So you’re kinky, or at least curious. Where do you go from there? This guide should help you at least know where to start.
What is the kink community?
“The kink community” is a blanket term for a lot of different organizations and people who share a common interest in kinky activities. There may be several different organized groups within one geographic area, all with different goals and approaches; these can range from loosely-structured collectives (like Utah TNG) to heavily ritualistic, organized, old-school leather groups.
All of the groups together form the community (or “scene”). The goals and purpose of the community at large include arranging events and attempting to provide a safe, supportive environment for people to explore their interests.
Why a community?
Kink is a very private sort of thing, so it can seem odd at first that kinky people have structured themselves into a community. However, there are a lot of benefits to it:
- A lot of kinky activities can be dangerous, especially in inexperienced hands; a community allows members to share knowledge, teach each other, and learn things they might not have access to otherwise.
- It provides a way to vet people; if someone at a play party ignores someone’s safeword, or does something stupid and hurts someone else, the whole community knows and can take precautions or kick that person out. That can’t happen the same way within kink as practiced by individuals.
- A lot of kink can require some really specific tools and equipment; any individual who isn’t a billionaire CEO isn’t going to be able to afford a nice, well-appointed dungeon, but a group as a whole can work together for that.
If I’m kinky, do I have to be involved in the community?
Of course not. There are plenty of people out there who are kinky as shit who would rather explore it in the privacy of their own bedroom, or who just aren’t interested in joining a community of like-minded perverts.
That being said, there are a lot of advantages to joining a kink community. Some of them are outlined in the “why a community?” section, but here are a few others:
- Access to community resources like dungeon furniture.
- It’s a great place to meet people who share your interests, or who you at least know are open to them.
- It’s a fantastic way to be exposed to new ideas and new types of play. Sometimes you don’t even realize you’re into something until you see it in action, and suddenly it’s your new favorite thing.
- You can make friends! The community is filled with all different kinds of people from all walks of life, all drawn together by shared interests and experiences. .
What differentiates Utah TNG from the other local groups?
Utah TNG — “The Next Generation” — is for younger participants, aged 18-35, and their partners. We aim to make sure that young new attendees are safe and comfortable as they get involved in the community and explore their interests; as such, our guidelines on consent are stronger than a lot of other groups’. We’re loosely-structured and fairly libertarian compared to the local leather organizations, and emphasize free expression of interests over structured roles.
I want to get involved. Where do I start?
The best place to get involved is by going to a “munch,” which is a laid-back, nonsexual gathering of kinky people. Munches are a good way to meet the community and learn the lay of the land. You can read all about munches in the “What is a Munch?” article
Another great way to get started is to reach out to the Utah TNG administrative staff online. The UtahTNG account is jointly managed by the admins, and the group leaders for the FetLife Utah TNG group are the administrators’ individual accounts.
I want to go to a party. How do I do that?
Utah TNG’s parties require a “sponsor” — someone who will vouch for you, that you aren’t likely to harm yourself or the other community members if you get involved. You can often find a sponsor by coming to a munch; if that doesn’t work with your schedule, contact the admins. We can set up a time to meet up with you for coffee (or whatever).
What are some things that will help if I want to get involved?
First of all, don’t be afraid to go to events. The best way to get involved in the community is, well, to get involved in the community. Go to events. Be polite. Volunteer to help. Be a nice person. Respect the community, and respect yourself, and you’ll be welcome.
What are some things I should avoid as I’m getting involved?
A common outside perception of the kink community is that it’s kind of “anything goes” — show up and some domme lady (“dominatrix,” as they always put it) might just decide to shove you into a gimp suit and make you her dog, whether you like it or not. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Power exchange relationships — where one person is dominant, or “on top” and the other is submissive or “on bottom” — only exist when they’re negotiated between two individual people. Maybe you feel like a born slave and want everyone to treat you like shit, or a born mistress and everyone should bow to you, but until you negotiate that with someone, you’re equals. Don’t demand that anyone call you by the title you’ve chosen, be it “slave,” “domina,” “sexbot 69k,” or anything else.
Don’t touch anyone, or anyone’s things, without their permission. Unless you have an established relationship, treat everyone with the same respect that you would treat any given vanilla stranger.
Don’t stereotype; don’t allow others to stereotype you. The most soft-spoken, meek, sweet young woman in the room can be the biggest sadist you’ve ever met; a huge, the-Rock-style hulking man-beast could be a submissive teddy bear. No matter who you are or how you identify, your role (or lack thereof) is your prerogative and no one else’s; don’t try to dictate anyone else’s, and don’t allow anyone to try and dictate yours.
What are some tips for staying safe?
Utah TNG has a lot of rules that are geared towards making sure that anyone, from any background, can be safe and comfortable in our spaces. If you’re young, shy, awkward, intimidated by the community, have trouble asserting yourself, or anything like that, we’ll do what we can to help and make sure you’re still able to have a good, safe time. However, beyond that, there are a few specific things that can help.
- Be prepared to say no. As much as we try to encourage “yes means yes” at TNG, sometimes people just don’t take a hint; don’t agree to a scene if you aren’t comfortable with it.
- Keep it public at first. If someone you don’t know very well invites you back to his private penthouse sex dungeon for the night, that’s actually a big red flag. Small, semi-private gatherings can be dangerous as well. It’s never a bad idea to get to know someone in a public setting, like a munch or a play party, before you agree to go anywhere private with them.
- Ask for references. If you’re interested in playing with someone, but don’t know them well, ask them to refer you to someone they’ve played with before. If they don’t have anyone to refer you to, proceed with caution.
- Find a mentor. You shouldn’t feel like you need to do this alone. Send a message to any of the TNG admin staff and we’ll help to answer your questions and introduce you to the community, or put you in touch with the resources you want. The TNG Minister of Compliance, Jane (jane-bondage), put this material together and is a good first contact point if you’re curious but unsure.
- Don’t combine substance use and play. We have strict rules against alcohol and other drugs at our parties, and for good reason.
You didn’t answer my question.
Sorry! Send your question to UtahTNG or ask any admin and we’ll do our best. If it’s an especially good question we’ll add it and our answer to the FAQ.