According to Erica: How to enter the scene and find play partners
Back in November when we did Love Our Lurkers Day, one of my de-lurkers asked, “How do you get into the scene and find a top?” I replied that I would delve into that in a separate post in the future. Then December came with all its holiday distractions and health issues and so forth, and writing went to the back burner. Now, since I didn’t end up seeing Steve this week after all (hopefully next week), and I’ve finished my work early, I thought I’d finally tackle this topic. (Grab a beverage. This is looooong.)
Please keep in mind — this is all subject to individual opinions and experiences. I am posting only according to my own. Yours may vary.
First, getting into the spanking scene. Lucky you, you’re living in the Internet age; literally everything out there is at your fingertips, waiting to be discovered and perused. Now you just have to do the search and put yourself out there. Sure, easy, right? (insert sarcastic face here)
Social media is very helpful. As much as it is loaded with minefields and can have a bit of a bad rep sometimes, for newbies I would suggest joining FetLife, which is like Facebook for kinky folks. Yes, it can be overwhelming — there are millions of members, and myriad kinks, some that will no doubt scare the bejesus out of you. And yes, there are some pictures that may give you nightmares for the rest of your natural life. But if you keep your focus on spanking, that will weed out a lot of what’s not needed.
Because you cannot search FetLife without joining, create a name and a profile. Fill out the profile; it doesn’t have to be epic, just an intro to who you are and what you’re seeking, your likes, dislikes, whatever. I also recommend putting up photos. They don’t have to be of your face, or even of you. However, if you put up a picture of a spanking scene you like, be sure, whenever possible, to credit where it came from, who it is, etc. If you don’t know, then put something in your caption like “Source unknown: anyone know?” Nothing pisses people off more quickly on FL than posting other people’s photos without proper credit.
After that, you can start looking around the site, finding friends, joining groups, etc. The search function can help you narrow things down. For example, when I plugged in “Spanking Los Angeles,” I got this:
I know this is tiny, sorry. But it says that there are 10 groups and 28 events, as well as listing members who have both spanking and Los Angeles in their profile. You can start there, looking up events, munches, etc. in your area. Of course, if you live in a well-populated large city, you’ll have more choices than if you live in the middle of nowhere. But people do often travel to meet friends and go to functions, so there is hope.
Back in the days of AOL dominance, there were chat rooms and groups and bulletin boards where people could post. Those went by the wayside a long time ago, unless there are some holdouts I don’t know about. Even the written blog is giving way to the Tumblr photo blogs. But still, there are ways to connect. You have to start somewhere, so FetLife is my best guess. If others have suggestions, please feel free to add them in your comments.
Once you’re there, read away. Check out the groups. Send friend requests and notes of intro to people you like. Be as open and friendly as you can be, while still maintaining your safety and privacy. Don’t give out personal information too quickly (your full name, email address, phone number, etc.). Women especially — befriend other women, so you can bounce things off them, have them to give you possible references, etc. I know we’ve all heard about the Mean Girls on these sites, and they do exist. But I’ll like to think that for the most part, we look out for one another.
It takes a leap of courage to take things offline and to physically attend a munch or a gathering. I would suggest, if they are available to you, go to munches first, which don’t involve play, just socializing in a restaurant or other public place, so there’s no pressure. When you’re new, listen a lot. Gather as much information from as many sources as you can. Be a sponge. There is much to learn. If you go to a munch and don’t care for it, try a different one. Pick out someone who appeals to you and ask them if they know other places to recommend. It’s all about connection and networking. The Internet does make it a lot easier, but also a great deal more complex. Be as patient as you can. If you’re seeking spanking and you end up at a munch that is more BDSM oriented, don’t fret. If you mention what you’re into, there are bound to be some people who know something or another about where you can home in on a group more specific to your desires. As I’ve mentioned before, when I was new, I went to a lot of BDSM functions and parties before finding the spanking parties.
OK, so you’ve waded in, looked around, perhaps make a few friends/connections. Now, how do you find a top? The first word that comes to mind is carefully. Very, very carefully. (For the sake of simplicity, I’m going to phrase the following as woman seeks man. Please swap out the pronouns in your mind as you read if it helps.)
Best case scenario: You go to a local munch, meet Mr. Wonderful, chat him up, meet one on one for coffee, and things click. Or you make some new friends who introduce you to Mr. Wonderful, vetting him in the process (although you still should do your own vetting). Hey, a woman can dream, and some people are lucky that way. But if not, then once again, you have to put yourself out there and take some leaps of faith. Carefully.
There used to be a lot more sites where people could put up a personal spanking ad, but now, they seem to have dwindled. There is a site called Spanking Personal Ads, which I can’t personally vouch for, but it looks to be pretty thorough and easy to navigate. When you write a profile for an ad site, be as specific as you need to be. State very clearly what you’re seeking… and what you’re not. Hate to say it, but on these sites, you’ll be more successful if you post a picture of yourself. Again, it doesn’t have to be your face, or you can pixelate/blur your face. But a potential playmate is going to want to know what you look like. Or, at the very least, write “photo available upon request” in your profile.
Females tend to be inundated as soon as they join one of these sites. Pick through the correspondence carefully — be prepared that some of it will be icky. But there may be gems as well.
Another potential site is good old Alt.com. Granted, I’ve posted more than my share of insults of that site over the years. Because it encompasses a lot of hard-core kink, you’ll see a whole lot more than spanking in there. You’ll see more dicks than a urologist. And I’d say 80% of my Correspondence Hall of Shame entries came from there. BUT. Again, patience. There are good people in there, too, and it doesn’t hurt to post a profile. Don’t pay for a membership; you can have a free one. Granted, it’s limited — you can’t contact people directly; you can only respond if they contact you. But it’s still worth a try. After all, I met Steve on Alt.com. I also met ST before him on Alt, and despite the way things ended between us, ST was a wonderful top.
When you start corresponding with men on these sites, I can’t emphasize this enough: Listen to your gut instincts. If someone is too pushy, tries to get you on the phone or to meet in person too quickly, if they are rude or crude, or if they simply give you an off vibe and you have no idea why, pay attention to that. Don’t try to talk yourself into something that doesn’t feel right, because you think you should, or because they try to coerce you. Newbies often fall into this trap — I did. Fortunately, I was never seriously hurt or abused, but I had my share of bad scenes and experiences, ones that could have been avoided. Always trust your gut.
If the man is local and wants to meet, I recommend doing so in a public place first. Some people meet for a meal, but I prefer coffee, so that food isn’t a distraction and I can concentrate on the person. Anyone who gives you resistance about meeting in public first? NEXT!
You may have a lot of these coffee dates. One of the reasons I had many in my earlier days was not just for safety’s sake, but I wanted to see if there was in-person chemistry before I committed to anything. No matter how great someone seems online, you really don’t know what they’re like until you see them up close and personal. Sometimes what works online falls flat in person. If this is the case, be kind, but let them know (gently) that you don’t think you’re a match. I never commit to playing with anyone (even at a party) until I’ve met them first. (Yes, I learned this from mistakes I’ve made.)
But say you click. Say the in-person chemistry is even better than online. You want to play with this guy, and the feeling is mutual. This is where you take the leap of faith, where you take the risk. Where you really, really have to listen to your instincts. Because you are about to make yourself vulnerable.
I don’t have to tell you about the bad things that can happen; you’ve heard them all. They’ve happened to people I know. It breaks my heart and makes me furious every time I hear bad stories, because I know they cause damage and reluctance and suspicion, and end up hurting the good players out there. I cannot blame women who have had bad experiences for giving up; it’s terrifying. And some may argue, with validity, that some fun spanking play isn’t worth risking your life for. But… damn. There’s so much good stuff, so many joyous experiences to be had, so many truly wonderful people to know. Please, please, if possible, don’t let the bad turn you away from the good.
Common sense is key. Don’t invite someone into your home, or go to their home, without a good solid feeling that they are trustworthy. (Do as I say, not as I do, with this one. Yup, I’ve had a couple of men come over in the past when I hadn’t met them publicly first. I was lucky that the experiences were awesome and hot. But it was still stupid of me.) Some women like to set up what’s known as a “safe call” — they let a friend know what they’re doing, and either the friend calls to check on them, or they agree to call the friend to let them know that they’re OK (and if the friend doesn’t hear from them, they call 911). I personally have never done this, but it adds an extra layer of safety.
Remember — you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. Even if you’ve gone through the vetting and the talking and the planning and the stating of limits and he’s finally with you, you can get a bad vibe at the last minute. Don’t hesitate to call things off if you do. I have. Had a guy come over once — we’d emailed, exchanged photos, met for coffee, clicked. But when he arrived and we started to play, he immediately pulled my cheeks apart and made a crass comment about my winking eye. I ended the scene right then and there and told him goodbye.
If the guy does nothing wrong, but the scene just doesn’t do it for you, then honor that. It’s not fun for either of you if it’s not working. Please don’t be discouraged if you have some dud meetings, or dud scenes. They happen. Move on to the next possibility and keep your eyes, mind and heart open. Through experimentation, you will learn how to balance healthy precaution with trust.
All this may sound like a lot of work, with no guarantee for return. But speaking for myself, after nearly 20 years, I’d say it’s all worth it. The joys and pleasures of finding good play partners far outweigh the inconveniences of weeding through the masses to find them. And having friends, a social circle of people who get you, get your kink, is priceless.
I could go on and on, and I’ve probably forgotten half of what I wanted to say. But for now, I’d say this is enough. Again, please feel free to ask more questions, or add your own input to this.
Oh, and on a personal note that has nothing to do with any of this: In the Spanking Blogg’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Spankees, I won third place. First place is the amazing Amber Pixie Wells, and 2nd place is Leia-Ann Woods. I’ve met both and they are lovely. Congratulations, and thank you to everyone who voted for me. I really am honored by this, considering that I got such a late start. I mean, I got into the scene and started doing videos and so forth at an age where many are retiring already. What a ride it’s been. It’s nice to feel appreciated. 🙂
Have a great weekend, y’all.