Welcome to the first part in a series I hope will help you feel more comfortable entering and becoming a part of the local BDSM community. Some of the best education I've received as a submissive, especially on the different ways other people live the D/s life, have been from people in my local area. Attending a munch, going to a play party, or just hanging out online and observing conversations and interactions is a great way to learn and have your eyes opened to other viewpoints and experiences.

Today, let's discuss how to find your local kinky peeps.

The best advice I've been given (even though I fought it at first) when it comes to living the BDSM lifestyle is to go meet people in the local area. I used to say, and I now hear countless people say, “But there aren't any people. How am I supposed to find them? I'm the only one I know!”

Stop right now. You are not the only kinky person in your town. You might be the only one with a social media profile. You might, (maybe, but highly unlikely) be the only one on Fetlife. But you are not the only kinky person in your area – unless your area has five people, and they all live in your house.

Here are some places to find your local community:

Good Old Google

When in doubt, Google it. Go a step further and actually click on the second or third page of the search results. A quick Google search of your town's name and “BDSM” will yield some results. In my area, there are pages for different groups in my state (Florida), kinky profiles on dating sites, and different blogs to visit.

Fetlife

“But Fetlife is filled with creepy posers sending dick pics.” You're right, those people are there. And you're a fully functional adult who is capable of ignoring those people. There are also groups and forums specifically for your city, town, or region. Your local BDSM dungeon or munches probably have a page, too. Use the handy-dandy search function and type in the name of your town or county and see what you find.

Secret Facebook Groups

Before I got kicked off Facebook (for using a pseudonym, damn the Facebook gods and their weird rules), I was part of several secret groups devoted to the lifestyle – BDSM Without the BS, Daddies and their Littles, you name it. Some groups aren't secret but you'll have to ask to join. Join them and get to know people. There are usually threads in each group to introduce yourself and share where you're from – use that thread to find your local peeps. And remember not to be a creepy stalker. Let things happen naturally and make friends with people you genuinely like.

Craigslist

I'm adding this one with a disclaimer: Proceed with caution! Typically on Craigslist, people just want a quick, kinky hook-up. Or worse, they're a predator looking for a victim. Listen to your instincts. If something doesn't feel right, don't go. Have a safe call set up so someone knows where you're going, when you arrive, and when you should leave. Safety first, y'all. But sometimes, you can find a couple who wants to hang out or a group of people looking to meet someone new. Yes, it may be sexual, which is perfectly fine, if that's what you want, too.

Whether you're ready to hit the local munch you found on Fetlife, or you just want someone you can email or grab a cup of coffee with to chat about life, there is no better way to learn more about BDSM and the lifestyle than meeting real people and hearing about it from their own perspective. Remember, though, to be open, honest, and patient.

BDSM and kink may feel like completely foreign or new concepts, but at the end of the day, we're all people. Go about making friends and meeting your fellow kinksters the same way you would if you were in a vanilla situation. Relax and take your time. Be yourself and don't be creepy!

Entering the Community Series

Part 1: Finding Other Local Kinksters Using Online Resources

Part 2: Socializing with Kinksters

Part 3: Understanding and Following General Protocols in Public

Part 4: Who You'll Meet and What to Expect at a Munch

Part 5: Who You'll Meet and What to Expect at a BDSM/Dungeon Play Party

Image via Kozzi