Lifestyle Dominant and professional sex educator – Master Dominic – helps to answer members' questions and provide advice to those exploring BDSM and fetish relationships.
"I really wanted to go to some of the Fetish Week events this year, but I don't know anyone aside from people I chat to online and I've never been to a sex/fetish event, so I ended up not going to any and regret it. I get shy and awkward around new people as it is, so I'm a bit freaked out at the idea of going to a fetish night. What advise do you have for my first venture onto the scene? What should I expect and how should I act?"
Master Dominic writes:
Hello, gentle soul! It's completely normal to feel anxious and overwhelmed at the idea of attend-ing your first event; especially if you're thinking about going alone. Believe it or not, I used to feel the same way about social events, too. That's something that I found to be deeply reassuring once I started going – literally everybody there is, or was, anxious and nervous about going to an event at some point in their lives. That should provide you with some comfort; there will be countless other newbies at any event you go to who feel the same way you do. Sorry bubs, but you aren't a special case, and that's a good thing!
First off, you need to have a good think about what event you're going to. Find one that you like the sound of, that appeals to your kinks and that you don't find completely terrifying. I'd advise one of the more general-themed Recon branded events – these are aimed at the whole spectrum of the fetish scene and give you more freedom to go with the flow, rather than going for a specific reason. Going in with no set expectation is usually a reliable method of relieving anxiety; having a fixed idea of what you'll be getting up to is setting yourself up to feel disappointed if that specific thing doesn't happen. Don't be determined to get laid, or make new friends, just go with the in-tention of having a great time in a great outfit.
A lot of the anxiety or hesitation newcomers face is down to their idea of a fetish night being a bit wrong. Sure, it's a sexual environment, but this notion that you're bombarded with butts as soon as you walk through the door simply isn't accurate. Unless you're going to a hardcore private play party (which I can't imagine you're planning on for your first time) you'll find it's oddly familiar and comfortable. There's a bar, music, dance floors and people having a chat, just like any other club. It's kind of a jarring experience to see people in jockstraps and catsuits just hanging out, but again, in a good way. I assure you, most of your nerves will disappear as soon as you realise they're just here for a good time in the same way you are.
While I'm on the topic of bars and dance floors; don't get wasted! It's always tempting to run straight for the bar and neck 3 or 4 drinks in rapid succession to soothe nerves. Don't! One or two beers might help lubricate you (I'm hilarious), sure, but getting hammered will stop you being able to read social situations properly and may cloud your judgement when it comes to any sexual activ-ity. You might think you're being charming and witty when you're drunk, but actually, you're just being drunk. People are less likely to want to chat to you (and play with you) if you're shitfaced! So, pace between alcoholic drinks and soft drinks. Your dignity will thank you in the morning.
Onto the actual socialising: take a deep breath, walk up to someone in the smoking area or at the bar and introduce yourself. Ask them their name and if they're enjoying their evening. Surprise, they didn't unhinge their jaw and swallow you whole – they replied! Who'd have thought it'd be that easy, eh? Most kinksters are a friendly bunch and will be more than happy to chat to you. Here's where it can get confusing to newbies; this doesn't mean the person you're chatting to wants to fuck you. You have no idea what they're here for, what their relationship status is, and so on. When in doubt, ask. Seriously. "Are you looking for fun tonight?" – this might get met with a "no", but that's ok. You've saved yourself any embarrassment from leaning in for a kiss and being knocked back, AND it means you've just made a platonic friend. It doesn't mean you're any less gorgeous or desirable if you get rejected, don't take it that way. Finish your conversation with your new friend and go onto the next activity you fancy. Dance, get another drink, go for a look at the play areas.
As far as play areas go, it's relatively common sense as to how you should behave. Don't interrupt a couple or group who are in the middle of getting busy, don't get too close to anyone giving someone a whipping or flogging and never, ever touch someone without consent. Wearing gear, no matter how revealing DOES NOT equal consent. Simply stand at a polite distance, watch what's going on, enjoy the spectacle. By all means, strike up a conversation with a fellow spectator or wait until someone talks to you. Then, take it from there, much like you did with the new friend you made earlier. As far as what you and this fellow spectator get up to from here, well, I'll leave that up to you…
If you'd like to ask our Uncle of Agony for advice relating to your fetishes and kinks – either with your username or anonymous - please send your question FAO: Uncle of Agony to: firstname.lastname@example.org