Dating for Kinksters & BDSM

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If you have determined that you are just too alternative, experimental, or kinky for “regular” or vanilla folks, the mind turns to meeting new people. The purpose of this article is to give some helpful pointers in dating within the BDSM and kink social scenes.

I’m going to forgo diving into things like communication, conflict resolution, etc., because that’s something all parties in any kind of relationship need to develop and build skills. It’s also a lot easier to address those areas in separate articles than in a mammoth tome on dating & relationships (kinky or otherwise).

Meeting FolkLimits Unleashed LIfe style counseling

We like people who are much like ourselves.  As such, what better way to meet people than by just doing what you love to do!   For one, going to munches  is a great way to meet people and to be seen in a casual no-pressure environment in a public venue.  If you like clubs and dancing, then go in search of a kinky themed dance or club night. If you like public play, or get turned on by kinky exhibitionism, ask your munch mates about local play parties. Of course, bigger kink events in your region are a great way to attend workshops, meet people, and get to try new things with experienced instructors. Par for the course, dating in the BDSM world is no different than vanilla, you have to get to know people and meet them.

Know Your Kink

All kinks are not the same; and BDSM is so highly personal it varies widely from person to person. It’s important for you to know what YOU like, or at least what you find highly attractive or hot. Of course, the reality may prove different, but you will never know until you try.

What we like can sometimes be harder to figure out than what we don’t like. That’s because our brains are wired for survival, and quickly discerns things we find might be dangerous or undesirable so we spend our time elsewhere. There are also things that may have physical or health related limitations that factor in. This adds up to a series of things that are “off the list” as limits for you.

You don’t have to know every kink, just what attracts you and what you don’t like the idea of OR have limits about. If a date mentions an activity, and you’re not familiar with it, simply ask them to tell you more. It’s a great way to open the door to more sharing and build more connection. Even if you and your date DO know about the same activities, how you understand it or practice it may be different – leave nothing to assumption and explore your understandings to ensure you are on the same page.

Be Honest

I know, it sounds trite, but it’s SO true. You don’t have to be “honest to a fault” – but please do be completely honest about yourself, respectfully so. Be honest about what you are looking for in a relationship, what you like and don’t like, about your limits or restrictions.   Most of us strongly value the principles of BDSM’s Safe, Sane & Consensual: that means that we need to be treated with respect and given full disclosure in order for us to consent.

Yes means Yes; No means No; and “I don’t know” or “I’m not sure” should all be taken at face value. Get clear consent.  No games, no hidden agenda, no setting up a scenario for drama. Be honest about things with a prospective partner and they are more likely to return it in kind. If they don’t, then it’s a statement about their character, not yours.

If the person you’re dating is a good fit – Fantastic – but if not it is far better to know that up front than to drag things out. It’s okay to say “no thank you”, and that shouldn’t be a response you fear to give, or receive.

Like Attracts Like

Probably the most important tip I can probably give is this simple reality: we tend to like and forge longer relationships with people who are like ourselves. Don’t worry about the flush of excitement and passion as the priority, for while it may feel fun, this is typically has no bearing on whether it will last – often quite the opposite. While opposites may attract and induce bigger flames, the more intense the initial fire the faster the typical burn out. That’s because there’s a huge difference between Lust and Love, the former is immediate and chemical, and the latter takes time and depth to develop.

Example – Your date is sexy, makes you laugh, and is smart. Great!   BUT if you are a “fun in the sun” person, and the other is a movie watcher and reader. Long term differences and daily tendencies will add up and slowly come between you, even if you kick off with a strong start and heart all aflutter.

Think about the things you enjoy doing or having in your life, things that matter to you as well as those things you don’t like or downright hate.   Try to match BOTH these areas in a potential mate, because our personalities are combinations of things we derive pleasure from (attractors) as much as those things we don’t enjoy and seek to avoid (detractors). I’m not saying you need to find a 100% perfect match, but rather to be mindful about your daily choices and finding someone that shares the same.

Alignment of daily life choice & personal preferences, helps a relationship move from the short-term (a few weeks or months) to the mid-term duration (a year or two).

Shared Vision

So outside of the daily life choices and preferences, another factor that has a lot of weight in a relationship is your sense of vision or goals in life. Ideally you will want someone to share your dreams with and help you achieve your goals in life, versus raise obstacles.   Similarly, you will want someone to share similar values and principles or beliefs, because it’s those very things that shapes our decision making.

Example – You want to keep things light, live free and open, the mobile bohemian hedonist with open relationships. Your partner wants to build a Leather Household, complete with private home, protocols, full & part-time submissives, etc. These directions are at odds with one another and will force divergence or a significant compromise with significant resistance or regret.

We all have beliefs that are core to our being, values we were raised with, are a part of our geopolitical & economic culture, or which came to be through life experiences. Those combined beliefs and values which are core to our innermost selves are our Principles.   The ones that last the longest in us, and are strongest for us, often cannot be changed or compromised without significant personal cost and the potential for resentment. Building a relationship on such a foundation will erode or come to an explosive end. It’s therefore important that you feel your vision and theirs are shared, working to a common set of goals that agrees with your beliefs and values.

Common goals and principles or values, is what helps a relationship move from the mid-term to the long-term.

Using Caution

BadTime1

Just because you are meeting “like minded” people in the kink and BDSM communities, doesn’t mean everyone is safe to be with. We are all individuals, and each should be judged on their own. That means you need to look after your safety, and take things slower than you’d might like.  It’s no different in any dating experienced today, especially when so many are meeting through websites and dating apps that enables so many to remain fairly anonymous and without a 3rd party source of personal credibility or safety.

Get to know people, ask around about their reputation – yes, even get references. The community is small and problem folk are quickly recognized labeled as such.. Only meet in a common public space for the first few times, and setup a safe-call friend to watch your back when meeting someone. It never hurts to be prepared, and it is better to take precautions and not need them, than to need them and not have them.

I also recommend you avoid acting on any Frenzy by filling up your proverbial “dance card” with kink activities. Being willing to try things is good; but trying anything with anyone is a relatively sure way you are “gonna have a bad time”.  Some are lucky and have had no problems, but how much do you want to rely on Luck looking out for you??   Play with folks you have assessed as safe and responsible.

 

Safety First

Even if you find someone that seems to have a good reputation, you are responsible for your safety. That means taking appropriate measures from infectious disease like STDs. All toys should be thoroughly cleaned. Insertables should be properly wrapped with a condom, or bought for your dedicated use. Rope, since fibrous, should not be shared if used against bare bits.

Also make sure you are properly taking care of your body and skin after play. This may mean additional attention with anti-bacterial soap, healing or anti-scarring ointments such as A&D, gentle massaging of bruises, and lots of hydration. If you have a problem with treating a hard to reach area, call on a trusted friend.

Now this may be difficult, but if you think something may need medical attention, see your doctor.   So many new folks to BDSM and kink are afraid of what the doctor might say. Most I’ve encountered or listened to stories about have been appropriately professional and supportive; sometimes even with a good natured sense of humor. Why?   Because you are NOT the only one, and chances are good they’ve seen it all before.

It also helps if you are upfront and honest with your doctor while in the exam room – flat out state you enjoy kinky activities and you are here seeking professional medical assistance. That usually snaps a physician out of any personal judgement and back into the role as a medical professional. If you get the slightest pushback or attitude, find another physician – it’s a consumer market and you should shop around to find a physician that will treat you with courtesy, competence, and respect.

 

 

Closing

Represent yourself as truthfully as possible, and let your authentic self-shine through. Share your interests and passions, your goals and dreams, and invite the other into your world while watching for them to invite you into theirs. Be honest about your intent, about your likes and dislikes as well as desires and limits. Most of all, use your whole self when you are judging a good fit – heart, mind, body & soul.   While relationships take effort, it shouldn’t be forced or feel like a labor camp. If it’s right, it will BE right. If it’s not right, you will feel it, even if you don’t want to acknowledge it.

 

 

Sir Vice
Copyright 2015, Limits Unleashed, LLC.

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