Since discovering my submissive side back in 2012, I’ve been in a perpetual holding pattern when it comes to meeting people in my local kinky community.  I want to get involved, but I’m also afraid of taking that first step.  I’ve done tons of research using the incredibly helpful articles on Submissive Guide, which has helped to give a frame of reference for what to expect.  The problem I face is that my local community is huge, and everything seems to fall under the umbrella of one organization. Southern California has a longstanding tradition of acceptance of the community, and as such things function a bit differently.

For example, there are no “munches” as far as I can tell.  Believe me, I’ve asked.  I could handle going to a munch.  But there are none.  The munches have been replaced by mixers at Starbucks and meetings called “raps.”  There are raps for women and co-ed raps for everyone.  I’ve been to a co-ed rap and there is an agenda and you sit at a U-shaped table at a restaurant and discuss the topics on the agenda.  In a way, I like the organization of it.  I knew exactly what to expect, which was nice, but I also realized that most of the other people in attendance are old enough to be my parents, which makes open discussion about anal sex and bondage rather challenging.  There are also new member orientations (I went to one, where I was introduced to Master James and his girls; more on him later) and play parties and demonstrations and the other stuff you’d expect from a kinky club.  When I was exploring the rap and the orientation, I’d been a submissive in a long-distance relationship.  Now I’m a newly single submissive, and I’m trying to figure out my place in this organization more than ever.

Lately I’ve been helping a friend run shows on the weekends, and at one of the shows I ran into a woman, Monica, whose son grew up with my sister.  I haven’t seen her since they were in elementary school, but she recognized me.  She was wearing a heart-shaped collar.  It was unmistakable.  Her husband Joe was nearby, dressed in black, and the pieces soon snapped into place.  She was performing that night, and eventually her guests started to arrive.  That’s when I saw Master James and his girls.  We all locked eyes on each other, and Monica called me by name and asked me a question.  It was awkward, but most of the awkwardness was on my part because I’d never encountered people who knew I was a submissive outside of the two kinky meetings I’d been to.  Nothing happened and everything was fine.

Fast forward a few months.  I’d seen Monica and Joe at several other shows, and we’d talked many time.  She is very open about her relationship with Joe. (I’d heard her explain the idea of “safe, sane and consensual” to a group of very-Vanilla women once at a dinner party)  One night I bravely I replied to her offhand remark about being tied up.  They were both stunned to not only realize that I enjoyed being tied up, but that I also knew what the collar represented.  So now our conversations took a decidedly different turn.  It felt amazing to have a real person to talk to about being submissive, and it was fun to watch how she interacted with her husband/Dom.  Monica pointed to another couple at the show and said that they were also in the club, and that they had just joined.  This gave me pause because the man is someone who I work with at the shows.  It was awkward knowing about them without them knowing about me.

One night Monica pulled me aside and took me over to where the other couple was sitting.  She told the other woman, Liz, that I, too, am a member of the club, which elicited a rather shocked response.  When her boyfriend Charles came over, he was equally stunned.  Not in a negative way, more in a totally-caught-off-guard way.  Oh, and my sister was nearby and watching the interaction, so when I returned to her she asked what was going on.  I’m not out to my family or friends (mostly because I’m still coming to terms with being “in”) so this made the whole thing even weirder.  I asked my former Dominant about what happened and he said that it was wrong of Monica to share my personal status with other people without my consent, and she certainly shouldn’t have done it in a place that could compromise my secret.  But it wasn’t done with malicious intent, and so he suggested I speak to her about the fact that I’m not out the way she is.

So now I’m in a situation where I see Charles weekly and in the back of my mind I can’t help but wonder if knowing about my kinkiness has changed the way he acts toward me.  I am not making a big deal of it because it’s probably nothing, but once these things happen, it’s hard to forget about them.  That said, I’m not going to run off with my tail between my legs.  It just requires a shift in perspective. (Boy, that is much easier said than done, let me tell you!)

I’ve read comments from other submissives about being worried at the prospect of going to a munch or a play party.  Believe me, I understand completely.  The moral of this cautionary tale is that I spent more time worrying about going to events through the club, and then by sheer coincidence I get “outed” in my real life.  There are a few things at play here that anyone in a similar position needs to consider.  You will run into kinky people in real life (I saw the local Dungeon Master at the dollar store; I’d seen her picture on a website and then I saw her shopping for picnic supplies.  This is life.)  Yes, we’d like to think everyone follows the rules about being respectful of our kinky identities, but sometimes you meet people who are very proud of their status and they forget that we’re not all out the way they are.

In spite of the momentary discomfort and the lingering awkwardness, I’m thrilled to have kinky friends in real life.  They’ve promised to invite me to events and they’re just fun people to hang around.  Having them in my life has made my transition from collared submissive to single submissive a bit more tolerable.  I look forward to learning more about the community with their help.  I’m not alone anymore, and this alone means more than anything.  The key is making sure that your newfound friends understand your comfort level at being identified as a kinkster.  If you get that out into the open from the start, you’ll be fine!