Maybe you have been digging through bondage porn on the internet. Maybe you've been entertaining intricate sexual fantasies. Maybe the thought of tying someone up and warming their ass with the palm of your hand creeps into your thoughts, a welcome intrusion to the monotony of the day.
Maybe you’ve decided that you’re ready to take those kinky thoughts and make them a reality. How do you get from a computer screen to a kink scene?
In 2008 the kink community changed on a global scale. A website developer named John Baku created a social network website for kinksters called Fetlife. Before that there was a dating site called CollarMe,less fluid and user friendly, and now completely infested with sex bots. Kinksters flocked to Fetlife, which now boasts over 3.2 million members, and 76 thousand kink-themed groups to join.
Six short years later and the social network, which has an interface similar to Facebook, has effectively liberated kinksters and fetishists from the solitude many endured before they realized that there were Others Like Them. It is the way that kinksters connect and find events in their areas.
In a room full of kinksters you will hear repeated variations of “What’s your name on Fet?” “Look me up on Fet!”, “Did you RSVP to the event on Fet?”, “I saw that video on Fet,” all night long. It could seriously be a drinking game. If everyone at a kink event slammed a shot every time they heard “Fet” or “Fetlife” we’d all be fall-down drunk by 10 p.m.
I tell you this because you should consider yourself lucky. It used to be nearly impossible, and arguably more dangerous, to find local kinksters to play with and learn from. Now it's as easy as going to Fetlife and searching the name of your city. Yes, you have to create an account, yes it’s secure, and yes it’s free.
One note of warning - this is not a dating or hookup site. It is intentionally designed to help people find kinksters in your area that you can engage with offline. If you’re trying to use it for a dating site, you’ll be disappointed. It’s purpose is to find kink communities, not dates. Look for groups and events. Troll at your own risk.
So you type in your city, and in the list of local events you see something called a “Munch.” Kinksters love innuendo, but for once “munch” has nothing to do with cunnilingus. A munch is just a bunch of kinksters who get together at a restaurant or private home to eat and talk. It’s like fellowship for kinksters- completely vanilla. A kink-less kink event. This is where you want to start, mainly for everyone’s comfort.
Most people want to see you out at a couple of events in a vanilla setting before they feel comfortable inviting you to an event where there will be kink play. Even if they are open to the public, attending a “play party” without someone to vouch for you, or without an established reputation in another city, is pretty ballsy. You run the risk of having your intentions misunderstood.
I went to my first munch in my new city last weekend. It was small compared to what I’m used to in my hometown, but cozy and friendly - about a dozen people gathered at a Mexican restaurant. Most of them knew each other already, which is common. Also at the table were a domina from New York who excelled at eye rolling, and an old man who thought I was “just his type of submissive” because of hair color and body type. (My turn to eye-roll.) There are always a couple of outliers in the group.
I was (un)fashionably late, and drank my dinner. After an awkward first few minutes, there came the obligatory peppering of questions between the newbies and the established members. Being that I fully intended to squeeze information about the local kink community, interview subjects, and stories to write about, I had a lot of questions. And frankly, I wanted to find an experienced Sadist to play with once in a while myself. This group was easy - a talkative bunch of kinkified lovesluts. I learned about kink safe havens, a playspace out in the woods, secret social media groups, rope masters, and other groups to visit. I even got a lead on a Sadist who has lectured about kink at several universities. (Kinky and geeky, perfect!)
As far as who you’ll meet at a munch, it seems there are some standard tropes. You’ll meet The Organizer - the one everyone depends on to book events, send invitations, and promote the group. You’ll know this person by the haggard look on their face. Buy this person a drink. They need it. You’ll meet a young, confident submissive woman who, with her fingertips on a graduation gown, is overwhelmed with her college studies. You’ll meet the “cuddle-sluts” who hug everyone they meet, and live for puddles of cuddling kinksters. You’ll meet the “switch” guy who will make you feel inadequate about your own feminism. You’ll meet Macho MacDominant who puffs his chest and calls all the girls by cute diminutive names. And yes, you’ll meet a creep or two, but stick around for any length of time and they are soon easy to spot and avoid. For the most part, people are just people, and most of them are good.
For every kinkster that practices in their everyday life, there are half a dozen more living out kinky virtual realities on the internet. Not that there is anything wrong with that. However, they will tell you that the kink you learn about on the internet is The Kink - the same thing that you would experience in reality.
The truth is that it is just not. It is a simulacrum, a faulty reflection. It’s fun, and it’s fine to explore kink online. But kink is all about exploring a wide array of experiences and sensations. You just can’t do that with your fingers on the home keys. Online kinksters are to live kink what Guitar Hero players are to Jimi Hendrix. The only way to really get the most out of kink is to get offline and meet people in the community.
As we left the restaurant, I got the question I hoped for from a brunette with doe-eyes and sharp wit. She mentioned she was looking for a rope model to practice on. “What’s your name on Fet,” she asks as she trailed the rest of the group. She found me there the next day. “Tie me up,” I wrote to her. “You don’t have to ask twice,” she said.
That’s another story. I have a feeling I will have lots of them to share.