The night the BDSM community just had enough of it

angry mistress

If you are like most persons out there, BDSM is just one among many genres on your favorite “Tube” website, or the punchline to some godawful 50 Shades joke. If you are among the ten percent of people who actually enjoy erotic domination and submission games, it is a big turn on that behind closed doors can grow into nothing less than a lifestyle. But if by some unfathomable reason you chose to become an enabler – a sex educator, a club owner, a professional dominatrix, a fetish designer, a kinky toy vendor or whatnot – whips and corsets take on a very different character for you.

A few days ago I sat in a makeshift panel among BDSM party organizers in Milano. It wasn’t really a planned thing, but half by chance there was about twenty of us from six or seven different munches, playparties, regular workshops and similar kinky events – and the talk was not what you probably expected from a bunch of cruel sadists.
«What can we do to make our events more approachable for newcomers?» we asked each other with a slightly worried expression.

«We could lower the entry ticket prices» said one.

«That’s impossible. Sadistique already is free for women, €30 for five hours of party for males, there is a €10 discount for people under 30 and we even throw a free drink in. We can barely afford to cover expenses, and most other events are on similarly shaky financial grounds.»  

«What about further reaching out online then?»

«We already have more websites, groups, mailing lists and forums that we can count» answered another. «The problem is not lack of information, but that they just don’t bother reading it.»

«That’s right» a lady replied. «They don’t because reliable information is mixed up with gibberish. We’d need some authoritative source.»

«More authoritative than some leaders’ websites and books? It’s not the community’s fault if the wider public is as discerning as a drunken baboon. They’d just have to google stuff up instead of blindly clicking FreeTitsAndBlowjobsInLeather.sucker.com or some equally idiotic clueless source.»

«So what about dropping the dress code requirements?» ventured another host.

«Are you serious? That would bring back all the drooling wankers that plagued the early parties fifteen years ago. Requiring a minimal effort to get in is enough to keep them out, and it’s just common courtesy anyway. And by the way, we are at a munch with no dress code rules ourselves right now.»

And so it went. On and on, as we dissected every possible incentive and found it unrealistic, too expensive, pointless or worse. Until someone summarized the issue in one exact sentence. «Fact is, the reality of the Scene does not reflect the fantasy expectations of non-scene people.»

«Meaning?» my partner enquired.

«Meaning they would like to find a free-entry, dramatically scenic club full of Photoshop-perfect-looking people putting on sexy shows for them. And scores of their dream slaves or dominants who can’t wait to play with them according to their precise fantasy specifications.»

«Well, that’s impossible, but what if…» And that is where I couldn’t hold it in anymore and interrupted the good-willing person who was trying to design yet another improbable solution.

«What if» I said, thinking back of a Fetlife discussion where the organizer of the Rome BDSM Conference came up with a similar concept, «we, as a community, just stopped to bend over backwards to attempt to fulfill the unrealistic expectations of a bunch of people who couldn’t care less for everything we do for them? I know this sounds rude, but think about it for a moment. This is 2017, not the early Nineties anymore. We all come from that era and we still remember the pains we went through just to find some little connection with likeminded people: for us it was normal to suffer through months of poste restante paper-and-stamp mail contacts before finally arranging an usually unsatisfactory meeting, and each one of us, in his or her own personal way, has woved to make things better for our fellow kinksters. And you know what? We did.
Today in our humble, provincial Italy there are more events than you can count. There are educational books, seminars and websites. There are professionals who can help you through your kinky issues. There are ridiculously approachable groups who can’t wait to lead you in your exploration of alternative sexualities, and as we just analyzed we – in this room and as a community – have already done everything we could possibly do to make BDSM a viable option for couples and singles alike. And for what? Surely not for profit.
If you are anything like me, and I know you are, we are doing this for the sheer satisfaction of sparing other people from the troubles we ourselves went through in those early years when we thought we were the only one to feel aroused by certain imagery, when we thought we’d never find a partner who could accept our presumed abnormality, or maybe when we injured ourselves or our loved ones because we didn’t know how to properly practice some games. I certainly do for the pride I feel whenever I receive yet another email thanking me because someone’s marriage was saved by my books, or saying they finally feel good with their sex lives after years of feeling just guilt.
What I am saying is that we are not a charity, we don’t need to convert anybody. Of course we can keep upping our game, but as any good sadomasochist we must know when to stop flogging ourselves for somebody else’s sins. The BDSM community has done more than enough work, and it should well rest and enjoy its fruits.» Ok, I might not have used exactly these words, but this was the gist of it.

«And what about the others, then? Should we keep them out?» objected someone – possibly in that meeting, or in some analogous online conversation.

«Of course not» my friend Smdiclasse concluded as we exited the bar and into the night. «But we should start asking every newcomer ‘well, and how are you going to contribute to this community then?’» Which is a paraphrase of what Birdofprey had written a couple of months earlier, that is «The BDSM community is not there for you, but you are here to serve it.»

Truly, this would be the solution for un-breaking the severely crippled Italian BDSM scene – and possibly that of other countries too. It sounds so impolite, so counterintuitive and haughty… but then again, why should the small community of those who actually toil for a safe, sane and consensual kink keep shooting itself in the foot in the attempt to reach out to a mass of proudly ignorant people who just want to exploit everything they can without giving anything in exchange, and who will never be happy anyway?
I already feel bad just for having written the above paragraph and I know I’ll just continue doing my job as usual, but seriously: show some involvement in this thing you keep saying you love so much, and let me hear your take on this discussion. The comment section is always open, for those who want to play.

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