Why Newbie Ideas About BDSM Matter

During my first month in the BDSM community, much of what I saw petrified me. I developed a connection with a dom within two weeks of joining. We exchanged details about limits and expectations, and then he said something that went against my newbie concept of consent. I thought I’d officially met True BDSM, and it was nothing I could ever accept.

I spent some time dearly wishing I wasn’t a sub. I began to see my years in D/s relationships as lucky accidents that couldn’t happen in The Real BDSM Community. Fetlife had a sense of terrible weight, as though we were all stuck in an Orwell novel. Much of what I saw in the community looked more like manipulation and control than dominance. My past had been a healthy one, and submission had never disempowered me.

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I believe intuition is all the information you have scrambling around in your brain that is not quite consciously processed. What arrives as a gut feeling is based on experience and knowledge, not mysterious mental odysseys into the psychic ether. My intuition was telling me that fitting into what I was reading about kink would be an epic mistake, but they were experienced, and I was not, so I found it hard to believe I knew better.


Slowly, I began to connect with those who’ve become the core of my friends list through shared opinions about consent because…what? Others are into my idea of consent, too? Apparently.

I began to meet people in person. I gained confidence. I learned that my safe, sane D/s relationships had taught me something that was—duh–-sane and safe. Morality is a relatively universal belief system, even here on Fetlife. Being new to kink did not make me new to ethics, morals, or consent. I knew more than I believed I did. All I needed was a little trust in my own views.

When I first began writing, I went to classes for years waiting to hear what everyone else was hearing from our teacher: “You’ve found your voice.” Those words are a halo of glory to a new writer. Not hearing them for so long left me thinking that I might do a better job stopping writing entirely. After two years, I finally heard them. A party exploded in my head that didn’t stop for days.

The fact that I hadn’t found my voice for two years did not mean I shouldn’t write, though. Writing is what helped me to find my voice. The same is true of BDSM. I can hold tight to my opinions and intuition about consent even though I’m no expert. I can stick to my guns about what my gut tells me consent is about. If I do that and carry on learning, I will win the battle as best I can.

It’s been over two years since I joined Fetlife. I’ve done play parties and munches. I’ve played and I’ve negotiated. All I’ve learned in that time is that my interpretation of healthy consent in BDSM was on the mark right from the very beginning. Very little of what I believed then has changed. All I needed to learn was to trust and value myself.

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4 thoughts on “Why Newbie Ideas About BDSM Matter

  1. That gut, that deep down instinct – if I’ve learned anything its that it’s rarely wrong and we should all trust it more often!
    For the record, after over 10 years off and on with Fetlife I still step back and reflect sometimes on the gap between much of what I read on there, and what I consider to be safe/sane D/s relationships.

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  2. I was petrified entering the bdsm community. Not knowing “what I was” and coming in with zero background in it didn’t help. It turned out there was very little reason to be so apprehensive.
    Sure there are some shady people in our community but trusting your gut will usually keep you safe.
    Sure there are predators but most of us can spot a newbie from across the room and alot of people are understanding, welcoming and help ease them in … that was my experience anyway. It’s all our responsibility to look after new community members (no matter who they are…).

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