So…you’ve decided to embark on your first kinky conference expedition? I may be biased, but I think you’ve made an excellent choice, and I expect you’ll be glad you did. Submerging yourself in an environment of adventurous, open-minded, sex-positive humans can have intense, transformative effects on your perception of yourself and the rest of the world. Also, it’s a lot of fun.
I, for one, was thrown into my first kinky weekend with no idea what to expect. Was it wonderful? Yes. Would I have liked to be more prepared? Also yes. Without spoiling any surprises, I’d like to share with you some pointers I’ve compiled to help get you acclimated to the environment and maximize your potential of having the best event you possibly can.
DO your field research first (if you can)
Before you pack your bags full of toys, condoms, and sexy outfits and shipping yourself several cities, or even states, away for a full weekend of debauchery, try testing the waters a little closer to home if you are able to. Exploring new environments is a lot easier for most of us when we can duck out to a more familiar space without too much hassle. Not all of us have the privilege of living in a town teeming with fellow kinksters and parties, but if you have the option, I highly recommend dabbling before diving in the deep end.
DON’T forget to pack comfy clothes
I know, and I understand. You want to look your sexiest at all times all weekend. You want to attract the wandering eyes of prospective playmates. You want to finally rock that harness or corset that you’ve had hanging in your closet for the last five months. But trust me: within your first 24 hours on site, you’re going to wish you brought your sweats. I know the experience of planning our outfits for such occasions weeks in advance all too well, but when night falls and you see the littles frolicking in their unicorn onesies and what have you, you’ll know exactly what I mean.
DO network with fellow attendees beforehand
Just about every kink event I’ve ever attended has, at the very least, had a group on FetLife for attendees to connect with one another in the weeks, even months leading up to the event. I strongly suggest you use it. And by use it, I mean I strongly suggest you take some initiative. There will most likely be a thread where folks can introduce themselves and say what they’re looking for during the event. But a lot of folks will do just that (guilty). And very little progress will come out of that. It’s nerve-racking, I know, but try challenging yourself you reach out to one person who piques your interest and start a conversation. If nothing else, it’s great practice, but it could amount to much, much more.
DON’T push your boundaries beyond their limits
You have only a few days away from your “real life”, and it’s likely you want to fulfill as many fantasies and scratch as many itches as you possibly can in a very limited amount of time. But for the love of whatever deity you hold dear, please pace yourself. Bring a big ol’ water bottle, and fill it at every opportunity you get. Carry snacks with your condoms and lube. You won’t last that long in your rope suspension if you pass out from malnourishment or dehydration. Yes, I’m being a little dramatic, but I’m trying to prove a point. My first event, I was so drunk with power (and with alcohol) having submissives bring me cocktails all night that I forgot I hadn’t eaten since breakfast, and ended up leaving a seen to hurl in a bush. I don’t recommend it.
DO be prepared to take some risks
Shyness is going to be very, very common among this crowd. And most of the time, you aren’t going to pick up on it. I can’t tell you how many of my playmates have emerged from both of us meeting, being too chicken to say we were interested, connecting on FetLife after the event, and finally played at the next event. Someone is going to have to make the first move, and it might as well be you! As Reid Mihalko says, “Embrace the awkward.” Don’t feel like you have to be smooth if it’s not your personal style. Hell, one of my friends’ most successful pick-up lines is simply, “Hi, I’m [name]. I’m awkward.” My own go to is spontaneously blurting out “Hi! You’re cute! What’s your name?” (I promise you, it’s worked at least once.)
DON’T be too hard on yourself
When you’re immersed in a world of carnal shenanigans and you’re surrounded by hundreds of folks getting bound, whipped, fucked, and pummeled with various implements, it’s easy to fall into a competitive state of mind. I am probably more guilty than anyone I know of letting envy get the best of me in these sort of circumstances. There’s a saying circulating the internet that compares someone’s social media feed to a demo reel while their real life is equivalent to a director’s cut, and I think it’s similar at kink events. You may see hear someone screaming and moaning with pleasure (or, even more likely, pain) and assume they’re having the best weekend of their lives, when it may not be anything they would write home about (not that a lot of us will literally write home about any of these activities.) Don’t measure yourself by others’ experiences. Just do you, and be kind to yourself.
These are just a handfull of the things I wish I knew going into my first kink event. It’s a whirlwind of wonder and whimsy, and you will most likely love it, but for those who are easily overwhelmed, a little emotional preparing is ideal.
Lucas Brooks, also known as the Intellectual Homosexual, is a Boston-based writer, educator, and performer. His blog The Intellectual Homosexual has been named one of the top 100 sex blogs on the web by four different websites and magazines, including STDCheck.com, Between My Sheets, Kinkly, and Glamour Brazil. Over the last seven years he has traveled the continent with his one-man shows “VGL 5’4″ Top”, “Cootie Catcher”, and “Exit Through the D*ck Shop”. As a sex educator, he has presented at Dark Odyssey events, Catalyst Con, Arisia and at numerous colleges and universities.