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How to find lovers who are into bdsm but not in the scene?
March 1, 2010 3:44 PM   Subscribe

BDSMFilter: How can I find non-monogamous kinky lovers out here in the vanilla world? I've gone to munches and classes at TES (a bdsm organization here in NYC) and other bdsm groups, but I never meet people there with whom I can connect on other levels. Is there a trick to finding kinky folk in vanilla settings?

I want to connect with people on other levels before getting into scary painful sexy fun times with them, but I also don't want to get involved dating anyone when I know they're likely to turn out to be too vanilla for me.

I'm sick of settings where people start by saying "My name is so-and-so and I'm a dom," as if that were what I really cared about most when meeting a new person. I'm sure there must be other real people there, like me, but when I've tried talking to people at scene events about anything other than kink, it just hasn't gone anywhere.

I'm not into public play or fetishy clothing, which seem to be big themes in the scene. I just like doing violent scary painful things with people I care about and connect well with, who are interesting human beings on many levels.

Since this is anonymous, answers to questions you're likely to ask include: Yes, no, maybe, bi switch, dating sites suck, and I'd be happy to teach technical skills to inexperienced but passionately interested people.

I've tried regularly flagging (gray and black), but no one ever seems to notice.

Any suggestions or advice?

Throwaway email: metafilterkink at gmail dot com
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (16 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
Are you 100% certain all dating sites suck? My experience has been that Ok Cupid's ability to convey interests and personality makes it a decent option for this kind of thing. Depends who you are, where you are, and who you're looking for maybe? If you have a same-sex interest, my experience and that of some of my friends suggests you'll likely have more luck pursuing that online than opposite-sex relationships.

Have you also tried a change of scene (heh)? You're in a big enough city that there are likely multiple overlapping BDSM/whatever scenes with slightly different types of people involved in each. But you are right that people tend to go to events to see and be seen, it's kind of the point once you have people you're playing with already. By the way, my experience on the east coast was that people are very guarded about talking about their outside lives or interests at events, some view trying to start conversations about anything unrelated as more or less a breach of protocol.

And yeah, flagging is fun, but very few people pick up on it, not helpful when finding fun people is mostly a numbers game.
posted by crabintheocean at 4:47 PM on March 1, 2010


No matter how many quizzes I took, and boxes to the contrary I checked off OK Cupid regularly tried to set me up with the polyamory crowd, men who wanted a kid NOW, and men 30 years my senior.

I don't know where OK Cupid gets it's great reputation but it hasn't lived up to in my case.

In my second-hand-only experience, the SF Bay Area scenes you describe are invitation only, and it's much harder for men to get invited than women, for the usual reasons.

To get invited you usually have to be very attractive, discreet, and reasonable seeming- they don't want people who are going to make other people unsafe or otherwise cause drama. Occasionally you'll get invited from a club- off the street basically, but usually you have to be a regular in some overlapping scene, so that people get to know you.
posted by small_ruminant at 4:56 PM on March 1, 2010


FetLife (the site) doesn't always consist of people in the scene and the setup of the site allows for an awful lot of browsing and contact without revealing too much personal information. Craigslist is a way to meet "pen pals" but be very careful about using email addresses that don't connect your personal information to anything.

I found the best way to meet "vanilla" people would be to start with a simple: "Ever done anything kinky?" You do this while on your normal first date.

There are also a variety of "munches" that don't consist of people in the scene but who want to stay social within the community.
posted by arimathea at 5:18 PM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh - and goth/industrial bars/dj nights have a wide variety of kinky folks, but that may not be your scene. A great many folks I know in this community are very into BDSM but I never see them around at any public events or play spaces.
posted by arimathea at 5:19 PM on March 1, 2010


I've mostly used craigslist and OK Cupid. I simply put my main intrests in life first, but I'm also sure to mention at least in passing that I'm kinky. This method has succesfully attracted people who are genuinely interesting but also share at least a basic interest in kink (working out top/bottom/specific kinks/etc has had to come later for me.)

At times dating sites depress me, but overall I've found them the most efficient way to meet people.
posted by serazin at 5:26 PM on March 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


As these questions pop up (and I'm really glad they do), I continue to be surprised that there isn't a mefi sister site for these sorts of uhm...meetups. Although I've never been to an official meetup, so I guess I can't speak to what happens at the after party or the hotel lobby.

I mean, we have MeFightClub, I'm a little surprised (or maybe I just haven't gotten the invite) there isn't some kind of MeF*ckClub.
posted by TomMelee at 6:15 PM on March 1, 2010


In my second-hand-only experience, the SF Bay Area scenes you describe are invitation only...

Was a comment deleted? I don't see anything about SF Bay scenes. The poster is in NYC.
posted by Evangeline at 7:02 PM on March 1, 2010


Hang out in the off-scene scene. Go to kink education workshops, poly potlucks*, kink film festivals, sexy art shows, lectures by sex writers/bloggers/workers/educators/whatever, etc. Get calendars from the major sex toy stores and kinkster organizations, for starters. (There's also a ton of events listed on FetLife, some of which I rarely see mentioned anywhere else. So it's worthwhile to get an account there even if you have no intention of trying to meet people online.) Once you're in those laid-back sex-positive platonic settings, relax and be your normal sociable self. It's worked out great for me.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 8:27 PM on March 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


Is there a trick to finding kinky folk in vanilla settings?

I believe the words you're looking for are "Renaissance" and "Faire."
posted by desjardins at 9:04 PM on March 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


Message MeFi NYC non-monogamous kinksters? (ahem)
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 9:22 PM on March 1, 2010


Mmmm maybe you are going to the wrong munches and stuff! I've never had that sort of experience. There are 2 munches in my city I go to and one of them is extremely friendly and social, an opportunity to get to know people and talk about mostly non kink stuff. One thing I think helps for me is that I have a few other obsessions (e.g. politics or computers) that I talk about all the time so people know that if they want to talk about one of these topics come talk to me. also another thing that has helped is making some really good friends in the scene so we have ongoing stuff to talk about - one's ongoing house hunting drama, another one's insane and hilarious job, and so on. Nobody talks about their orientation or proclivities really because the goss-network will let you know soon enough and some of us it's realllly obvious anyway, haha ;)

if your munches and such are crap why not start your own? Or whatever. Kinky rock climbing club, kinky knitting club, kinky chess club etc are all things that have happened here.

I think staying within the scene and optimising/tweaking within it as described above is a much better idea than finding vanilla world kinky people because the organised scene has standards. Even if you find a kinky person outside it they are likely to be very idiosyncratic and inflexible about their kink or some other annoying problem.

mefi munch is a great idea.
posted by By The Grace of God at 1:34 AM on March 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm sure there must be other real people there, like me

that is the wrong attitude! We are all real people. Starting from there - 'i am hanging out with my fellow new yorkers' or whatever - is maybe a good perspective.
posted by By The Grace of God at 1:45 AM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm sick of settings where people start by saying "My name is so-and-so and I'm a dom," as if that were what I really cared about most when meeting a new person. I'm sure there must be other real people there, like me, but when I've tried talking to people at scene events about anything other than kink, it just hasn't gone anywhere.

This has not been my experience at all, but I'm in the midwest and maybe it's just different in NYC. Of course you're going to talk about kink at first at a kinky event; that's the only thing you know you have in common. People who aren't out might not want to discuss their work or where they live, so typical small talk may be hard to make. I had to go to a few munches before I found my niche. If someone seems interesting, ask them out for no-strings-attached coffee outside of the munch, and then proceed to talk about normal life stuff.

You come off as having an elitist attitude, like "I'm not one of those fetishists," and people will pick up on this in person. The whole point of having a munch is to be able to socialize without feeling marginalized, so for someone to come there and think "I'm more normal than you" is just off-putting. You might want to re-examine that. I'm as normal and boring as you can get during the week, but I also have plenty of pairs of leather boots, PVC skirts, etc.

There is no magic bullet to find kinky people in vanilla life, or munches and personal ads wouldn't be as popular as they are. Flagging is useless in hetero society; I don't know if it's still active in gay society outside leather bars. There is BDSM jewelry, which will help if someone's already clued into the scene, but then you have the same problem you did before. Dating is a numbers game, whether you're kinky or not, and you just need to keep meeting as many people as you can, while being open and upfront about your proclivities.
posted by desjardins at 7:49 AM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


You should a) Look through the archives of and if an answer is not there b) email Dan Savage at Savage Love this q.
posted by lalochezia at 2:10 PM on March 2, 2010


Did someone say mefi munch? Count me in, please.
posted by newpotato at 2:15 PM on March 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Have you spoken about your kink interests, hinted even, to any of your everyday friends? Once I said "why can't I find a guy who's into _____" my friends were tripping over themselves to introduce me to one of their friends.
posted by Bunglegirl at 2:35 PM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


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