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And onto our second question, below!
Dear Wicked Mir –
I’m new in town, but not new to BDSM. I was really active in my hometown’s kink scene – I practically helped build it.
I’ve just moved to San Francisco. The scene here is big, and it’s kind of overwhelming. In my old town, I didn’t have to think much about how to connect with community. Even though there’s a lot happening in the San Francisco scene, I’m not quite sure how to plug into it. Any advice?
(she/ her pronouns)
Hi New –
Welcome to San Francisco! You’re right that there’s a lot going on here, and it can be hard to plug into it all.
I remember when I first moved to San Francisco. Making friends back in Austin and Houston seemed easy, especially since a friend of mine was already active in the Houston scene. I didn't have to think much about how to make new friends. Here, I didn't know anyone in the kink scene, and despite a few tentative trips to Leather Alley and Pride, it took me a while to get brave enough to connect with all the groups and resources here.
The advice I’m going to give you, my big secret, applies to nearly any local kink community.
The single best way to make new friends and get an insider’s perspective into a new kink scene is to volunteer!
Volunteers are the unsung heroes of the kink community. Whether it’s setting up a dungeon or house for the night’s play party, helping with classes and workshops, or putting on a huge kink convention, volunteers are the engines of every local kink community.
Most play parties, classes and conventions offer free or discounted admission to volunteers. That can help you to check out more of the scene in your new town without spending a lot of money on classes and events. And if you're anything like me, volunteering helps by giving you a sense of place and belonging at the events you attend. You'll have a chance to make new friends, meet great people, ask questions, and also build a sense of real investment in your local scene.
My first few parties were at Mission Control, where I would put in some time cleaning, or setting up, or (after a while) helping newcomers get oriented to the party's rules. I got to chat with my fellow party attendees, meet the other volunteers, and felt instantly welcomed. Before very long, I felt like Mission Control's Velvet party was home.
Barista Asher offers one cautionary note: when volunteering, you might find that a specific organization, party or venue just isn't a good fit for you, which might feel like a waste of your time. The way to make the best of this is to go slowly. Volunteer for individual events or classes, and hold off making long-term commitments too quickly. Treat it like dating. Just like early dates, your goal at first is to get to know the group, see if you're a good fit, and hopefully have a great time doing it. If a particular group, venue or event isn't a good fit for you, that's good information!
Welcome, and good luck!
PS: Hey readers! Have other suggestions? Make ‘em in the comments below!
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