Experience

Not long ago I was chatting with some kinky friends and the subject of years of experience in the scene came up. Specifically, the way we give people more credit than they necessarily deserve just because they’ve hung around for a while. It’s absolutely normal to assume someone knows more than you do if they’ve been around for longer, but it’s also important to remember that just grimly sticking around does not make a person smarter than you, it doesn’t mean they’re amazing at everything, it doesn’t mean they know what’s right for you, and it doesn’t even mean that they’re good at much of anything. All it means is that they’ve stuck around.

Taking myself as an example, I’ve been part of the local scene for around seven years. Impressive, huh? Well, not so much. First of all, while I started showing up about seven years ago, that doesn’t mean I’ve been coming to events at all regularly. The organizer of those munches used to good naturedly tease me about how I would show up once a year and then go back into hibernation. Even after I started showing up to munches and parties more regularly, there were plenty of times where I was especially busy or just feeling anti-social and didn’t come to much of anything.

Not only does however many years of experience not tell you much at all about how many events someone has gone to, but it doesn’t tell you anything about how much they’ve been playing either. I played fairly regularly at parties for the first few years I was in the scene, then that tapered off for a while, then I started playing mostly privately, then I had another dry spell, and more recently I’ve been playing privately again. Even if I could come up with a rough estimate of how many scenes I’ve done, that wouldn’t tell you whether I’ve been learning from each scene or if I’ve been making the same mistakes over and over. It wouldn’t tell you how the people I’ve played with felt about the scenes we had, or whether I’ve been playing infrequently because I’m picky, shy, and kind of a dork or because I’m such an asshole that I can’t find people to play with.

Of course, having tons of play partners doesn’t necessarily mean much either. Pretty much any idiot can prey on new people who don’t know any better and look like the best thing since sliced bread unless/until they finally hurt someone who has friends and the house of cards comes down. Even having long term relationships doesn’t mean someone is a good person, let alone a good pervert. The whole birthday spankings at munches debacle in my local scene completely destroyed my respect for a number of people who have been part of the scene for longer than I’ve been living outside of my parents’ house and have had plenty of serious long term relationships.

If someone’s advice sounds reasonable to you, if you like the way they play or run their relationships and think something similar would work for you, by all means listen to them. But do not take anyone’s word as gospel just because they’ve been around longer than you have. Despite what some douchebags out there will tell you, you don’t owe any special treatment to people who have been in the scene for longer than you. If somebody wants you to hang on their every word, they can goddamn well earn it.

12 thoughts on “Experience

  1. Well said. I didn’t even know this was a problem. But i do know that this concept could be applied to almost any other subject in addition to BDSM.
    –Miss Ari ^_^

    • Sadly, there seem to be plenty of people out there who want everyone to know how very important and experienced they are and how you can be just like them if you do everything exactly the way they tell you.

  2. I’m 41 and can honestly say I’ve been dominating guys since I was seventeen or eighteen.

    But I was also in a completely vanilla marriage from ages 23-32. And all my other long-term relationships were vanilla, too, except for rare occasions when I talked my partner into indulging my kinks. I’ve never actually had a long-term D/s relationship; just scattered encounters here and there plus a couple of FWB-ish things lasting a few months.

    And I never went out to any community events until this past year.

    And my play style when I was younger was mostly just rough sex and trash talk (and sometimes immobilizing a partner’s wrists using cheap sex store handcuffs) – I never developed any fancy skills in rope or flogging or sounding or electro play or anything. I’m only really working on acquiring skills now.

    And when I was younger my only ideas about D/s came from porn, so I knew NOTHING about negotiating or setting limits – I didn’t even realize that there are different kinds of submission and that a sub got to have a say in what exactly he did with me. None of that stuff occurred to me until my early 30s, when I divorced my vanilla husband and discovered a bunch of bdsm blogs by real, non-porn people.

    All of which is why I don’t go around calling myself experienced. I don’t call myself a newbie, either, but I damn sure don’t play the “I’ve been doing this since you were in diapers” card.

    • And when I was younger my only ideas about D/s came from porn, so I knew NOTHING about negotiating or setting limits

      Oh god, when I was younger my only ideas about d/s came from ridiculous how-to guides I found on the internet, so I thought that I must have been a top, not a dom, because I didn’t care about memorizing slave positions or punishing my play partners for not keeping their eyes lowered.

      I don’t call myself a newbie, either, but I damn sure don’t play the “I’ve been doing this since you were in diapers” card.

      Me either. Even if I had been, there’s just no way to do that without looking like a complete douchebag.

  3. At worrk, I like to distinguish between the people who “have 10 years of experience” and the people who “have 2 years of experience, and 8 more years of repeating it.” Sounds like you’re running into the same thing.

    • Good point, it’s exactly the same problem right down the person who repeated their two years of experience for 8 more years thinking they’re the best thing that ever happened to the kink scene.

      Come to think of it, that’s probably why the ‘I’ve been doing this since you were in diapers’ people, to quote cowgirl, make me so cranky. I worked with that guy once and I hated him enough to leave me job (not that there was nothing else wrong with that company, but I would’ve stuck it out for longer if not for that jackass).

      Well, that and how people who really do know their stuff are humble about it because they have some idea how much stuff they don’t know.

  4. don’t have much to say to this that you didn’t already say

    except maybe to express my utter bewilderment that play at a munch is a thing that has been seriously considered and done before.

    wtf

    like

    it’s literally going against the entire stated principle of a munch.

    • I know! The whole thing was just messed up. And people who wanted to keep the weird pushy spanking tradition had such terrible arguments for keeping it. I had an argument on fetlife with someone who had been in the community for ages and was really attached to the idea that no one had ever ever ever been pressured to take part in the birthday spankings. So if there was no pressure, then a) what do you call people asking me repeatedly if I was really, really sure I didn’t want to join in? and b) why did I bother to make a pact with a dominant friend of mine to never reveal our birthdays to the group? Kind of off topic, but just thinking about that whole clusterfuck gets me all riled up.

  5. Hey! I’m sorry to bother you here (you must be getting tons of messages), but I have no one else to ask. Long story short, I’m a dominant woman, I’ve recently been thinking about “coming out of the closet” so to speak, and maybe going to a party/munch. But my huge problem is that I look nothing like a Dominatrix. Pretty average in the looks department, and I have a very unthreatening face (everyone says I look young and naive). Furthermore, I don’t dig latex and red stilettos (turned off by them, in fact). As I’ve been reading your blog, I’m aware that you stand for “fuzzy slippers if I want to” attitude, but I guess it’s more like a wish than a reality? Give me a piece of advice here, please. Should I just forget those parties completely or is going like “myself” worth a try? I won’t be laughed at, right?

    • No worries! Actually, I just heard a funny story about not looking like a dominatrix: a friend was telling me that a friend of his, a smallish blonde woman, had gotten into topping and had planned an intense scene at a party with a submissive man she knew. She showed up at the party in this adorable little-girl outfit with ribbons in her hair and a cute little dress and everything, and her bottom’s face just fell.She then grabbed him by the ear, dragged him onto the play floor, and launched right into the super intense scene they’d already negotiated, ball kicking and all. Apparently the submissive guy was a complete wreck by the end of it, and now he has a thing for adorable little outfits that don’t look at all dominatrixy.

      Anyway, I’d start by going to a munch for two reasons. One, since people are usually in their street clothes at those, no one’s going to make too big a deal of you not looking like a dominatrix (although depending on how you behave you may get a bit of friendly teasing about not looking like a dom. I’m very soft spoken and giggle like, as a friend said, a five year old who’s going to stab you, so people do sometimes say that I don’t sound like a dom). Two, it can be really hard to make friends at parties because so many people are focused on the scenes they’ve already set up or talking with friends they only see at parties. Parties in my city are also often dark and loud, which is really not my ideal situation to get to know new people in. Plus, once you’re chatting with people who have been around for a while, they can tell you more about what the parties are like and what people tend to wear at them.

      I’ve shown up at parties in jeans and a tank top, and the worst that happened was I felt sort of out of place because I was one of very few people who wasn’t wearing anything particularly fetishy, and a couple of people asked if I had been to a party before. I do live in a very laid back city with a very laid back local scene (yay west coast hippies!), but I’d be very surprised if anyone were rude enough to be a jerk to you. I think the worst case scenario is people being cautious about approaching you because they’re worried you wandered in by mistake, which you can work around by getting to know people a little before you go to a party.

      Just remembered! If your city has any kind of younger kinksters group and you fit their age criteria, definitely go to that. In my city, the under 35’s group is full of students who just can’t afford expensive fetish gear, so they come to parties in either whatever they found at a thrift store or regular street clothes.

      Whatever party you do go to, I can basically guarantee there will be dominant guys there wearing perfectly normal street clothes that happen to be black. If anyone gives you shit for not dressing up, just point to one of them 🙂

      Or for more immediately usable advice, if you wear dark clothing, you’ll fit in fine. If you don’t like dark colours, but you’re comfortable wearing a tshirt with some sort of vaguely kinky slogan on it, go for that. Or if you like costuming or cosplay, go for that. Or if you like goth or punky sorts of fashions, run with that. Or just wear whatever you feel like. There’s a lady in the one fetlife group I really like (submissive men and the women who love them) who wears loud Hawaiian shirts to parties, both just because she likes to and because it makes her easy to find.

      The only reason I recommend either dark clothing or a tshirt with a kinky slogan is because I’m personally not comfortable standing out too much. If you don’t mind being dressed differently from the people around you and the party you’re going to doesn’t have a dress code, then you shouldn’t feel obligated to dress any particular way.

      Let me know if you have any more questions, as you can see I get pretty chatty if you ask me about something I have experience with 🙂

      • Ha, this is hilarious ) Poor guy! Didn’t see that coming ))

        >>giggle like, as a friend said, a five year old who’s going to stab you
        so this is where stabbity comes from!

        Thank you very much for your detailed reply. (I like chatty 🙂 ) You answered all my questions are more.
        We do have younger group, but it’s for 18-25. Anyway, I don’t mind teasing or whatever. As long as I’m not told to go away and mind my own business, because I’m “doing it wrong”. )
        Cosplay, really? o.O Dark clothing is a perfectly fine solution, I’d like to avoid standing out too.

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