What advice would you give someone who is wanting to explore kink for the first time?
There’s so much advice I would give.
Interestingly, I am right now working on a project here in Philadelphia that we are calling the Philly Kink Community Project where we are working at creating some kind of suggested guidelines and rules and procedures for the different kink events here in the area to adopt as well as creating a series of onboarding classes for folks who are new to kink and want start going to events so that they can learn a lot about what kink is, how to do it well, how to avoid the kinds of mistakes and issues that a lot of people run into when they first start doing kink.
And I have volunteered to really kind of spearhead the onboarding classes and development of that curriculum.
So, super at my alley.
The first piece of advice I would give someone who wants to explore kink for the first time is to go a lot slower than you think you need to.
There is so much more time than you think there is.
And a lot of people when they are new to kink, they kind of go on like a feeding frenzy where they try to do all the kink things all at once immediately and they try to go like deep, deep, deep into the deep end right away.
And I get it like especially if you’ve been thinking you might be kinky for a while and you’re just now starting to get to explore it.
It’s really tempting to do like all of the things that you’ve been dreaming of forever all at one.
However, the problem is, a lot of moving through kink in a way that is fun and hot and also safe and practical is that we don’t necessarily always know what’s going to work for us.
We don’t always necessarily know what’s going to be really challenging for us or sometimes dramatic for us.
And as with any community, it can take some time to get to know like how that community functions and also, what you can look for for people in that community who are going to treat you well versus those who are going to treat you poorly.
The way that a lot of mainstream kink depictions work is they depict something that is actually a abuse but they call it kink and they don’t necessarily give people good ideas of like how good kink happens.
Let’s take an example a lot of us know.
The movie, the Secretary, with Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Spader is an awesome movie.
It is very hot.
It’s a lot of fun to watch.
Is it a good depiction of kink?
Like kind of but also very much no, because there’s no actual negotiation that happens.
They never talk about things like safe words.
They don’t talk about what people want or don’t want.
They just kind of dive into doing shit and luckily it works out OK.
But there’s no real exploration of like they don’t ever have a conversation about what they are doing.
He just kind of starts spanking her and doing weird stuff and she enjoys it but there’s no actual talking about it until long after they’ve been doing this, which is not a good example.
Fifty Shades of Grey, even worse example.
Got tons of things like stalking and controlling behaviors, not great.
So when we look at how most people learn about kink or start thinking about kink, it is from these examples that have very poor depictions of things like negotiation or consent or how people exercise their boundaries or use safe words or like how to get into things slowly versus just doing things really fast.
What this means is that for most folks, if you are new to the kink scene, you may not know yet how to effectively negotiate a scene in a way that will make sure that you are taking care of yourself and the people that you are playing with.
And so, I think that it is really important to go slowly so you can figure out like how do people talk about things in this community?
How do we negotiate things?
What are green flags for people to play with?
What are red flags?
What should I be watching out for?
How do I know when someone is agreeing to do something with me that they should not be agreeing to do?
They are agreeing to take me super, super deep in this thing I’ve never done before that they are also new to?
And analogy I’ll use sometimes when I’m talking to clients about this, I used to be a skydiver.
I lived like a million lives.
And back when I was a skydiver, if you are a new skydiver and you go on a group jump with a bunch of other new skydivers, they call that a zoo jump because it’s going to be like a bunch of monkeys at the zoo throwing shit at the walls.
It’s going to have a great plan to start with and then it is going to go straight to chaos and be a complete disaster, right?
Because there is not enough knowledge accumulated in that group for there to be a good jump that happens as a group.
When newer jumpers are learning how to do group formations, they are encouraged to jump with more experienced folks who can help them figure it out and work through it.
The same thing stands in kink and there are some predatory folks who predominantly play with people who are newer to the scene because those people don’t know what bad things are.
In order to become a skydiver, in order to do your first your jump under your own canopy, you do hours of education before you’re ever allowed to jump out of the plane without somebody literally attached to you.
And even then, your first half a dozen, 8 jumps, you have somebody holding on to you physically until you throw your canopy to make sure that you are going to be OK.
In the kink scene, people can show up to a party and get mummified the same night with having never had any experience.
That is a pro.
It is also a huge con.
So if you are new to kink, go really slow.
If you can find a mentorship or education program whether it’s a community in your area that does some kind of like on-ramp courses or get-to-know kink courses or whether it’s finding a Society of Janus branch that’s near you or that’s doing classes online, Society of Janus does great intro to kink classes, finding a leather house near you that does intro to kink stuff, asking around about like who are the trustworthy folks.
Do some volunteering.
Don’t play at your first couple parties, right?
Take it really slow because it is so, so easy to get into spaces that are damaging in kink if you don’t know what to ask for, what to say, how to set up your boundaries.
And that’s for both tops and bottoms, it can be so hard to do well if you don’t know what you are doing, if you haven’t gotten the education and the experience that you need in order to be able to ask the right questions and negotiate the right points to get through a scene in a way that’s going to feel good.
Another thing I would recommend for someone who wants to explore kink for the first time is like take some time to just remind yourself that stuff that is hot in your brain or in books or movies or porn may not be stuff that is actually hot for you once you start doing it.
And that doesn’t mean anything good or bad about you.
It just means that the stuff that gets our brain horny in the abstract does not always translate one to one to what gets our bodies actually horny and engaged in the real world.
Sometimes there is stuff that is super hot to think about but once we start doing it, it just doesn’t work.
It doesn’t feel right.
Sometimes it’s a day by day thing.
So like let yourself have some space to explore without feeling like you have to know right away what you are into, without feeling like if you thought you were into something and you are not, somehow you are doing it wrong.
That’s not – the only way to do kink wrong is to not use your safe word if you need to, it’s to not negotiate fully, is to not be aware of your own limits, not communicate those limits.
Like those are the ways to do kink wrong.
Figuring out you’re not into something doesn’t mean you are doing kink wrong.
It means that you are learning new things about yourself.
Also, if you are new to kink and exploring it for the first time, it’s not a contest.
There’s no – going harder is not better.
There’s a bunch of folks who come into kink who are of this opinion that like if we are playing on a scale of 0 to 10, my goal is to get everybody to 10.
And that’s a terrible fucking plan because if the only way you know how to play is going as hard as possible, you don’t actually know how to play.
That’s not – that’s a very intermediate idea of what it is to be skilled or experienced or good at something.
People who are actually more advanced at things, know how to play just as well at a like 2 to 3 out of 10 as they do out of 7 or 8 out of 10.
And people who are relatively well-boundaried and experienced are generally not doing scenes above like a 7 out of 10 with people they don’t know super well because it is so easy for stuff to go wrong.
You don’t ever have to do a kink scene that goes an intensity up to a 10 ever in your whole life.
You can hang out at a 5 out of 10 your whole life and that can still be an amazing kink life for you.
Like harder is not better.
More intense is not better.
Don’t try to do the most intense activities all the time like just because people do knife play and needles doesn’t mean you need to.
Just because someone is doing like full mummification doesn’t mean you have to.
You don’t ever have to do a hook pole suspension, which content warning for like body piercing, blood, skin, body things, a hook pole suspension for those who don’t know is where you take metal hooks, you put them into your skin and you are lifted off of the ground by those being lifted.
So you are not tied.
It’s just like the elasticity and tension of your skin that allows you to be suspended.
I have never done that.
I’ve been doing kink for 18-ish years and I have never done a hook pole.
I probably will never do a hook pole.
It does not appeal to me.
I don’t need to.
So like just because you see people doing some really intense weird shit doesn’t mean you ever, ever have to do it.
If what you want to do is tickle scenes for the rest of your life, that’s great.
If you just want someone to like blindfold you and use like different textures on you, that is a valid kink life.
So like more intense is not better.
More challenging is not better.
You don’t have to swing for the fences.
You can just have fun doing things at lower intensity levels, things with lower levels of risk.
There is nothing with that. Give yourself a space to explore a lot of different kinds of kink, a lot of different ways of doing kink.
Finally, if you want to explore kink for the first time, the reality is, any community of people is going to have some shitty people in it.
There is no community that is free of assholes.
There is no community that is free of people who use abusive dynamics and techniques.
There is no community that is free of people who are harmful.
That is just life.
And so, when you are in kink, it is very easy for someone to convince you or to tell you that things that are actually harmful dynamics are what kink is.
If anyone is ever trying to tell you like what’s the one true way of kink is, they’re wrong because there’s no one true way.
The reality is, sometimes people are doing harmful shit and they are using kink as a cover for it.
Sometimes people are just inexperienced and they don’t know what they are doing and they are creating harm because of it and like peeling those two apart can be really challenging.
And so when you are new, this is not to say that everybody in kink is a predator and it’s full of sharks in the water, it is to say, be aware.
There is – kinksters often talk about how like abuse is not kink.
But I think that some people want to like pull a no true Scotsman fallacy on that.
The reality is, abuse happens in kink the same way that abuse happens anywhere.
Rape happens in kink the same way rape happens anywhere.
These things are not problems that the scene is immune to just because in general, folks are better at negotiation.
So just be aware like take care of yourself.
If something feels off or wrong or bad to you, you don’t have to do it.
If someone is asking you to do something that you do not want to do, you get to say no, no matter what your role is, no matter whether they say that means you are not a real kinkster.
You get to say no, no matter what.
We are playing cops and robbers for grown-ups with our pants off here.
You’re not an actual real-life slave, so like if you don’t want to do it, you get to say no.
If anyone ever tried to tell you you don’t get to say no, that’s a person you should not be playing with.
We got a good comment. “You can be more intentional when you choose that intense – what that intensity is when there is a pressure to always perform.”
This is so true and I’m so glad that you said this.
I think especially folks who are newer to kink or folks who are like more well-known in kink can feel a lot of this pressure to perform that like, “People are watching and so I have to do like a big thing and it has to be like hugely intense and powerful.”
Even if people are watching you, like you shouldn’t be playing for them.
Playing for an audience is something you can do if you are doing a show but if you are just playing to have a scene, unless involving the audience is part of your scene, the audience and what they are thinking of it and whether they like it should not be a consideration for you because you are not playing for them.
You are playing for you.
This is not to say that like you go do race play at a regular party, right?
You have to be mindful of whether you are going to be harming others with the play that you do.
But you’re not there for them.
You are there for you.
And so, don’t perform kink.
Kink should be something that you do the way that you – like if you really enjoy doing an intense workout because you like doing an intense workout.
It’s the same play that at a gym, we often feel this like need to go harder, faster because other people are watching us.
That’s not – listen to your own body.
Listen to your own self.
Listen to your own connection with the person or people you are playing with and play there.
Make your choices about intensity.
When I’m playing with someone who I’ve never played with before, I generally try to aim to play at around like 5 or 6 at most.
Sometimes if they are very experienced person who has done that kind of play a lot, I might play up to like a 7 or 8.
But for the most part, if we don’t have a fairly established relationship, we don’t know each other pretty well, I’m not playing above like a 5 or 6 out of 10 no matter how hard you want me to go because I don’t know you yet.
I don’t know how I am with you yet.
It takes time.
And I want us to be able to choose that intensity rather than having that be the assumption we are going to have every single time.
So lots of tips if you’re new to kink.
I’m sure I missed a ton of stuff. If you want to know more about doing kink especially if you are newer to kink, some books I would recommend, I think you can find all of these in the resources list on my website.
One of them or two of them are The New Topping Book and The New Bottoming Book by Janet Hardy and Dossie Easton.
The books are very, very similar, just one is written towards people who want to top, one is written towards people who like to bottom.
And they go over a lot of – it’s a lot less like here’s how to flag, here’s how to tie, and a lot more how do you negotiate, how do you take care of yourself, how do you take care of your brain, those kinds of things.
Also, Playing Well With Others by Mollena Haas and Lee Harrington.
There is The Art of Dominance – The Heart of Dominance that is also an excellent book.
There’s a lot of great resources out there, a lot of great people to like watch and pay attention to.
Again, Society of Janus is an excellent resource.
They do great trainings for people who are new to kink that talk about different kinds of kinks as well as how to do things like negotiation.
Really, really great stuff.