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Savage Love: Showing Up 

How does one get into the gay BDSM bottoming and leather scene?

— Seeking Answers Concerning Kink

One shows up, SACK.

"Eighty percent of success is just showing up," someone or other once said. The adage applies to romantic/sexual success as well as professional success, SACK, but showing up easily accounts for 90 percent of success in the BDSM/leather/fetish scene. Because if you aren't showing up in kink spaces — online or IRL — your fellow kinksters won't be able to find or bind you.

"The leather scene is a diverse place with tons of outlets and avenues, depending on how you navigate your life and learn," said Amp from Watts the Safeword (wattsthesafeword.com), a kink and sex-ed website and YouTube channel. "When I was first getting started, I found a local leather contingent that held monthly bar nights and discussion groups that taught classes for kinksters at any level. It provided an easy way into the community, and it helped me meet new people, make new friends, and find trustworthy play partners. These contingents have Facebook groups or FetLife pages you can join. And YouTube has a channel for everyone in the kink spectrum from gay to straight to trans to nonbinary and beyond!"

"Recon.com is a great option for gay men," said Metal from the gay male bondage website MetalbondNYC.com. "It's a site where you can create a profile, window-shop for a play buddy, and 'check his references.' Even better, if you can, go to a public event like IML, MAL, or CLAW, or to a play party like the New York Bondage Club, where you can participate in a monitored space with other people around, or just watch the action. And if you do want to explore bondage, take precautions. Never get tied up in your own home by someone you don't know. If you go to his or her place, always tell a trusted friend where you are going. And when hooking up online, never use Craigslist."

"Be cautious," said Ruff of Ruff's Stuff blog. "There are people out there who view 'kink newbies' as prey. Anytime anyone — top or bottom — wants to rush into a power-exchange scene, that's a red flag. Always get to know a person first."

Follow Metal on Twitter @MetalbondNYC, follow Amp @Pup Amp, and follow Ruff @RuffsStuffBlog.

I'm a 28-year-old bi-curious female, and I ended a three-year straight LTR a month ago. My ex is a great guy, and causing him pain has been a loss on top of my own loss, but I know I did the right thing. Among other things, our sex life was bland and we had infrequent sex at best. Now I want to experiment, explore nonmonogamy, and have crazy and fulfilling sex with whoever tickles my fancy. I met a new guy two weeks ago, and the sex is incredible. We also immediately clicked and became friends. The problem? He says he's open to my terms — open/fuck-buddy situation — but things have quickly become relationship-ish. I like him, but I can't realistically picture us being a good LTR match. I'm hoping we can figure out something — like a sexual friendship where we enjoy and support each other and experiment together without tying ourselves down — but I have found very little evidence of such undefined relationships working without someone getting hurt. Any advice?

— Hoping Open Peaceful Experiences Feel Unlike Loss

If "someone might get hurt" is the standard you're going to apply to all future relationships, then you shouldn't date or fuck anyone else ever again, HOPEFUL, because there's always a chance someone is going to get hurt. There's no intimate human connection, sexual or otherwise, that doesn't leave us open to hurting or being hurt.

So fuck this guy on your own terms — but don't be too quick to dismiss the possibility of an LTR. Great sex and a good friendship make up a solid foundation. You're aware that nonmonogamous relationships are an option, and couples can explore nonmonogamy together. If you can have this guy and have your sexual adventures, too — this could be the start of something big.

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