Do you have an interest in kink but have not explored it with others yet? If you want to find out how to get into the kink community, read this article for some of the tips I give to my clients.
It can be daunting approaching something new for the first time, especially if you are doing it by yourself. Some of the clients I work with want to know how to get into the kink community. They might have been harbouring a secret or otherwise very private interest in kink, which they have explored intellectually via things they have read or erotically via things they have watched.
There usually comes a time when a person in that situation decides to bridge the gap between what is going on in their inner world, and what might happen in the external world with other people.
Common questions I have been asked are along the lines of:
• How do I find out about kink events?
• How do I approach people at kink events?
My top-level advice in response to such queries is to use a metaphor of a funnel. As someone new to the kink community, approaching something so rich and vast, you need to create a funnel through which you pour yourself into a narrower selection of options from the whole array available.
The rest of this article is going to give you some ideas to create your own funnel-effect.
Who are you?
You can’t make a funnel without knowing what you’re pouring in. What ingredients of yourself are going into this kink funnel? In my article Attending a fetish club alone, tip no. 2 is to know yourself in the context of the community you want to explore. For example, I might summarise myself as curious kinkster who does not often want to play at public events, but that I enjoy intellectual discussion about kink with others, witnessing other peoples’ emotional experiences, holding space, dancing and generally having fun with my friends.
I obviously have the benefit of over a decade of personal evolution within the kink community and so it is relatively easy for me to say who I am. If you are new to the kink community, you probably won’t have developed much of an understanding yet of who you might be in that community. From personal experience, I can say that even once you do gain an understanding, this will evolve over time anyway and you might redefine yourself again and again.
That is one of the wonderful things about kink, in my opinion. You have opportunities to constantly learn and discover new things about yourself, to grow and to develop as a person with an ever deeper understanding of the true longings within their heart.
For the sake of this initial funnel though, pick out at least one kink interest, and a few personal characteristics about yourself that you would be willing to share with others to create a snapshot view of you as you currently are.
This snapshot view can be something you keep in mind with a view to connecting with people in the kink community. You could use this information to build an online profile on a membership site like fetlife or joyclub. Sites like these are excellent sources of information about kinks you might be interested in and events you might like to visit. Online spaces like these provide an excellent launch-pad for a newbie exploring the kink community. Having an online presence allows you to compartmentalise your private life from your kink life if you need to do that, and gives you a relatively safe means of connecting to new people and talking about your kink interests.
I highly recommend building an online profile, even if you do not intend to use it much. The exercise of writing about yourself can be an excellent tool to gain insight into yourself and chart your own evolution if you keep coming back to it and making amendments as you evolve. Creating images to share on such a profile can also be a very affirming experience.
This is something I love to help out with, and I work closely with photographers that are connected to the kink community for this purpose. I help with the words and the creative direction, and voila! You end up with a shiny new online presence to launch yourself into the kink community if you wish.
What sort of environments will you be comfortable with?
There are many types of events that you could explore, run by different people at different places. So, it is a good idea to do some research and seek out the kinds of environments that you think you will be most comfortable with.
For example, would you be comfortable with sexual activity happening around you? Some people might find it triggering to be approached for a sexual encounter, or overwhelming to witness groups of people having sex. Whereas other people might be specifically seeking this kind of environment out. Are you happy in large groups of people, or do you prefer more intimate groups? What about how public the setting is? Some events are ticketed to the public whereas others are for private members clubs. Some events might have over 1,000 guests, and others no more than 30.
Deciding on criteria that make an environment comfortable for you will help you to narrow down your options and give you that narrowed down funnel-effect. It also gives you discussion points when involving yourself in online forums. For example, you might post a question online asking if anyone can recommend a small private event suitable for newbies interested in rope. It is likely you will get at least one suggestion. Many events organisers maintain an online presence and advertise their events on sites like fetlife, and sometimes you can click ‘attending’ to show that you intend to be at an event, and see who else will be there. This is gives you an opportunity to reach out to other potential attendees in advance to break the ice and maybe arrange to say hello to each other at the event.
Not all kink community events involve kink play. Some are just socials. Some are educational. Some are more fetish or sex focused. Some are like a nightclub with an option of kink play. Some include cabaret acts as entertainment. Some might be a mixture of all those things. There is a huge amount of variety, which is why it is so important to do your research and take a view on what you might like or not like before you go to an event.
Go online. Ask questions. Find Instagram accounts to follow. Gather your data.
What are your boundaries?
Thinking about what your boundaries are before immersing yourself in a community is important. How much of you are you prepared to share with this world that is new to you? Some people want to maintain more privacy than others.
Kink is a lot more mainstream these days than it was when I started exploring.
Over a decade ago it was much more of a subculture than it seems to be now. Few people used their real names. Many preferred not to say what their jobs were. Sometimes the addresses of locations would not even be given out to guests who had bought tickets – in those circumstances a person would come and meet you on a street corner and walk you to the venue.
Nowadays things are a lot more open, but it is still worth considering what your security levels are and how you will maintain them.
For example, on a first encounter with a new person you might just reveal your first name and fetlife profile if you want to connect further. You do not owe anyone your phone number if you do not want them to have that much access to you. It is ok to take your time getting to know people.
Some newbies already have a spouse or romantic partner/s and have made a consensual decision to explore the kink community for themselves. In those cases, they might have boundaries around physical contact or personal details to maintain agreements with their significant other or others.
Even if you are single and ready to mingle, do you know what your boundaries are around physical contact and sex? How would you use your words and body language to ensure that those are respected? Having a few set pieces of phrases you can use to handle situations that might come up is really helpful (tip no. 3 in Attending a fetish club alone). I’m a firm believer in being prepared.
Being prepared and practicing how you will do and say things makes it much more likely that you will conduct yourself in a calm and assertive manner in new situations, because you will feel more confident going into them.
Now go create your shortlist!
Creating a kink-funnel to pour yourself through creates the narrow channel that makes up a potential shortlist of avenues to explore. Want a short cut? I will give you a few suggestions of events and communities to check out as you begin your research.
What follows are a variety of events ranging from small play parties to large fetish clubs that I have either attended myself, worked at or know the organisers of/am aware of because they have been hosted at Centaur Studios. Please do your research though and make up your own mind.
Little Black Book Party
The Foxden club
Temples of Eros
I also run my own events from time to time at Centaur Studios Hackney and these will be back in 2023 so please keep an eye out for announcements on social media.
Having a shortlist will help you to focus your efforts on how to get into the kink community. All the preparatory work you will have done if you went through the steps I’ve suggested in this article will increase your chances of making meaningful connections with people in the kink community if that is what you desire. You might have other specific objectives and if so hopefully you will spend some time clarifying those with yourself and managing your expectations.
Good luck, explorer!