I was scrolling along Fetlife the other day and a thought occurred to me of how awkward it can be for newcomers to make friends or meet someone or even work up the courage.
I mean, that shit is hard enough without the BDSM interests and desire to converse with others in the lifestyle, not to mention the interests in wanting to put yourself out there but finding yourself frozen.
Fetlife can be a great way to get to know others and to get involved in the community but it certainly can be awkward at first, especially if you’re like me and can be incredibly anxious in social situations and so forth. Or just straight up shy.
A good thing to remember is to go at your own pace. You can push yourself in tiny increments but only if you feel comfortable talking in the group settings or going to munches or other such events.
If you feel overwhelmed with it all, do not feel bad or silly or like you can’t ever be kinky. Some have those thoughts – I know I did – but it’s important to recall that we all grow in our own ways at different times.
If you’re ever unsure about what you want or what is proper etiquette when it comes to being spoken to or speaking to someone – there are communities out there that can be helpful. Reddit has a good community for this, with its own BDSM sub-reddit for advice. There are still some small communities across Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr – even post-infinity snap.
Working on or identifying what is making you feel anxious or inferior or weird can help you feel a bit more confident. Tell yourself that what you are thinking and feeling is okay and has certainly been thought of before, by those around you and long before you too. Make a habit of it.
Me? I did it with nude selfies. I felt unattractive (still do at times) and I fought it – and my guilt at liking kink – by putting up nude selfies and experimenting with risky photos of myself. It helped boost my confidence.
Take it from a guy that grew up in a severe, sexually repressed and conservative catholic household and now has the time of his life with rape fantasies. You’re going to feel guilty, weird and insane but don’t let those feelings own you. They will fluctuate and pass. See it as you’re exploring a fantasy within safe parameters.
Keeping a journal can be a productive way of keeping track of your thoughts – or of trapping them to the page where you can digest them and reflect upon them. Writing your thoughts down can lead to truth and clarity. Sometimes it’s good to just write a fantasy, even if you can’t write well, just give it a go and see where you end up. All of this made me feel a bit more peaceful and a bit less chaotic and maybe it’ll help you too.
Maybe Fetlife or other social aspects of the BDSM community isn’t for you and that’s fine. I don’t go to munches or events because it’s not really my thing. People are wired differently.
But if social anxiety or doubt or insecurity is gnawing at you and you want to drop into these things, just remember you can take baby steps to challenge yourself and no one will judge you for it. You are the captain of your own soul.