Looking for info on how to venture into San Francisco BDSM community
July 20, 2010 7:37 PM   Subscribe

I am a woman in my mid-20's who has had some kink experience in a previous relationship but now wants to explore it a little on my own. I am moving to SF soon so now is as good a time as any to try. I am both fascinated by and intimidated by it all, and would like to know some general information, advice, and suggestions on directions I could try to check things out slowly and discretely.

I checked the AskMeta archives and while I found many offhand references to the BDSM scenes in SF, there was very little specific information on how one gets there, which is why I have spawned this new question.

If you would like more understanding of who I am, this post http://ask.metafilter.com/103579/Wisdom-for-the-brokenhearted-novice-sub was frighteningly close to home. Reading it made me start to cry. Whether or not it is a good idea for me to get back on the proverbial horse (lol) is certainly up for debate, but I feel it is important to my personal growth if I at least try and challenge myself.

I tried posting on craigslist looking for general information and got no replies, so I thought I would put it out here to the higher caliber hive mind. If you would like to reach me directly, an anonymous email I have enabled is corvdt47 at gmail dot com.

I pre-thank you for your comments and your help.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (12 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
1. Go slowly. Be patient. Cannot stress this enough. Many submissives, upon first encountering the lifestyle, want to dive in head-first. Absent a supportive environment, this sometimes does not end well.

2. Make friends in the kink community. Go to a few events. Most major cities have what are called munches, which are simply meet-ups for meals somewhere public. New people are always welcome. They're casual, safe, friendly environments. If you're looking for under-35 groups, Google "TNG" or "Portal" and your local city.

3. Join Fetlife. It's like Facebook for kinky people, and it's indispensable for networking and learning about events. And, oh look, Metafilter has a Fetlife group!

3. Once you get to know some people, and learn who among the crowd is experienced and trustworthy, consider finding a mentor. Not a male Dominant. We're not all predatory, but really, some of us are.
posted by dephlogisticated at 8:01 PM on July 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


And when communicating with other kinksters, always remember to number your lists correctly. Failing to do so is a common mistake that often leads to embarrassment.
posted by dephlogisticated at 8:04 PM on July 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Yes, come join the MeFites on fetlife. It's far from perfect, but it is definitely kink-friendly and there are plenty of people there who are warm, friendly, and helpful. There are plenty of location-based groups, and lots of links to get-togethers, munches, and more.

consider finding a mentor. Not a male Dominant. We're not all predatory, but really, some of us are.

This. Hell, just connecting with a (non-predatory) friend for company when you go to a meet can be good for the soul.
posted by Forktine at 8:20 PM on July 20, 2010


You're in luck. SF has a vibrant, friendly kink community. There are constant classes, parties, events, tutorials, munches... Just go to the next twentysomething-centric party at The Citadel and hang around. Volunteer at the door. Talk to people. Focus on orienting yourself within that universe, and delightful naughty things will quickly flower as a natural consequence of your patient presence.
posted by 17564 at 8:33 PM on July 20, 2010


For some reading, to get comfortable before meeting lots of people, try Mistress Matisse. She talks a lot about being poly and into BDSM, occasionally about being a dominatrix.
posted by Margalo Epps at 8:49 PM on July 20, 2010


These two sites may help...

kinky salon
openly
posted by buckaroo_benzai at 9:55 PM on July 20, 2010


I don't know SF in particular, but I imagine it has some local sex positive center(s). (The Citadel that 17564 recommends above may be one of those places!)

In my experience, many events at these places are very female- and newbie-friendly. You can meet people at classes, discussion groups, and dinners, or go right for the more exciting stuff. It seems a little scary at first, but it's very welcoming and a safe way to meet people in that community.
posted by jess at 10:45 PM on July 20, 2010


Yes, come to Fetlife! I'm the mod of the metafilter group there and would be happy to answer any questions you have about fetlife, or kink, or full-time D/s relationships, or polyamory, or pie, or anything else.

It seems like they might fit your interests, but don't believe too much of you read in the groups. They can be whack as hell.

The BEST part of fetlife is the events listings. Easy to find events, and then easy to find people you've met in real life to stay in touch.

In terms of general scene advice, I would just say to make a few friends before you try dating so you can get a feel of who's who, don't pick any one particular clique before you take the time to get oriented. Don't let anyone isolate you or tell you that everyone sucks so you should just hang with them. In terms of picking safe partners, a good reputation is okay, but it's even better to hear it from people who have actually been there, done that. I know a few tops who have good reputations among other tops but if you ask people they've actually played with, a different story emerges.

It's good to have a few people whom you have a comfortable, non-sexual, kink friendly relationship with to go to for advice or just hang out without having to hide that aspect of your life. Consider hanging out with both members of a respectful and sane long-term D/s couple. I think it's a great way to learn about real-life, non-porn relationship dynamics.

Monogamy isn't the default like it is in vanilla space. Communicate what you expect, what is okay for a partner to do with other people, and what is not. You can't assume monogamy unless you talk about it! I think dipping your toe into non-monogamy is worthwhile, but listen to your gut and your heart. Don't accept a non-monogamous relationship because you're submissive and that's just how it goes.

If you are interested in non-monogamy, Opening Up is a kink-friendly excellent source for information.

Don't feel the need to identify as one thing or another. Switching is fine. So is changing your mind and experimenting. You don't HAVE to be a submissive and that's it, or a dominant and that's it. Be free! Enjoy what you enjoy with no apologies. (I find that dominants are more susceptible to this kind of pressure, and I know so many who switch secretly! Whatever lifts their luggage, I guess.)

All of these are from my experience with a limited set of the NYC scene. I'm mostly friends with spankos and male submissives. So take all my advice with a grain of salt. I'm curious to hear about the culture of SF.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 11:17 PM on July 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


In addition to the Citadel, Bondage-A-Go-Go has a large BDSM contingent [with lots of Citadel overlap], arguably a little less intimidating since its still more of a dance club.
posted by wildcrdj at 1:13 AM on July 21, 2010


Society of Janus was very very helpful to me when I started out. (That was a long time ago, can more recent SoJ members comment?) They have a monthly coffee for newbies and their acculturation emphasizes things that you might not have picked up on your own - like your rights and how to play safely. They have a calendar that's been pretty group-agnostic over the years.

Even if SoJ is not ultimately to your taste, getting in touch with a couple of groups to start building your community is smart (as stated multiple times upthread). If you don't happen to click with one it is all right. There are lots.
posted by jet_silver at 5:50 AM on July 21, 2010


Fetlife is a pretty indispensable resource at this point. There are people at every level of kink on that site, from borderline vanilla, to extreme and in your face. I have made many friends there that I go to kink events with, and it seems like a bottomless resource of kink info.

Be aware that it can be very clique-y, that there is a scene, and that you can choose to be a part of it or not. Don't let it overwhelm you.

I've found that for me, personally, the doms that I tend to connect with on Fetlife are the ones that are not part of the scene. I have yet to meet someone at one of the events (I'm in NYC) that I want to have a more intimate experience with, whereas I've made a few connections though PMing on the site itself that have worked out very well.
posted by newpotato at 6:57 AM on July 21, 2010


A couple of other standard sources of sex/kink info for San Francisco are Good Vibes and SFSI. Good Vibes has classes and events, and the good folks at SFSI can answer all of your questions. I haven't been to any Citadel classes but they have a good reputation, and check out their Bent party for younger folks.
posted by gingerbeer at 9:08 PM on July 21, 2010


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