A peep show into the Dayton kink community

By Claire D. Lune

Next time you are sitting with a group of friends, approach the subject of being choked in bed. Watch the reactions of those around you. Are they disgusted? Did they blush? Or was there a smile and nod of agreement?

Fetishes are not a new concept. History has always provided evidence that having a healthy sexual appetite is human nature. History, however, has also provided us with a rotating guideline for what is taboo in society. Being kinky hasn’t always been acceptable, and acting on those kinks is often criticized as deviant. But the times, they are a’changing.

In recent years, BDSM has found its way into mainstream media. This exposure has made it easier for people to find comfort in the idea that there are others like them out there. In fact, according to a 2005 survey by Durex, 36 percent of adults in the U.S. use masks, blindfolds, and bondage tools during sex.

Nine years ago, a little website called FetLife emerged to facilitate connections in the kink world and make a safer environment for relationships involving BDSM.

Nicknamed the “Facebook of the kink world,” it is an interactive, social networking site that allows those “naughty” fantasies we have to find a home amongst the millions of others swirling around the data sphere.

Dave, a contractor in the Dayton area and a member of FetLife on and off for 10 years, views the site as “an open and non-judgmental community.” Having his first experience when he was 19 (by accident), he has been dabbling ever since, with the support of his wife. Dave, bi-sexual submissive, who has been called a “faggot” in the past, believes that now is a better time for open-mindedness.

“We are not bad people, we’re just like everybody else. We just happen to like kinky things,” Dave states firmly.

And for many members this hope for acceptance seems to be the main draw of the site.

“FetLife has been absolutely useful in finding relationships,” says Jay, a local culinary professional in the Dayton area. “I have found both friends and relationships.”

Jay knows that, like with all aspects of life, there are stereotypes and preconceived notions about sexual activities. But he isn’t afraid to be who he is and help others find their way as well.

“People are judging the lifestyle based on opinions and reviews of people that are either not in the community or not educated about BDSM/kink and believing those opinions,” he says. “Don’t knock it until you try it. There are rules. There are safe words. Anything else would just be abuse.”

Lorelei, a medical professional in Dayton, found herself hesitating to join such a site because of its anonymous nature. “I thought FetLife would be a bunch of murderous freaks,” she says with a laugh. “The number one reason I joined was to meet real people.” Lorelei has since been to “munches,” “sloshes,” and “play parties.” Each one is a venue to meet like-minded individuals and begin those connections.

For Dayton members, the willingness to meet another local fetishist appears to be commonplace and practice.

“Everyone knows somebody, who knows somebody, who knows somebody,” she says. “If I want to try something then I have a huge safety net.”

One frustrating aspect for Lorelei, though, is the stereotype that women who participate in kink are emotionally damaged or are being victimized.

“I have actually talked to a lot of women who have a history of abuse, and this gives us control. We say no; we make the rules. And that stereotype that we are messed up is wrong. A lot of women say it is very liberating. I have no fear that someone is going to go too far.”

According to another member of both FetLife and the Dayton community, it’s incredibly important to be involved. “If you are not going out and letting people see that you are real then you aren’t making connections,” a self-employed, single mother says. “That’s what it’s all about to me – the connections. There is nothing better than sitting across from people and talking about anything without judgment.”

Sex is natural. Even kinky sex. And the members of FetLife and the local Dayton community of kinksters want you to know there is no judgment. That BDSM/kink has a monster umbrella where many fetishes fall under. If anyone is curious, join FetLife. Find your community and ask questions. Find your answers. Find yourself.

Curious and want to try? FetLife.com.

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Reach DCP freelance writer Claire D. Lune at ClaireDLune@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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