With the popularity of 50 Shades of Grey, greater exposure through sex-oriented events and escalated word of mouth, the fetish community has been inundated with scores of brand spanking new aspiring kinksters. In one train of thought, we can look upon this as a great thing – more acceptance and less marginalizing of our lifestyle. If we traverse another train of thought, this wider acceptance leaves us open to more criticism and having to deal with a large amount of people who know nothing about our lifestyle or how to navigate the kink scene.
There is an evident and consistent attitude about newbies that is persistent on Fetlife and at events. Newbies are somehow expected to come into the scene and know exactly how to treat D/s couples, how to properly respect boundaries and how to play. I remember being new. I knew nothing at all! I knew less than nothing! I was terrified to go to events, but I was lucky. I met some people who were dedicated to helping newbies navigate the scene and it made ALL the difference in how I navigated myself in the scene and how I grew in the scene to want to help people in the same way.
We can all work together to make the introduction of new people into the scene less exposing and traumatic for us and less daunting for them! Caring for your local newbies makes this a better community as a whole and ensures more safety at events and online.
HOW TO PROPERLY FEED AND CARE FOR YOUR NEWBIE
Be willing to guide your newbie on this rough, new terrain they are traversing!
When you see a brand new 22 year old Master posting about wanting ten slaves in a group you are involved in, don’t immediately slam them and let the vultures collect the leftovers. Send them a personal message about why that type of post is not well received in the community. Open up a line of communication and you might just help a new kinkster navigate this community with grace.
Likewise, if you see a new person at an event sitting in the corner, engage them in conversation. Help them recognize protocols so they won’t be as nervous to engage with people. It is amazing what a little bit of kindness can do!
Guidance is the best gift we can give newcomers to kink.
Be willing to feed your newbie new skills and information!
I have low tolerance for people who complain that some newbie is playing unsafely. This community is hard for newbies and if the veterans of the community are not willing to teach, we are going to continue to see tons of unsafe play! We are going to be constantly confronted by news stories of people who unsafely engaged in erotic asphyxiation and other types of edge play that harmed them, because the kink community didn’t do its job of educating the public.
So if you have a skill, useful advice or knowledge that can be passed down – DO IT!!! It is the only way to ensure that our community is safe and grows in a safe direction. Pass on your knowledge and skills to the people that seem engaged and interested. Trust me, it is worth it every time! Every teaching situation I go into is incredibly rewarding!
Give your newbies a chance to show their worth beyond their first introduction to kink!
Every new person that joins Fetlife or shows up to a local event, is a potentially awesome player and could be amazing for our local scenes. But so often, newbies are crucified for the way they stumbled upon kink. Not all of us have been into kink since the beginning of time. My husband introduced me to kink and I sought out the community. But many people get their first introduction from porn, from stumbling on an event or on Fetlife, from the many sex shows that now exist with dungeons and, yes, even from 50 Shades of Grey. I think it is important to focus not on how people stumbled upon the public kink scene, but rather to focus on educating them about the scene. But please, stop complaining about how people found out about kink and start connecting – because the newbie in front of you could be completely awesome!
When handling a newbie, be sure to draw on your own past experiences for guidance!
Try to think back to when you were new. How much did you know about protocols? About different types of play? About the language and behaviour common in the kink community? About how to respect boundaries? Like me, and every other person who was once new, you probably knew nothing. You either were as lucky as I was to find someone to help teach you how to navigate the scene, or you bumbled through it like many do.
Embarking on any new journey is scary, nerve-wracking and takes a lot of guts. If we take the time and have a little empathy, we could help newbies figure out what they want out of the kink community and what type of interactions they are looking for. And we can help them get there by remembering what it was like to be new.
When confused about newbie care, remember: Positivity fosters community, negativity breaks it down.
At the very base of this issue is a need for positivity. In everything in life, we can see that positive thinking and action leads to positive reactions. And in this community, we deal with enough negativity from the media, from our vanilla friends and family, and from the public in general. Fostering positivity is the best thing we can do for ourselves and our community.
This has the unique extra advantage of making the kink community safer and more inviting to new people. When we are putting our energy into educating and guiding new people, instead of denigrating them for not already being uber Dom(me)s and subs, the whole vibe changes. Everyone will be more open and accepting and kind. Gossip and pettiness will diminish. Fostering positivity is good for all of us!
SELF CARE FOR NEWBIES IN THE KINK COMMUNITY
Indulge your newfound kink interest by getting out into the real kink community!
Find local events to go to: munches, coffee nights, socials, anything that gets you out there around people. It goes a long way to making you feel like what you are interested is not a dirty secret. It shows you that there are tons of people into what you want to be into and they can help you do it safely and sanely!
Not sure what to do or how to do it? Engage with leaders.
Contact those of us who run groups, events and parties. We are happy to help you navigate your way through this, because chances are someone once did it for us! We will happily greet you at events and introduce you to people with like interests! (My personal advice is to start with smaller events like Coffee Nights, they tend to be more informative, but munches are great starting points too!)
Abandon your agenda and just connect!
Don’t treat the community like a meat market! We are all like-minded people and kindness can be expected, but don’t expect to go home with a kinky guy or gal that night just because you showed up! Unless you have taken the time to learn a skill or are well known, chances are people will not want to play with you right away- sexual or non-sexually!
This is a two way street!
Give what you want to get back! If you are looking for kindness, be kind to others. If you are looking for friendship be open and offer friendship to others. It sounds simple but you would be amazed how many new people go to events, don’t talk to anyone then yell online about how no one was friendly to them!
New people have to meet us halfway! We tend to be as wary of new people as you are of us. Bridging the gap can be simple by introducing yourself to the event organizer beforehand or upon first arrival at an event. They will take it from there and be sure to introduce you around!
Keep yourself safe by using common sense safety precautions.
Be careful with yourself. Don’t play with someone you haven’t asked around about. Community leaders will be honest with you about people you are getting involved with! Take standard precautions when meeting someone new! Send contact info to someone you trust so someone knows where you are! If you can, arrange to meet new people at local events, then you have a whole group of people watching out for you!
We like to help but, Newbies, educate yourself too.
Read, read and then read some more! There is a lot of valuable information on FetLife and you can learn a lot by pouring over people’s writing! Don’t wait for others to bring the info to your front doorstep.
Show common decency and have some manners.
Remember that we are all people. If there is something you are not ok with, the answer is not to call them out in a thread, publicly eviscerate them or spread rumours about them. If you have a problem with someone, private message them and try to work it out in a cool, calm and collected way! We are all adults here and everyone deserves to be treated with respect!
Newbies are the next generation of kinksters. It is important to pass down knowledge and wisdom to them so they can be as safe and inventive as we have been. And hey, they may even teach us something from their fresh perspective! Too little emphasis has been placed on mentorship and guiding new people. I for one, would love to see a resurgence of this trend!
Do you have advice on how to welcome and support newbies in our community? Share it by commenting below!