, but generally, if you live near/in a relatively big city, there will be at least some kind of fetish/kink event where you can meet people.  I’m not going to try to list actual events here, there are plenty of websites that have calendars on them, but I will try to give an overview of the different types, my personal experience with them and what I feel they offer.

One of the least scary options is going to a munch.  These are usually set in bars/pubs/cafes, with the group recognisable by the A-Z on the table and you can just wear your normal everyday clothes and get to meet people in an easy going, safe environment.  In Manchester alone, there is at least one munch a week with a different range of people going to each one and I know the same is true of many cities.  Generally, there is the ability to contact one of the organisers and meet up with them early if you’re a little bit shy or nervous.  I was lucky and found a group I clicked with straight away but, even if you go to one munch and don’t enjoy it, possibly give others a try as it might just have something to do with the mix of people rather than a dislike of munches all together.  In my experience, people go to munches to meet like-minded people and have a gossip and chat.  People are normally very welcoming of others new to the ‘scene’ so you have little to worry about.  I don’t recommended going to a munch solely to look for play partners, but that’s not to say you won’t click with someone there (I met my girlfriend at my very first munch!).  Munches are a good place to talk to people about kink, although remember to be polite at all times.  Saying to someone “why the hell do you do that, that’s disgusting!” will not generally go down well.

Most cities also hold fetish nights at clubs and play parties.  I’ve already written a guide to your first night out and recommend you read it if you are interested in this aspect of the scene.  They can be a good place to get ideas of what kind of things you want to do, but maybe not the best place to chat to someone in depth.  You will often realise who’s been on the ‘scene’ for a while and who’s respected within it and this can be quite useful to know as these are often the people who you can gain the most from watching and interacting with.

Some areas have kinky or kink friendly community or support groups, usually for a certain subgroup within the ‘scene’ such as LGBT groups.  These often hold meetings that have a bit more direction than munches such as discussion nights or workshops and also often organise other events for the community such as conferences.  My personal favourite group is SMDykes in Manchester who, as well as holding monthly meetings, organise the only women’s conference in the country where they hold workshops and play events, as well as a kinky auction.

Other places to meet kink friendly people are fetish fairs such as the London Fetish Fair or Birmingham Bizarre Bazaar.  Here you will get the chance to see and buy toys as well as meet others, possibly see demonstrations and there’s often a play event at the end of the day.  I went to events like this early on in my kinky ‘career’ and I remember how daunting the variety of toys and equipment was, but everyone was so friendly I soon got over my initial nerves.  Stall holders are quite often more than happy to show you different pieces of equipment and how things work and there’s never any harm in asking questions, as long as you remember to do so politely.  Even if you go just to look around and soak up the atmosphere, you may go home with ideas of things you can use that aren’t the expensive toys.  Often referred to as ‘pervertables’, people will use household implements in place of costly ‘real’ toys.  For example, a wooden spoon makes a perfectly good spanking implement and cheap pegs are just as good as ones designed especially for use on the body.  Kinky doesn’t have to mean expensive.

If you find social situations hard, there are always online communities giving you the chance to interact with people.  There are some that are especially geared for the kink community, both UK and international and there are places like The Alternative Community where there is a range of people, including those who enjoy kink.  I have some tips for these sites that may help you get the most from them without annoying your fellow users:

         If you have the ability to do so, fill in a profile as fully as you can.  This information is really useful to have up there, as long as you’re honest.  People want to know a little about you.  You’ll probably also have the ability to put up a profile picture.  You don’t have to have one that’s very personal to you but it’s nice to have something.

         If you contact people directly through chat or private messages, be polite and respectful.  Read their profile carefully and make it clear what you’re intentions are.  I get a lot of messages off random men who I’ve never met who have clearly never read my profile; it’s maddening and I often won’t reply at all.

         Use your common sense when taking advice from others.  There will probably be some kind of open forum/group discussion threads and anyone can be posting; you have no idea about the credibility of their information.

         If you’re posting questions, try to be as clear as possible and hopefully you will gain some helpful responses.

         If you’re using the site to meet people as potential partners, always use common sense about meeting strangers and let someone know where you are going.  You don’t want to get yourself into trouble.

Once you’re meeting people within the community, you may find yourself in a position to gain a mentor.  This can be quite a wonderful thing to have as you will learn from someone who has a lot of experience but, again, be a little weary and ask around to find out the person’s credibility.  You don’t want to be learning from someone who people deem as unsafe.

I could go on for a while about all of this, but there is really no right way to be kinky (although there are some wrong ones).  This is definitely not a complete article on everything to do with the ‘scene’ and is meant to be seen as a starting point for you and your journey into the world of kink!

Resources:

This is by no means an exhaustive list but some of my personal recommendations.  There are plenty more suggestions out there for books to read and places to visit

Books:

The New Topping Book – http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/1890159360/1183

The New Bottoming Book – http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/1890159352/1183

SM 101: A Realistic Introduction – http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0963976389/1183

How to be Kinky: A Beginner’s Guide to BDSM – http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/1931160635/1183

Websites:

The Alternative Community – http://www.thealternativecommunity.com

Informed Consent – http://www.informedconsent.co.uk

Fetlife – http://www.fetlife.com

Kink Academy – http://refer.ccbill.com/cgi-bin/clicks.cgi?CA=942299-0000&PA=2240300

Munches, groups and events:

A good list I have found, although not complete: http://www.informedconsent.co.uk/uk/munches/all/

http://www.informedconsent.co.uk/uk/club_events/all/

http://www.munchinfo.co.uk/

http://www.fetishlink.co.uk/

http://www.londonfetishscene.com/

http://www.londonfetishfair.co.uk/

http://www.londonalternativemarket.com/

http://www.brumbazaar.co.uk/

http://smdykes.org.uk/

http://www.backlash-uk.org.uk/

http://www.smgays.org/warning.asp

http://www.unfettered.co.uk/

May 9th, 2011

Fetish Club Virgin – A guide to your first time

I’m writing for a new webzine, called Sin Zine (part of The Alternative Community, by the guys who run Club Antichrist) so I’ll be cross posting my more interesting articles, for your amusement.

Everyone has to start somewhere and there’s always going to be that first venture out to a fetish club. This feature aims to give you some ideas of what to expect, how to behave and what to wear so that your first foray into this exciting world goes as smoothly as possible and you don’t get any nasty surprises.

Going to a fetish club should be a fun experience but it’s ok to be a bit nervous. I’ve been going to fetish nights for quite a while now but even I get nervous going somewhere new. Recently, I’ve started heading out on the Manchester scene and the first few nights I went to had my stomach in a ball of knots for days. There were several reasons for this but one big one is the slight fear of the unknown. It’s hard to know exactly what to expect but I’m here to give some tips to those who are new to the scene, so that beginners can go in prepared.

First things first, do your research and find out as much as you can about the club you’re going to.  You need to know if there’s any kind of rules on who can attend, dress codes, cost and specific house rules.  Most clubs have their own website or Facebook page and you should be able to find out plenty of information from there.  There might also be pictures of previous events to help you get an idea of the atmosphere of the club and what kind of play area they have.  Every club is different so don’t assume that if you’ve been to one, you know all the rules for the others.  Some clubs will be aimed at specific groups within the BDSM community such as gay men, women only, couples only, cross dressers etc and it is important to understand whether you’ll be welcome in these situations.  I know of small events that limit the number of single men allowed to attend so they can try to establish some sense of balance at the event.  Some clubs offer a pre-club meet and greet for those feeling a little nervous and this can be a great way to get to know people too. 

So you’ve chosen your club, know what time it’s on and how to get there, now to choose what to wear!  This is my dilemma every time I go out anyway, so you’re definitely not alone if you can’t decide.  Check out the dress code of where you’re going as your starting point.  Dress codes vary massively, from ones with very strict fetish clothing only to others where anything ‘alternative’ will do.  It’s important to stick to the code though as plenty of places won’t grant you admission if you turn up without making an effort and that’s a sure fire way to spoil your night.  A good place to start is to see if there are any themes for that event.  One of my favourite clubs has a different theme every month and, when advertising, they suggest a huge range of ideas for that theme so they really do make it quite easy.  Generally, though, you won’t have to go out and spend all your money on latex (unless you want to) just to get into the club.  I have to admit that, as a woman, I have it a lot easier for outfit choice than some of the guys out there, especially when most clubs state the ‘no jeans and a t-shirt’ rule.  Generally, this actually means no blue jeans and no trainers but it’s definitely worth checking out photos from previous nights to get some idea of what’s ok.  If you’re still stuck, contact the club directly and ask if what you have planned is ok.  My other tip is to make sure you feel relatively comfortable in what you’re wearing, both physically and mentally.  Give yourself time to think about an outfit and try to avoid the last minute scramble so you don’t get too stressed out about it.  If you’re not happy getting to the venue in your planned outfit then check to see if there’s somewhere you can get changed at the venue.  Lots of clubs are more than happy to let you do this as they do understand that not everyone wants to wander round the city in a latex catsuit!

And you’re in!  Maybe you’ve got friends at the club or there’s people you’ve met through munches but you might be on your own.  Do not be afraid!  People in the fetish scene are, on the whole, friendly and welcoming, as long as you’re polite and respectful.  Sure, there are always some exceptions to this but, in my experience, people are very nice.  Have a wander around the venue and take in the sights.  Grab yourself a drink.  And relax!  Some clubs may have a mini fetish market, others will have several different play areas.  There may be a dance floor, a sex room, a seating area.  Get to know the place and look out for notices regarding house rules.  Usually, there will be your normal security type people at the door but there should also be someone or a few people in charge of the play equipment.  These are often known as dungeon masters and they keep a discrete eye on people playing on the equipment.  They also know what the house rules are, regarding play.  If you don’t know what you’re doing with a piece of equipment or there’s a problem in the dungeon, these are the people to talk to.  Although most clubs have some specific rules regarding behaviour, here is a general guide to etiquette that will stand you in good stead:

  • Be polite – it seems a simple one but people often forget that the other people in the club are human beings and deserve this common courtesy. 
  • If you want to watch a scene, be discrete about it.  Some clubs have a viewing area, others you will have to use your common sense.  If you can do so without interrupting the scene, ask if it’s ok with the people playing.
    • Do not crowd the scene and stand too close
    • Do not join in without permission
    • Do not interrupt the people playing to ask questions
    • Do not touch yourself inappropriately
    • Do not touch someone else without consent

    I wish it wasn’t necessary to point these things out but you’d be surprised what people will do.

    • Don’t approach people just after they seem to have ended a scene.  People need time to readjust to the real world and interruptions at this point are a real no no.  Good players will involve some level of mental and physical aftercare at the end of a scene and outsiders are not helpful during this.
    • If you’re feeling brave enough to play, be respectful of the equipment
    • If you want to play with someone, ask politely and don’t get upset/angry/arsey if someone declines. 
    • If someone asks you to play, don’t feel obliged if you’re not interested and politely say no.  If you do want to, be risk aware and play consensually.
    • It is ok to talk to people, just pick the moment.  If they’re obviously busy, don’t interrupt them. 

    Generally, clubs are a fun place to be and you won’t experience anything too untoward but, unfortunately, it does happen occasionally.  Generally, security and people running the events are wonderfully helpful though if you do have problems.

    Remember, you’re there to have a good time and experience something different and exciting.  You don’t have to dive in head first if you don’t want to but definitely try to enjoy yourself once you get over the nerves.  You may see and hear about some things you’d never dream of or it might all seem a little tame to you but no two clubs are the same and no two nights at the same club are identical.  Personally, it’s all about the atmosphere and being around like-minded individuals.  I like watching others playing, I love seeing what others are wearing and I like the excitement of potential play in public.  The whole night from getting ready to dragging myself home is part of the fun and I tend to look forward to my next night out much more eagerly when it’s going to be to a fetish club.  I choose not to drink too much when I’m out for many reasons, from safety to wanting to remember the night but you know your own limits.  No one likes a drunk person misbehaving and spoiling their own fun. 

    Remember, be prepared and go in with an open mind and, most importantly, have fun!

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