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Question
Hello Ben,

I wanted some advice from someone who has experience in the BDSM lifestyle.
First, I wanted to give some background on myself. I've been inclined towards this lifestyle for a few years now. I knew early on what I wanted. I'm into certain aspects of bondage, discipline, and even masochism as far as I know. I have a good idea what interests me, things I'm unsure of, and hard limits. I am a submissive and I want not only a relationship, but a Dom/sub relationship too. The only problem was I was underage, which is limiting.
I'm of age now and I've decided to move forward from just reading and researching online.

I would like some advice/help on where to start on-line and maybe even in real life. Whether it be gaining friendships, dating, etc. I'm not sure what websites or chat rooms I should look into.
Even advice from your own experience is much appreciated. Thanks!

~Kitty

Answer
Kitty -

Congratulations on knowing of your interests! For many, this self-awareness doesn't come  until later in life. My primary suggestion is that you continue that process of self-discovery. By know who you are, and what you need, you can find peoe and relationships that are fulfilling.

How you gain that knowledge depends on you and how you learn. You can read books and reflect; participate in online discussion groups; attend classes, workshops and meetings; or participate in social and play events. Some questions you might want to reflect on include:

Is it kinky play ( bondage, impact, etc) you seek, or are you looking for a hierarchical power-based relationship?
Do you want "this" to be part of a vanilla relationship, or the foundation of your relationship?
Are you looking for romance/love?
What about monogamy?
If a power-based relationship, what areas of your life are you willing to cede decision making authority?
What attributes do you need in a partner - and what communication, management and leadership style?

A few words of caution. You are a young female. You will attract considerable interest. Aome will be wonderful people. Some will be wonderful people that aren't well matched for you. And some will be people to stay away from. Know that being submissive doesn't mean you shouldn't stand up for yourself and decide who you want to spend time with (much less play with or be in a relationship with). It is your choice and yours alone who you choose to be with. Run away from anyone who tells you otherwise (if you were a real submissive you would....)   

As to how to meet people, I would avoid BDSM dating sites like CollarMe and Alt. A better site is FetLife - which isn't a dating site but more like a kinky Facebook. There are groups on every interest. Groups for those that are new. And groups that are geographically specific. North Carolina has an active community. You can tap into it through FetLife.

Enjoy your journey  

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Ben Martin

Expertise

Questions related to power-based relationships in which decision-making authority is intentionally and consensually transferred -- and the resulting imbalance celebrated. I am able to assist those trying to understand where they fit in, and those seeking to structure and thrive in a power based relationships. Specific topics I am able to discuss include: setting and achieving personal and relationship goals, responsible Mastery, the use of protocols and rituals, communication techniques, and conflict resolution. In addition, I am knowledgable and experienced in polyamory, long-distance relationships, bisexuality and a variety of kinky activities ranging from mind games to sadistic play.

Experience

I have chosen to have a power-based structure in my relationships over the past 18 years. This has included a 16-year M/s relationship, several shorter term D/s relationships and various play partners. I am an active participant in various online forums and seek to provide support and advice to those interested in the Lifestyle.

Organizations
Black Rose

Publications
My writings, insights and discussion contributions are available on Alt.com and FetLife.com. On both websites, my user name is BenMartin

Education/Credentials
I do not hold any credentials specific to BDSM, relying instead on knowledge gained from life experiences, reading and conversing with others in the Lifestyle.

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