Vir Cotto's BDSM Blog

Events Are A Good Thing (or: Kink isn't territorial)

I am lucky enough to live in one of the small pockets of the world that has an active BDSM community. And I'm privileged enough to be a part of that community through TES. If you look at the events in NYC for this week on Fetlife, I see nearly 80 events in the next week. That's more than ten events per day in the NYC area for people who are interested in many forms of kink (BDSM, polyamory, swingers, etc.). I feel blessed.

Occasionally I talk to people in various parts of the country and the world and do this same lookup and I find maybe a single event per month, or less. I feel sad for people in that area because I sincerely believe that to do this lifestyle well, you need a community.

Yesterday someone on my friends feed proposed running a munch and the response was swift and negative. People began questioning their motives, questioning why they haven't been more active, etc. I was blown away by the open hostility. The message was clear, "This territory is claimed. Move on"

I get very sad when I see this kind of response. It belies some very destructive assumptions. First, it presumes that two events can't co-exist in the same area. This is demonstrably false. We see many groups that run similar events in the same area. Where I live in New York, there are nearly a half dozen active rope events. Different people attend different events, but there is also a great deal of crossover. This makes rope more accessible and shows people that there is a healthy diversity of rope events in the city.

Other events outside of kink have this too. On I know of four active board game groups in New York City, not to mention even more specific meetups such for specific subgenres such as Settlers of Catan and Monopoly. It's hard not to see the parallels. More groups means more opportunity for participation. It grows the community. It's healthy!

Yet yesterday I saw open attacks based on just talking about having an event. I'm shocked and saddened by this, and so I offer some tips:

If you are the person accused of this, I have some general advice for you. I wrote about this in a post a few months ago This pie is too small to cut up. I recommend reading it. If you haven't been to other local events of the same type, please go. Get involved and participate in the older group. Make sure your event isn't on the same day as the other event so people have the opportunity to go to both and if the other organizer lets you, encourage cross promotion if and find ways to work together.

If you're on the other side and feel like your territory has been encroached upon- take a moment to reflect. Take this situation as an opportunity. Someone else is now working to advertise the same thing you are in your area, growing your potential audience! Check in with the other event organizer to see if there's some opportunity for cross promotion, or if it is fueled by animosity. Also take this opportunity to check in with people from the past that you may have turned away or offended. Check yourself and your group to ensure that it's welcoming and warm to newcomers and that people who are consistent attendees and contributors feel they're included. Solicit feedback for how to improve not only from not only within but also outside your community.

Remember that people walking in from the street are not going to be part of your feud, and unless the other event is specifically dangerous remember that a rising tide raises all boats. A new event promoting kink, or your kink does not diminish your value, it increases it.

Ultimately we all want more access to kink. Let's work together and make that happen!