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Savage Love: Working the Kinks Out 

Dear Dan,

I'm what was once quaintly called a "woman of a certain age" who started reading your column to broaden my horizons. As a result, some curiosities peeped their heads over the boundaries of my once happily repressed existence. I summoned the courage to join an online BDSM dating site. I got a response almost immediately from a man who decided to fill me in on how things worked. He proceeded to tell me my name would henceforth be Sub, advised me that he was to be addressed as His Majesty King Something, and ordered me to phone him. This was too much, too fast, and too weird. I gave him what I thought was a plausible excuse for my decision not to proceed. He wouldn't take no for an answer. I tried blocking him, but he seemed to have several identities on the same site. Now I'm in a bit of a quandary as to where to seek out other options—preferably options that are safer and not so ritualistically restrictive.

Fear Of Flying

"When folks first decide to explore a curiosity in kink or BDSM, one of the things I let them know is that this loose band of variegated kinky types—the kink community—is NOT a utopia of ultimate sexual enlightenment," said Mollena Williams, a kinky author, activist, and blogger. "The kink community is a microcosm of the broader society, from the lowest common denominator to the crème de la crème."

Sadly, FOF, it sounds like one of your first interactions was with a LowCom, not a CrèmeDe. "I wish I could say her experience is unique," said Williams. "The same creeps, jerks, and assholes on standard dating sites are on BDSM-centric sites."

So what can you do? "Block the trolls," said Williams, "and seek out the awesome folks who are also hanging out at sites like FetLife.com, ALT.com, iTaboo.com, and BDSMfriendbook.com. A kink-friendly profile on a non-kink site is another option. I met my current dominant partner on OkCupid because my profile reveals that I happen to be a big old pervert. That caught his eye. Kinky folks are everywhere!"

You also have offline options, FOF. "She can find local events by checking out Caryl's BDSM Page (drkdesyre.com) or by joining FetLife and searching events in her area," said Williams. "She can attend munches, which are nonsexual social meet and greets, and classes are good places to meet people who are experienced." Essentially, dating in the kink world is no different than dating in the default world. Always meet on an equal footing first. Get to know potential partners and THEN decide if you've got enough in common to proceed."

Two suggestions from me: Get a copy of Playing Well with Others: Your Field Guide to Discovering, Exploring and Navigating the Kink, Leather and BDSM Communities by Mollena Williams and Lee Harrington.

Dear Dan,

I am married to a man who is into BDSM. I am happy to do lighter stuff, but I am not interested in squeezing into an uncomfortable corset and using a flogger on him. So I gave him permission to visit a pro. It seemed like a good idea at the time. The pressure was off me, he was getting what he needed, our relationship and sex life improved. But I had no idea how much pros cost! He has been going to see a pro twice a month and spends $200+ on each visit! I expected that he would go a few times a year and that these "sessions" would cost $100 a pop. We are supposed to be saving to buy a home! I asked him to cut back and go see someone cheaper, and he became angry and defensive. Please help! What is a reasonable number of times to see a pro? What is a reasonable rate? What about a couple's budget and plans for the future?

He Spent More Than I Thought

Two hundred dollars a session—$200 an hour—isn't unreasonable when you consider a professional dom's overheard and fixed costs. But unless money is no object and/or you're single, blowing $400+ a month on visits to a pro dom is unreasonable and unfair. Since there aren't many pro doms out there who work for $100 an hour—or many partners as understanding as you—your husband should think about cutting way the fuck back. But here's something for you to think about, HSMTIT: You say all those sessions with a professional dominant have improved your relationship and your sex life. If your husband were spending $100 a week to see a shrink—$5,200 a year—and you were seeing those kinds of results, would you object?

Sports talk with Dan's brother Billy at savagelovecast.com.

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