So you have finally come to the realisation that you are either Dominant or submissive, or at least that you are interested enough in either of these that you want to explore the possibilities they offer further. The question is, how do you find someone with whom to explore them, without jeopardising your safety or discretion?
In this wired world, many people get their first introduction into BDSM online. While chat rooms are a great place to meet and talk to people about the lifestyle, only rarely do such online connections lead to successful, long lasting real relationships. In fact, when it comes to finding a real life partner online relationships can be a hindrance rather than a help. Why? Because once you are involved in an online relationship you will almost certainly focus on that rather than on finding a real life partner. Time and time again I have people tell me about this wonderful long distance relationship they have, and time and time again those relationships fall apart. Relationships need contact, they need smiles and hugs and togetherness. They need sex. Without these things they are almost bound to fail.
In my opinion, people all too often fall into the trap of thinking that they can convert their online relationship into real life without considering the practicalities of a) moving hundreds of miles away from friends and family to be with a partner they hardly know and b) making the relationship work once they get there. I know some people do manage it, but the fact is chat room relationships rarely turn into successful real life ones. If you're serious about finding a real life partner concentrate on that rather than on cyber sex.
I personally know a submissive who dedicated a year to an online relationship and when she and her prospective Master finally met, they lasted less than a week. A year is an awful amount of time to waste.
A better way to find that perfect Dom or sub, is to hook into the local 'scene' (there's bound to be one) and to attend various club events, play parties, munches and so forth. However, before you dash off to look up BDSM Clubs in the yellow pages, be aware that many of the folk who attend such events are pretty much 'out there' as far as their sexual proclivities are concerned, and consequently their sense of discretion may not be what you would hope it to be. If you're not reasonably comfortable with being asked "who were those leather clad weirdo's I saw you with Saturday?" you're better off giving them a wide berth.
To my mind, one of the most effective ways to meet a partner is to advertise on line. Effective that is, if you approach it with a healthy degree of caution, and just a little common sense. On line services like these are discrete and reliable, allow you to be very specific about what you want and are cost effective, but (there's always a but right?) to make the most of them you do have to use them properly.
Step 1 - Prepare
You need to determine for yourself (as best you can) who you are and what you are looking for in a partner. I know this can be difficult if you're totally new to the lifestyle, but do your best. Are you looking for a long-term relationship or a one-off /casual play partner? What sort of activities appeal to you? What are you really looking for in a partner? What do you have to offer? Use your imagination and put yourself into a 'virtual' D/s relationship. What is the relationship like? How does your partner treat you? What are the relationships governing rules?
What happens when the rules are broken? Spend some time thinking about these questions and build a picture in your mind of the relationship that you want. When the picture is reasonably clear, write it down.
Once you have a pretty good idea of what sort of relationship you're looking for, you can start to prepare yourself for it. You may want to read some of the articles on this and other sites and look at some of the books in the Book List section.
As a rule of thumb Dominants can best prepare by understanding as best they can what makes a sub tick and submissives can best prepare by learning the attitude and some of the skills a typical Master may demand of them.
By the way - you may feel that preparing for a relationship is a little clinical and takes some of the romance out of it, but I beg to differ. Our upbringing and day-to-day experiences go a long way towards preparing us for a vanilla relationship - so why should D/s one be any different?
Step 2 - Advertise
Take care in creating your advertisement (also known as a profile) - it's worth spending a bit of time on it and getting right, and a well crafted ad that's free of spelling mistakes and grammatical errors is much more attractive than one that looks as though it's been thrown together in 5 seconds. Use that mental image of your ideal relationship as your guide, but be honest. Don't make the mistake of overstating your experience, and be clear about any practical limitations you may have.
You want to reach as wide and audience as possible, so join and create a free profile on at least two specifically kink related personal ad sites and one vanilla site (if you word your ad properly you'll be surprised at how effective a vanilla site can be).
Once you have completed your profile, browse through some of the other advertisements specific to your area to get a feel for whose out there and what they are looking for. Free membership to most of these sites limits the number of ads you can look at and / or respond to in a given period so it's certainly worth thinking about paying for membership to at least one of them. In most cases a three-month membership (which should be plenty) can be pretty cheap when you consider the impact it might have on the rest of your life.
Step 3 - Taking it further
Okay, so your profile is complete and you just have to sit back and wait for the replies to roll in right? Wrong! You must also reply to other people's ads submissives in particular seem to feel that they ought not to not 'make the first move', but if the Doms didn't want replies they wouldn't have placed the ad in the first place. Someone has to get this thing going, and by responding to ads as well as waiting for others to reply to yours, you double your chances of connecting with the right person.
(A note for subs - it's not uncommon for personals sites to allow free female members to reply to ads but not to allow free male advertisers to do so - all the more reason for you to reply to ads, and all the more reason for the men to stump up with the cash to become a paid up member.)
A few Do's and don'ts:
Tell the advertiser what attracted you to their ad, and a little bit about yourself
Be open and honest about your personal circumstances, what you are looking for and what you look like
Be polite and avoid crudity
Take your time to get the reply right
Include an anonymous email address (one you have set up on hotmail.com specifically for the purpose)
Include your phone number or anything that might identify you
Be tempted to respond to more than 4 or 5 ads at a time
Overstate your interests or experience
Reply to ads that clearly don't fit your requirements, or where you don't fit theirs
Reply to ads where the advertiser lives way outside your local geographic area.
Once you start getting replies, it's important that you reply to every single one of them, even if it's just to say thanks but no thanks. Remember, by placing an advertisement you're asking people to respond. Not bothering to reply to them when they have taken the trouble to do as you've asked is downright rude.
Step 4 - Meeting
So, it's finally happened. You've received a load of replies to your ad, responded to one or two and you think you've found 'the one'. What next? Well that's really up to you, but I suggest a number of emails back and forth about what each of you are looking for, followed by some very long 'getting to know you' phone calls. Don't be in too much of a hurry - if they really are 'the one', they'll wait.
Just before I go though, a few points about first time meeting safety - particularly for the ladies:
Meet in a public place, and stay there for the duration of the first meeting.
Have a safety net in place - tell someone where you are going, who you are meeting and when you will be back. Set up a system whereby they will call in the cavalry if you don't call them at a pre-determined time.
Don't 'play' with the person you are meeting on the first date.
Be wary of giving out your home address to anyone until you know him or her well.
Take a mobile phone with you.
Trust your instincts - if it feels wrong - get out. It's pointlesss wasting time and energy on a relationship that doesn't feel right. Don't fool yourself into believing that it might change for the better if you hang in there.
Finally good luck! I hope you find that perfect partner and it all works out well for you.
Adapted and Added To
Original Author unknown