Thankfully, San Francisco offers a wealth of resources for newcomers. Here are just a few groups and events you might want to check out.
Society of Janus (SoJ) is the second oldest BDSM education organization in the US, having celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2014. As you might imagine, SoJ offers a wealth of resources for people of all levels of experience and interests within the kink community.
If you're just starting out, the Society of Janus Newcomers Coffee Social (second Monday evening of every month at Wicked Grounds, 7pm) is an excellent all-purpose resource. The Welcoming Director and other officers are on hand to give a quick introduction to kink, answer your questions, and help connect newbies with groups relevant to their specific interests. Because the social is held at Wicked Grounds, you can count on being able to speak plainly and safely about kink while in a welcoming and cozy environment.
If you're interested in starting to play publicly, you probably have a lot of questions about local playspaces and dungeon etiquette. Never fear! The good folks at SF's local dungeon The Citadel offer the Citadel Newbie Munch (first Saturday evening of every month at Wicked Grounds, 6pm), with the whole time devoted to the public scene, dungeon culture, and what to expect specifically at the Citadel. The munch wraps up with a walk over to tour the Citadel, and attendees receive discounted admission to that evening's public play party.
The SoJ and Citadel newbie resources are both geared toward individuals of all genders and sexual orientations. If you're looking to play in specifically queer spaces, there are additional resources available.
Foundations -- the opening tier of LeatherQuest -- offers classes to people of all genders who identify with leather culture specifically. LeatherQuest is pansexual and open to all orientations, but tends to have a larger inclusion of queer and trans folks than many other pansexual organizations. Their offerings are very focused on creating a complete leather education. They offer classes twice a month in SOMA, and also have an open munch at 7pm the fourth Friday of every month at Wicked Grounds. (This Fetlife group for Foundations requires a FetLife login.)
The Exiles is an educational group for women and those who identify as other than male who have a positive personal interest in BDSM between women. They offer regular beginners orientations and classes throughout the Bay Area.
For gay and queer men, the Rubber Men of San Francisco has just started a newbie munch called Amped! (Second Sunday of every month at Wicked Grounds, 7pm). RMSF is run by rubber-men for rubber-men, and welcomes male-identified individuals of all ages and experience levels. If you're just getting started in local gay leather and latex culture, Amped offers a welcoming environment to discover local resources for your kink.
These resources are just the beginning of the vast BDSM education resources in SF. If you've been reluctant to get involved with the local kink scene, every one of these offers a fun, low-key and welcoming environment to get your questions answered, and help find the specific groups and classes that are the best fit for you!
What other resources would you recommend? Let us know in the comments below.