I originally thought of this as a message as those who are new to the “Kink Community”, but I realized that, in fact, it really covers a lot of the ambivalent, complex feelings I have towards the BDSM community in general–however you’d choose to define it.
First of all, be aware that if you are looking for some kind of community, some kind of like-minded souls, you can find them in many parts of the Kink community. There’s a lot of compassion, friendliness, openness, support, support and love out there. Even if we can’t exactly define what the “Kink Community” is.
That being said–
There’s a lot of hate out there. There’s a lot of politics. It flares up in cycles, and some of those cycles get very vicious and ugly. There’s a lot of politics. There’s a lot of maneuvering. There are sometimes exactly the level of difficulties you’d expect in a world where very few people make money, most people have a sexual (or equivalent drive) connection to the subject, and there are lots and lots of relationships which change, improve, sour, or shatter.
This is an important message for the BDSM world in 2019 (and onwards) – online, in person, everywhere:
The community does not own you, not any part of you, not your heart, not your loyalty, none of you. Not unless it has earned some of those things–just like in any other relationship. You do not have an obligation to maintain the community’s “standards”, follow its “rules”, or do what you are told. You DO have an obligation not to be a predator, not to be an asshole, not to do things that harm other members of the community if you can avoid it–and certainly not to do those things on purpose. You DO have an obligation to treat this as something reasonably secret, because frankly, kink is still illegal in most places, it can still get you fired in a lot of places, it can make you lose custody battles. So if you join a community, you have an obligation not to “out” it.
And that should actually give you some pause about joining any group. Are you prepared to maintain that anonymity? We’ve started blurring some of those lines–and we’ve seen where it gets us; for one thing, whatever your politics are, you have to confront the knowledge that we’ve recently seen both legislation in the USA, and action by individual companies, which makes it more difficult for the kink community to operate, and which makes life more difficult for kinky people.
Maybe the best kink community you can have is one you choose, one you create by the actions you take.
Here are a few thoughts of things you can do:
Help those who are new, scared or unsure – if they want help.
Find love in a welcoming, warm and select kink “family” or group.
Ask for help for yourself if you need it – you deserve it.
But also remember this:
The Kink community embodies all manner of compassion, help, affection and love…..when it wants to.
And it also personifies every anger, every bit of baggage, every type of the worst interaction of humans in groups. It’s sometimes amazing, and sometimes straight-up actively harmful.
Respect it. Know that it exists, in a number of forms, online and in person. You are not alone–for both better and worse
The community is broken in many places. It’s dangerous in a lot of places. It sometimes advocates crappy things because they are popular and show up in shiny memes.
The community is a whole lot like a problematic family. Sometimes you want to hug its members, sometimes you want to strangle them, and vice versa.
But keep this in mind.
* You can tell the Community to go fuck itself.. You are your own person. Your kink belongs to no one but yourself, unless you decide to do otherwise. The community has the right to express itself when it feels hurt – but “the community” does not have some kind of legislature or tribunal–and if it did, it would not have authority over you.
(Someday, I think, somebody will use this to be a huge dick and out a whole lot of people. Sometimes, I think this is already happening.
My opinion? Use the community if you can; give back to the community if you can.
Your life and kinks are yours, unless you are harming others.
You belong to you and only you; no-one else gets an ownership stake in you unless you agree to it. You don’t “owe” the community yourself.
You are free. You are unbound.
Go do what YOU think is best, with or without the community. The Community is sometimes wise, sometimes compassionate, sometimes useful; sometimes petty, sometimes dismissive, and sometimes destructive as hell.
Be active in the community, or be a lone wolf, or start your own community. It’s YOUR choice–don’t let anyone, including me, tell you otherwise.