I sign up for a lot of emails. I get four to five daily recipes newsletters as well as several ebooks bargains of the day, daily quotes, and an occasional blog here and there. The other thing I sign up for is called The Daily OM. It’s a daily email newsletter with a message that usually has some rather thought-provoking ideas and some very good inspiration as well. One particular message I got, really struck a chord with me and made me think about the people I surround myself with. It’s titled “Finding Your Tribe” and here’s a passage from that day’s newsletter:

However your life develops after you come together with your tribe, you can be assured that its members will stand at your side. On the surface, your tribe may seem to be nothing more than a loose-knit group of friends and acquaintances to whom you ally yourself. Yet when you look deeper, you will discover that your tribe grounds you and provides you with a sense of community that ultimately fulfills many of your most basic human needs.

I read that and I felt like I had walked right into a brick wall because I could so relate to what was being said. Over the years, I have found out why it’s so important to have a support system in place, especially when you’re kinky.

Almost ten years ago when I started out in the BDSM lifestyle, I was pretty much on my own. I had never heard of munches or any kind of get-togethers. It was just me and the Internet. Which I was only using to find potential partners and not exactly educate myself. But then...I realized there was a lot out there I was missing and how important it was to get involved in the local groups and to have mentors and other s-types that I could talk to about things.

I couldn’t talk to my vanilla girlfriends about my search for a dominant. Well, I could and I did, but they didn’t quite understand how things work in a D/s dynamic. They were giving me dating tips on how to get a man, but Cosmo like tips that sometimes come across sneaky and underhanded. That kind of advice sure as heck wasn’t going to find me a dominant. Also by this time, I was dying for some female friends who would know what I was feeling and the internal struggles and not just look at me like some freak.

I had finally made a female s-type friend and she dragged me to a play party. I was nervous being around all these new people, but so extremely excited as well. I didn’t realize there were so many kinky people close to me! This first trip was a bust because stuff happened and it left a bad taste in my mouth and I didn’t think I wanted anything more to do with these people. I had got my feelers hurt and got into thinking I didn’t need a community. I was wrong! After I got over my hurt feelers and realized the reason stuff had happened the way they did, I realized these are good people, that they are the kind of people who I needed in my life, that these were people who would help me grow as a submissive and wouldn’t take advantage of me, and who could teach me all kinds of wonderful things. So, I went back, and I’m so happy that I did. For the first time in my life, I felt like I belonged somewhere and had people that understood what I was feeling and going through. It was such a burden off my shoulders to no longer have to struggle alone.

Then….FETLIFE! If I thought the internet was awesome, it got about 20% cooler once I learned about Fetlife. All the different groups, all the amazing discussions, meeting new people and being introduced to new ideas and resources...I felt like I had a golden ticket to the virtual chocolate factory! I loved being able to find the book groups and all the different submissive/slave groups, the groups for littles and brats, and everything else. I felt my community growing worldwide and I was no longer limited to just what I could find locally.

Now, while Facebook isn’t exactly kink central, or all that kink friendly at times, I can’t quite talk about community and not mention it. I am a member of several kink related groups on there and I love being involved. In a way, it’s a little more personal than with Fetlife. I’ve been able to connect with some amazing kink educators and supporters, not to mention some awesome BDSM authors, both fiction and nonfiction, but I have made some amazing kink friends on there as well who have become a part of my support system along with these groups.

I feel like I have rambled, which I am seriously notorious for doing, but my very long-winded point is, a community is important. It’s important to have a place, whether it’s a local munch or an online group, to go to and be with like-minded people who do care and support you and want to help you grow as a person, within the lifestyle and your vanilla life. You can’t go this alone. I’ve tried and it doesn’t work. There is a lot of truth to the saying “safety in numbers”, because the more people you consider your tribe, the safer you will be.