Twenty-something kinksters are annoying.

Now, before you jump down my throat, Jana and I are twenty-something kinksters. We're currently going through the 'how do we integrate ourselves with an alternative community' thing, and being a twenty-something kinkster can be hard.

Thanks to the power of the internet, however, getting into the fantasy of BDSM is easy. With all of the materials available, the communities, and fiction, you can learn the concepts from the comfort of your living room - all without having a partner to explore it with. Which is where so many people go wrong, as they assume they have to be all bondage, all the time, and they end up flooding your inbox with garbage when all you want to do is talk shop.

When your entrance to BDSM is digital, and based purely on fantasy, it’s easy to approach the community with that fantasy mindset. And fantasy is great! Until it interferes with open and honest conversation. Figuring out where that line is and what to expect from the kink community is hard, especially when the millennial ego gets in the way. Having been there (and still working on it), here’s some general advice.

Be you.

Are you a Dom? Great! Are you a sub? Also great! Are you confused but find it all generally arousing? Still great! None of that matters, because your first job is to be nothing more or less than who you are.

Your preferred role, whether it’s in the bedroom, 24/7, or somewhere in between, has absolutely zero impact on how you interact with strangers. It doesn’t change how you start a conversation with someone you want to know (or play with), it doesn’t change how others respect you, and it won’t excuse bad behavior. Messaging strangers can be hard, especially when you’re doing so from what feels like a vulnerable position, but defaulting to “I’m an X, you’re a Y, we will mash genitals now” is a disservice to everyone.

Communicate

This one should be a no-brainer, but an easy thing for people to trip over is what and how they’re communicating. For Jana and I, we discovered our shared interests by accident, joking around in the kitchen. I’d made a crack about not doing something unless she was “A good girl” for the rest of the week, and she blushed so hard I thought I’d accidentally uncovered some sort of childhood trauma.

Turns out that we’re just kinky.

Prior to our current arrangement, neither of us had explored kink with another person. That first week, we spent more time researching than we did playing, but we did that research together. We’d talk about the things that turned us on, explore online, and see how aroused we’d get. We’d try things, talk extensively, and try more. We’ve got a pretty good idea of what our basic desires are, but we’ve still got a lot of exploring ahead of us. It’s an active, ongoing process.

When you’re hashing things out with a potential play partner, remember to approach it from both ends: what kind of a state you want to be in, and what will or won’t get you there. People can want the same thing for different reasons, and missing the difference can kill the mood. Talk about what you like, and don’t be afraid to explore why you like it. Don’t be afraid of saying ‘I don’t know, there’s just something about [THING].’ Even if it embarrasses you, the results are worth it.

Accept Change

Your taste in food, alcohol, and bad movies has changed over time, right? There were things that you liked when you were younger that don’t do it for you anymore. There are probably things that you used to hate that you’ve started to explore from a new perspective. The same goes for kink.

When you get into kink with a highly detailed and specific fantasy in mind, it can be hard getting past that one fantasy in order to explore the state of mind and physical experiences that you associate with it. Be ready to try different things, and don’t be worried if you find your tastes diverge from what you’ve read or watched.

I’ve seen countless ‘digital kinksters’ who have never played with a partner post exhaustive lists of what they ‘need.’ Every time you meet someone new, you have an opportunity to learn something new about yourself. If you lock yourself into accepting only one kind of play in the bedroom you’re not going to allow yourself to explore the root (and various extensions) of what really gets you off.

Be Ready to Fail

Knots are hard, using a whip is complicated, remembering a script is nigh-impossible mid-orgasm, and sometimes you laugh because nothing makes sense. Sometimes your head won’t be in it, sometimes your partner won’t pick up on your signals, and sometimes you’ll try to do something sexy and instead they’ll laugh.

Whatever you do, don’t take your failures to heart. There will be instances where one of you will safeword and you’ll feel like your entire game has fallen flat. You’ll end up discovering hard limits the hard way, and not know how to continue doing kink afterwards. You’ll do things that will embarrass you, shame you, and make you regret trying them in the first place.

And you know what? That’s okay. As long as you’re willing to own your actions, failing is okay. No one is perfect, because it takes failure to learn. No one expects you to be the best at what you do from the outset.

As a Dom, the thought of messing things up and hurting someone is a scary one. I’m protective of my friends; doubly so of Jana. I would never consciously push anyone past their hard limits, but I know I’m new to the scene and I still have a lot to learn. As such, I know I have to be authentic, patient, communicative, and modest enough to admit my faults.

The reason I opened this article with a critique of the twenty-something kinkster, is because modesty is an undervalued trait. It can be hard to join a tightly-knit community as both the ‘young guy’ and the ‘new guy,’ especially with the tendency to posture we all have on the internet. There’s such a push to present oneself as a caricature rather than as an authentic person that undercuts us all in so many ways.

If you're young and you're interested in exploring kink, go for it. Don't worry about posturing, don't worry about people thinking you're inept, just take the time to explore.

Do you have any stories about the mistakes you made when you first got into kink? Let us know!