sexy girl at computerIf it weren’t for the internet, I might never have learned about BDSM. At least, nothing beyond the mainstream pop culture nonsense.

Remember the 90s, when chat rooms were popular? Remember DALnet and Undernet? That’s where I first dipped my toes into the wonderful world of kink. I’d always been curious about it, but had no idea how to learn anything or where to find people who actually practiced it. Then I started hanging out in chat rooms and discovered that several of them were dedicated to kink. I jumped into the deep end head-first and, fortunately, managed not to drown.

My first attempts at cyber-scenes showed how clueless I was. I actually started out thinking I was a Domme. Ha! It didn’t take long for me to realize just how wrong I was about that. But the more I hung around and paid attention to the experienced people, the more I learned.

Book cover Tarnsmen of GorI’m not one to sit on the sidelines. What I wanted was good old cybersex, BDSM style. I wanted to play, experiment, and experience, albeit virtually. I ended up gravitating toward the Gorean rooms because they had the most active role playing. (Goreans are a sub-set of BDSM practitioners who base their lifestyle on the Gorean novels by John Norman.) For a while, I was totally into the Gorean scene. I had the books, knew all the poses and proper techniques for serving, and how a slave was supposed to talk. But after a while I got tired of the rigid rules (no pun intended) and the sexism. All in all, though, it was great fun, and I learned a lot. I’ve always had a tendency to live in my own fantasy world, and BDSM chat rooms allowed me to play out my fantasies with other people.

Some of the folks I played with had no idea what they were doing. Some were experienced, and taught me what real world BDSM was all about. It took me a while to figure out which were posers and which were the real deal. At that point, I was ready to leave cyberspace and try it for real.

I met my first r/l BDSM partners in chat rooms. We progressed from cyber space to phone calls, and finally face-to-face. A lot of my friends gave me dire warnings: he might kill you! You could disappear and never be seen again! All of which was true. But by then I was so eager to try that I took the risk. And, of course, I took precautions. I gave my friends info on where I was going to be, the name of the person I’d be with, and arranged check-in calls. (If I didn’t call to check in and let them know I was ok, they were to call the cops immediately.) I’d like to think it was a result of my good character judgment, but I suspect it was just as much luck that kept me from getting into trouble.

Movie Secretary

The Secretary, starring James Spader and Maggie Gyllenhaal

As you might imagine, I got a mixed bag. Some of them were only so-so (like the r/l Gorean party I attended. Eek. No offense to you Goreans out there, it just isn’t my bag.) But most were good, and some were even great. I was particularly lucky to have a good first experience. I’d been having phone sex with a guy who had a voice like Sam Elliott, which turned me into a gooey puddle. I happened to be in his part of the country on a business trip, so we hooked up and he eased me into the scene in an absolutely delicious way. I never saw him again, but am grateful for his skill and sensitivity.

I think the internet is why BDSM is coming out of the closet, so to speak, and entering mainstream culture in movies (The Secretary) and books (50 Shades of Grey). People have better access to accurate info, can read about real life experiences of people who practice it, and learn that they aren’t freaks. That other people out there get turned on by “weird” things, too. It’s much easier to find local clubs and play parties if you want to give it a try. So here’s to the web: thanks for opening up a whole new world to me.