They say ignorance is bliss… and I say: bullsh**, it is – not when it comes to being kinky. No matter which side of the play you’re on, or what kind of kink you’re into, there is absolutely NO circumstance under which being ignorant is a good, safe or sane plan – and yet, so many are married to it. Why is that?
I have come across too many people who are so in love with their fantasies about kink, that they sabotage their own success – by refusing to learn about the realities involved in making those fantasies come true. I’ve also come across a lot of people who are only interested in being educated by their play partners – meaning that they have no interest in doing it themselves. Now, I understand that the idea of having someone to learn with, and practice with, sounds like a lot more fun than doing it on your own – but in the world of kink, this is a recipe for failure.
Ignorance is what lead to most of the horror stories I’ve heard over the years. Tales of woe, where submissives (male AND female) have shown me physical scars, and/or told me their stories of the emotional, sexual &/or psychological scarring done to them. When the tales of ‘kink gone wrong’ belong to Dominants/Tops/Sadists, it leads to feelings of monstrosity and self-horror – or sometimes stalkers, accusers, and community ostracization. When the stories belong to Fetishists, they explain the loneliness and humiliation of rejection they have endured. If any of this sounds familiar, or is something that you know from personal experience, then you need to know that your own ignorance has led to you wasting your life on bad kink. And life is too short to be wasted on bad kink.
We’re lucky to live in a free country, and in a city where we have direct access to BDSM education. We have a BDSM or Fetish event every Saturday of the month – and while that might not be as much as some of the real BDSM hot spots of the world, it’s still pretty damned awesome. We have MVK (Metro Vancouver Kink), Rascal’s, Sin City, Noir Fetish Ball, and various other event nights that are put on throughout the month/year by MVK and local kinky individuals. We have plenty of local sex stores that sell BDSM educational materials, as well as erotica – Little Sister’s Bookstore being a political champion in that regard. And in case that wasn’t enough, we even have access to purchase these educational & training materials online, for goodness sake!
So why, when we have so much access to information, do people actively choose to be ignorant? It boggles my mind. I don’t understand it personally, and when I watch people making the same mistakes over and over again, I don’t understand it from their viewpoint either. So if you happen to be out there in the world, or cyberworld, of kink: let me lay some reality on you:
- If you’re a Top (including Dominants, Sadists & Masters/Mistresses/Owners): It’s your JOB to know “everything” about your craft. You’re responsible for the safety of any scene/relationship – and that includes the physical, emotional, psychological & overall well-being of your bottom/submissive/pet/plaything/play partner/slave/servant, etc. The buck stops with you. If you want to try out a form of play, then you have to learn everything you can about it. You have to make sure that you are prepared BEFORE you involve another person. You double check ALL the details ahead of time, and you assume nothing. More people have been injured because Tops didn’t double check the length or stretch of the rope/toy, the health of their partner, the load capacity of the rigging, the percentage of alcohol for fire play,and the list goes on and on. Assumption often ends in the Emergency Room… or, on occasion, worse than that.
- If you’re the bottom (including submissives, masochists & slaves/property/pets/etc): It’s your job to ensure your own safety. You can never afford to assume that the person you are trusting is actually as experienced or knowledgeable as they have claimed to be/think they are. You might be lucky, and find someone who is correct when they detail out their prowess… you MIGHT be. And MIGHT is not a good enough. Learn all about the forms of play that you want to try. The more you learn, the more you bring to the table. Just because a Top hasn’t looked into a form of play before, doesn’t mean that they might not be open to trying it. If you know how to do it, you can share that information and help make a fabulous time for you both! Knowledge creates opportunities, and it also makes you a better negotiator, and the best Tops will respect and enjoy that about you. But if you haven’t done your homework – the best Tops may decide that you are lazy, selfish, not ready, or simply too much effort. (If you’re worried that Tops won’t like you because you’re going to threaten their power: don’t be. The ONLY time that you’re going to do that, is if you have to speak up because they are making a mistake. And if the Top is making a safety error, you SHOULD speak up. If the Top ignores you, end the scene: you’ve just learned that you’re playing with someone reckless and dangerous, someone who is perfectly willing to gamble with YOUR safety.)
- If you’re a concerned bystander/member of the community: You should be an ambassador of self-education for one very simple reason: the ignorant put our whole community at risk. We all see the panic that spreads every time a kinky person ends up on the news over a human rights violation or a death (accidental or not). There are plenty of places where kink is still illegal &/or considered a sign of insanity; and how the general public perceives us has a direct impact on how many rights we have as citizens. So if you want to keep your career, your job, your social status, your children and your freedom – do not take BDSM education for granted. Ignorance leads to accidents; accidents lead to a perception of danger; and that perception leads directly to a whole lot of bad news for kinky people. But when we take responsibility for our own safety – as individuals and as a community – we create a perception of safety and sanity, which leads to a sense of acceptance from the community at large. Never forget that we are a minority, and if the majority gets scared, we get screwed.
Now, the above may be the cold, hard truth of it all, but when it comes to self-education – here’s what’s in it for YOU:
- The BDSM world is a meat market, just like every other sexual ‘feeding ground’. It’s highly competitive because we’re a minority, and the more specific your kinky needs are: the worse that competition gets. Like everything else in life, it’s all about supply and demand – if there are lots of people looking for the same thing as you, you need to have an edge: a way to outshine your competition. And unless you want to end up with no “mate”, or giving up kink altogether and trying to be vanilla again, then you better get in the game to win it.
- Plainly put: self-education separates a person from the pack. Every single one of us is either one of the best, or one of the rest. None of us is getting any younger, and yet a lot of people waste their time dicking around out there, never rising above a certain level of competence. I have seen people become resentful, jealous, petty & aggressive – all because their sexual frustration has gotten out of control. They have needs that aren’t getting met, and they’ve lost sight of how they are responsible for their own success rate. It always seems that they expected it to all work out on it’s own; that they were entitled to it, because they wanted it. If you’re one of these people, I suggest you take a deep breath, reassess, and re-strategize how you’re going to make yourself ready and deserving of the success you want. Remaining at a beginner or intermediate level, when you’ve been in the scene for a long time, does NOT increase your attractiveness. And you need to always be increasing your worth and attractiveness to potential partners.
- You may surprise yourself with kinks you didn’t even know you had – and how great is that?! The more forms of kink you’re into, the more options & opportunities you have. The natural law that “overspecialization leads to extinction” applies to kinky people too: so if you can avoid it – avoid it. Sometimes you need to be exposed to a kink in a particular way to ‘get’ it – so go to workshops that you don’t think are going to interest you. Really, you’ve got nothing to lose.
- Seek a deep understanding of who and what you are as a kinky person; what you need and what you want; what your boundaries are; and how much kink you want/need in your life in order for you to be happy and healthy. You also need to decide if you want to be “out” – or how “out” you want/need to be. In other words: figure YOU out. You can’t find a match for yourself if you have no idea what you are – it’s like trying to find a needle in a stack of needles: how the hell are you supposed to know which one you’re looking for?
Knowing that you’re kinky is the BEGINNING of the work, not the end. If you want to have a shot at your kinky ‘happily ever after’ – then you better get to it. Read the BDSM non-fiction/educational books. Go to workshops. Go to conferences. The more you learn, the more you’ll understand. The more you learn, the more you’ll be able to identify the ‘best’ from the ‘rest’ out of the pool of perspective partners out there. You’ll start to recognize people for what they are, never mind what they SAY they are. And you will grow in your sense of self and self-worth when you’re in the midst of all the competition out there. You have all the power in the world to determine whether you’re the best or the rest – so become the best. Because when you’re the best… you don’t have a problem – people compete for YOU, not the other way around. And who knows, you just might have some FUN while you’re at it!