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Young and Entering the scene

#1 User is offline   pennylane429 Icon

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 07:49 PM

Hi everyone! I'm new to the board but what I've read so far has been wonderfully helpful and comforting. This seemed like a good place to start asking questions before I go to my first in person event in a couple weeks. Any help you all can give would be incredibly appreciated!

I'm 18 and I've known about and understood (at least as far as possible at this point) the kinkier parts of my sexuality for several years. I'm a female, heterosexual submissive with a general sense of what I might be into. Because of the legal issue, I am just recently beginning serious exploration into the BDSM community. (For the record, I have read up on how to be safe, plan to attend my first several events only with groups in public places, and am not looking to play with anyone for some time until I know people who I trust within my local community).

One of my biggest concerns (today!) from corresponding with a regional organization and in reading other posts is that it seems I'm entering this really young. I'm willing to play with people older than me, but there's definitely an approximate age point at which I'd find it uncomfortable. I'm usually really open about discussing sex, so this next part bothers me, but it does weird me out a little to think of entering this community through people old enough to be my parents.

Does anyone have information and/or advice on how different ages interact in the BDSM community and how to find, within the larger community, a smaller one of people closer to my age?

Thanks!
-pennylane
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#2 User is offline   MasterDale Icon

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 09:48 PM

Hi pennylane. It really sounds like you have a handle on it and your concerns are really on the money. Acknowledging that is one thing. Finding your answers is another thing all together.

People who know me (and there are quite a few Board members who do) will tell you that I have this tendency to be pretty honest about things. Sometimes too honest. So let me say a few things that really hope will not offend you. I know that age can be a touchy issue....being young, being old, or attempting to do stuff if there is too big an age difference. I have the kinds of experience and insights that you can only get with age. You, at 18, have the brains the self awareness to move ahead with confidence. Sometimes youthful confidence and age/experience don't see eye to eye. I am aware of that. I dont mean to offend or anger. I am just calling them as I see them.

First...it's my feeling that most of us have to go through a good number of growth steps to be able to succeed in BDSM relationships. Anyone can do a good job as a bottom because the relationship only lasts as long as the scene you are in. But in a real relationship, and BDSM relationships certainly are real relationships, you have to have the emotional maturity, experience, and practice in the relationship skills to give it more than a passing shot. Most people younger than their mid 20's seem to really bounce from relationship to relationship with no concern beyond what they can get out of it for the moment. Part of that is because what you want that moment is evolving pretty fast. Stepping out of your parent's home, entering college or a work environment, roommates, your own place, your own job, your own debt and life in middle class......all start to change you and alter everything about the choices you make. So, it's no wonder that in the face of all of those changes, relationships are fast and passionate when you are younger. And they are not usually very durable.

One of the reasons why I set the minimum Board age at 21 is because of way people who are younger can be so unevolved as to need more parenting than BDSM advice. And that is not what this place is about. But I want you to know that you are welcome here unless someone voices a really huge problem. I think your writing and thought processes sound very mature and I am more than happy to help you sort things out if I can.

So how does your age relate to you entering BDSM? Well, I think you are at a disadvantage. Yes, you are probably very desirable for the same reason....everyone loves a sweet innocent young thing. Well, maybe not everyone, but a lot do. To most of those, you would be a toy or an easy conquest. To some others, you would simply be a trophy of sorts. Older, more experienced people have a lot they can teach you, for sure. But there is a big difference between being taught things and being in a BDSM relationship with them. And in case you haven't figured it out already, sex and BDSM are two separate things. Some people practice BDSM without sex. For others, they need sex as a completion to the BDSM foreplay. But these things are set up in each relationship the way the individuals choose to do it.

Setting things up in the beginning....also called negotiations....is a critical skill. Without experience, it is hard for anyone to be able to negotiate the things they want and the they things they dont want. I know I am generalizing again, but many young people simply don't have their negotiating skills developed enough to enter the arena with more experienced people. They can fall victim to that inexperience more than anyone's bad intentions. But the outcome can be the same....a bad experience. It only takes one really bad situation to take someone who would have thrived in the BDSM world and scare them away for good. I always hate to hear about that happening. I know that the BDSM lifestyle can really be a good thing for some people. But they get cheated out of it because their first experiences were bad.

Everyone has responsibility in their choices. You sound like you are already well on your way to making good ones. Still, there are too many things for you to know to make all the right choices. How many mistakes you make will be a function of your instincts, how much you learn to find others with more experience than yourself to use as friends, advisors, and reality testers. Once again, life experience and age can be your friend. Also, the word "No" is one of your best friends. Never be afraid to use it if you feel things are wrong for you. Never allow yourself to be compromised or bullied into something you don't want.

I don't know where you are located, but many larger cities have groups that are geared towards younger folks into BDSM. I have really mixed feelings about those groups. First, I dont much like any group being exclusionary. It's basic premise is discrimination. I also find that the most even keeled educators in this BDSM lifestyle are the older ones. While there may be some 50 year old Doms that would just die to get their mitts on a new 18 year old, there would be many more who would rather become your friend, guide you, show you some things, and generally help you find your way. In a group of "under 30's", I suspect that you would be the newest piece of meat on the menu and a lot of the men would be competing badly to see who could own you. You might be able to relate to a younger group more easily than one of all ages. But you also might learn harder lessons there, too. But regardless, the choice is your's. As I said, most larger cities have groups that are younger. You just have to do the homework to find them. There is no law that says you can only join one group, though. Even if you do find a younger group, you might want to keep yourself involved with an all-aged group just to get the benefits that the older members have to offer.

So...if I haven't offended you or bored you with my rambling yet...

Good luck on your first meets. Go slow. Set short limits on anything you do and stick to those limits. If you like it, you can always get more the next time. But if you take too much this time, you may not ever want a next time. One step at a time. And remember, you are entitled to use the word "NO" anytime you want to use it. Your worth as a submissive has nothing to do with refusing to go along with something you dont want to do. Make your first steps pleasurable. And make them your steps, not those that are dictated by someone else. You are fully responsible for your choices, so make them smart and make good ones.

And please do feel free to come back here with any questions you have about things that you need to consider or digest after the fact. We will help you where we can.

M. Dale
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#3 User is offline   Russell Icon

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 12:16 AM

I got involved in the scene when I was relatively young, back before TNG groups started to pop up, and I think I came out okay. ^-^

I do think the TNG groups are a really good thing. I was peripheral to the creation of the one here in Seattle (Ascension), and I've watched it be good for many. Before it existed, folks under about 25 would show up at the larger parties, and be uncomfortably lacking a peer group. Ascension has acted as sort of a gateway for younger people to get their feet wet and find a comfort zone. I'll second Dale's suggestion of not just going to TNG events though...
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#4 User is offline   otkrob Icon

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Posted 24 May 2009 - 09:35 PM

Hi - I am new to this board (and BDSM in general). Just getting my feet a bit wet here and say hello - Also searching out a new venue for me.

Rob

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Posted 25 May 2009 - 04:57 AM

View Postotkrob, on May 24 2009, 10:35 PM, said:

Hi - I am new to this board (and BDSM in general). Just getting my feet a bit wet here and say hello - Also searching out a new venue for me.
Rob


Rob,

There are many groups in the NYC area, even a few that are specifically geared to TNG folks (The Next Generation, for anyone not familiar with the term). Look up munches and demo groups in the area like TES, DomSubFriends, and tons of munches and social groups besides. If you need any direct links or specific info just let us know your needs and specific geographic area you want to limit yourself to and we can go from there.

Bon Voyage,
Bob
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#6 User is offline   MasterDale Icon

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Posted 25 May 2009 - 09:48 AM

Hiya Rob. Feel free to toss out anything for discussion. If it isn't in the best category, I can move it for you.

M. Dale
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#7 User is offline   Michael's jewel Icon

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Posted 02 June 2009 - 10:19 AM

A quick hello and some warm welcomes to rob and pennylane. Nice to meet each of you.

I don't have much to add to this topic other than what Dale has already advised. Keep in touch and pop in to let us know how things are going. I was clueless about sexuality at your age and I would saved a whole lot of angst had I understood some of the submissive and masochistic leanings that I did not find until my late 30s. I think that you are all really blessed in having some experience available to you. Make good use of it. :-)

Warmly,
Jules
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It was not my lips you kissed, but my soul."

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#8 User is offline   pennylane429 Icon

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Posted 05 July 2009 - 03:22 PM

I think it's taken me the better part of the past two months to formulate a response I was happy with and to find the time to write it. I'm pretty sure I have neither at the moment, but here goes anyways!

First and foremost, thank you so much everyone for replying. It's amazing to have resources like this available, and although I've basically grown up with all this online stuff here, I at least have a sense of how fortunate my generation is to be able to find people, groups, networks, etc. through the internet as opposed to generations before us.

Secondly, M. Dale, you didn't offend at all. I'm grateful that you took the time to reply so thoughtfully and I genuinely appreciate the honesty. Doesn't mean I always like it, but I have a pretty intense need to make rational decisions, and I can't do that if I don't have the truth of things figured out as best as possible. So again, thank you.

Everything you said about relationships, as I believe you alluded to, applies to relationships in general, not just BDSM ones exclusively. I guess I look at getting into a romantic BDSM relationship the same way I do getting into any romantic relationship, complete with all the good and bad. But there's also the option, with BDSM, to play and have scenes with people and not be romantically tied. I'd still have to have a relationship with someone to play with them and I'd have to be careful of my emotions, but I don't necessarily need a signficant other relationship Maybe now's a good time to say that I definitely don't need sex to be part of BDSM.

After reading what you said, I've definitely thought more about what my limits are and how I'd want to begin, and I'm not at the point where I'd feel comfortable doing something just yet without taking more time think things through. My planned first event didn't happen (ironically because of high school graduation) but I'm going to the boston fetish flea fair (can't ever remember the name) this coming weekend. I'm not taking it as a solid introduction, but I move to the D.C. area in a month so setting up connections here isn't particularly worthwhile or time efficient.

I wouldn't do a TNG group exclusively, but I do like the idea of having that as a subgroup, at least without ever having been to one. Also, I browsed around a lot before joining/posting and I didn't see an age limit, so, first, very sorry : ( , but I'm also wondering if maybe you subconsciously recognize the contradiction in a dislike of TNG groups for being discriminatory but still making the board 21 and over, and thus that's why finding that detail is nearly impossible...? ; ) (to be fair, I'm also wondering if I'm just being really oblivious and missing something obvious!)

I've always been very self-reflective and very principled. In who I am regularly, there's very little submissive in me, which is where a huge part of my need to release control comes from. I'm usually the one leading, always the one expected to have the answers, take control, help everyone (often at the sacrifice of taking care of myself), considered an adult because of maturity and intelligence or whatever it was even when I was a little kid. There are great, amazing things to all of that, which mean a whole lot of open doors and opportunities in my life, including the confidence to interact with people older than me. But it also takes a lot of effort and there's a huge part of me that wants a break, wants to give up control (needless to say within boundaries) to someone I trust and respect, and respect doesn't come altogether easily to me. To not have to be the one on top, or, more pointedly, to not be allowed that option. And to also know - within that relationship in the scene, and, presumably if I trust playing with that person, out of the scene as well - that I can have needs and ask for them to be fulfilled and want someone to protect me without being selfish or weak or unloved.

I've known there was something there, that I was eventually able to define and place into the BDSM/kink community, for at least the past seven years, and I can identify something being there back to when I was a a little kid (I will never fully understand how everyone found a 6yo writing poems about pirates torturing and whipping people to be cute and not disturbing!). Which I guess is where the part about it not all being sex comes in. I don't know how I knew or know already, if it's how I was raised or the experiences I've had or being self-aware or just sheer dumb luck, but I do know. This was the last big thing I clarified about myself over the last several years, and because it came last I was past the not accepting things about myself phase. And knowing something about myself, knowing it's important to me and who I am, and not acting on that doesn't sit well with me.

The only way I get offended about "the age issue" is if I'm judged or dismissed only because of my age and/or only because of ageist stereotypes (which isn't how I've felt here at all!) As to the age issue with entering the scene, I'm getting the sense that age plays much the same role here as it does in most other situations - it impacts how we view others, the likelihood (although not guarantee) that we've had certain experiences or developed certain skills, and it's one factor in defining relationships. I'll do what I can and I have no doubts that I'll be able to find people I trust with time. I'm less confident about finding people close enough in age (and all the factors that come with that) that I'd want to play with, but worse comes to worse I'll do something about that. But first steps first.

-pennylane
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#9 User is offline   MasterDale Icon

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Posted 06 July 2009 - 12:23 PM

Thanks again for a really thoughtful, centered post, pennylane.

I dont think I am as much an age-ist as an experience-ist. The policy about age on this Board wasn't set to exclude a certain age, so much as to exclude a common set of needs particular to people with less experience in life. Does that sound age-ist? I guess. But the needs of this Community, especially in it's heyday was reflected more around people who were a lot older and were looking at reforming their lives and self images, rather than starting out fresh in the way you are.

But as I said before, you are totally welcome here and I really do hope you use us to help answer some of the questions that come up for you. You certainly have a lot of things on your plate and a lot of changes to adjust to you as you prepare to move off to DC.

The Summer Fetish Flea is a nice event. It isn't such a big deal as far as BDSM goes. You might see some nice outfits and some interesting toys at the vendors' booths. But it is pretty tame there. I dont know if they do Demos in the summer flea or not. The winter flea has a lot of informative demos ( I have demo'ed there the past two years).

The DC area has some really top notch, well established groups that you might want to seek out. As with any large group, there are going to be some members of those groups who view fresh meat as something to conquer and own. You sound like you have a great head on your shoulders. If you treat people who come on to you the same way you might treat someone trying to pick you up at a dance, or at a club, then you are probably behaving the right way. You can be polite and say "no thanks". Or you can choose to get to know someone better. (Something that is always wise to do in BDSM). Move slow. Move a step at a time. Stay at YOUR level and dont let someone entice you too far over your head. Why? Because it is so easy to step into things you simply haven't built up to. And when you dont have enough experience to even know how to deal with something that is going out of your comfort zone, you can end up in a situation you will regret. I try to help people get into this and be happy...have no regrets. Usually, pacing yourself and having good people to talk to about things is the key. Make friends with other people who identify as you do...submissive, Dominant, Switch, slave, Mistress,,,etc. They can only tell you THEIR viewpoint, but it is a better way to learn than from someone who has decided to use you as the chippy of the month.

Best of luck with the move. If you are going to school there, good luck! Stay in touch, and dont be afraid to come here and ask questions about things you see coming up...or to help you digest things you have tried. Perspective is a wonderful thing to get.

M. Dale
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#10 User is offline   pennylane429 Icon

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Posted 27 July 2009 - 09:46 PM

So, here's a piece of this I didn't expect to have to deal with - demographics are one thing, lower age limits another. So many organizations are 21+ or 19+, the latter of which actually makes less sense to me. I at least understand the thought process behind the 21+, since some bars and clubs (though not all) are 21+, although I still disagree with the conclusion, as not all SM events are held at such venues. What I completely don't get the logic behind is the 19+. I can't think of any legal reason (I believe all our country's consent laws are between 16 and 18, which actually begs the question of why not 16? But I'll gladly take much smaller steps) or any other reason. The point being though, HUH???

I don't see any reason to apologize for having figured this out earlier than is perhaps the norm, I'm just, and I think understandably, excited and rather impatient to finally get involved. It seems strange (as it does for me in most similar situations) for a community that's so discriminated against that it has to be highly conscious of the logic and reasoning behind its actions doesn't seem to spot hypocrisy within itself. "Discrimination" is a rather hostile word, and something like "arbitrary (unintentional) exclusion" is probably more appropriate, but the end point's the same - I'm left confused and disappointed. I'm with AmeriCorps in D.C., just for a year, after which I move to an area with a much smaller city nearby with many fewer resources for college. And Black Rose is 19 and older?

Can anyone help explain this to me? Is it just not often brought up? Or are people not aware (b/c it's not brought up, probably) that even if they don't enforce that age limit as long as people are over 18 (as a couple places have told me), they're still losing interested, excited people by not making that very crystal clear on websites, etc?

: (
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#11 User is offline   ONEEOD Icon

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Posted 28 July 2009 - 04:57 AM

pennylane,

I am sure Dale is going to chime in with some insightful answer that will explain everything and will probably make sense to you (and to me) but I am going to jump ahead with my gut reaction.

Ask them.

Find their posting site, FetLife or Yahoo group, wherever, and in a public forum ask the owners and mediators to answer that question for you. Who knows, you just might cause them to reconsider (or consider, if they really haven't thought it out in the first place).

Occasionally there are outside causes of issues like this that we are not aware of, like the hall they use for meetings is a "19 and older" club due to having a beer license (which in some states may have a different age limit than liquor licenses). Or they might allow nudity but not liquor and that affects the age limit. Or, they just might be trying to keep out their kid sister who is 18.

A good idea is to do a little research beforehand, find out if there are any weird state or local laws. Find out where they meet and see if that is a "special" establishment. Then, ask clearly, concisely, and non-emotionally and I am sure someone will answer you. Might not be what you want to hear but you will have an answer. That is something we can't do from here.

Worse case scenario, travel to a place where you ARE allowed.

Good luck,
Bob
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#12 User is offline   lovely1 Icon

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Posted 13 January 2010 - 05:51 PM

Waaaaaaaaayyyy late chiming in here, but just wanted to add:

For some reason, in Utah the legal age for purchasing and/or using tabacco and porn is 19. Because the definition of 'pornography' is so vague, many discussion groups, websites, dungeon groups, play-parties, etc. that are Utah-based have 19 as the required age, so that they don't get into legal trouble.
"They all crossed into forbidden territory. They all tampered with the laws that lay down who should be loved, and how. And how much." --Arundhati Roy
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