We were just looking for a gaming group.
See, my husband and I just moved. A job transfer to Louisiana meant all sorts of exciting changes, but also leaving behind all of our friends. We didn’t know anyone here at all. So we went online looking for places to meet fellow nerds.
We found one in the form of a local BDSM club hosting a regular board game night. Now, I love board games. I thoroughly enjoy BDSM. But neither of us had ever considered joining a club of this sort before. The idea seemed ridiculous. After all, I’ve never had a problem finding partners interested in BDSM in the past, and meeting them naturally ensured that we had other things in common than just kink.
On the other hand, board games. We went to a munch at a coffee shop and left with membership cards and a giddy sense of rebelliousness. We played board games with them the next week. A month later, we went to our first play party.
It got me thinking.
I am new to the scene, but not to BDSM. I’ve been toying with different permutations and degrees of the acronym since my very first boyfriend, at fifteen. I’ve tried to get almost every sexual partner I’ve had to indulge my kinks to some degree, mostly asking them to hurt me, sometimes hurting them, occasionally awkwardly hashing out some sort of d/s dynamic in the process. I’m bisexual and a switch. I have crazy stories. Hilarious stories. Hours, nights, whole weekends spent in a whirl of violent eroticism that begs to be described, even bragged about.
Women talk about sex. I’m sure men do, too, but even in groups where I’ve felt like one of the “guys,” men have never discussed sex in the kind of detail that women do. At least, not in front of me. And when I’ve been out with vanilla friends or co-workers, and conversation turns to sex, I get quiet. I couldn’t imagine adding my stories to theirs. They’d think I was a freak.
I did eventually “come out” to a vanilla friend, about six months ago. We were working in a bookstore when the hype about Fifty Shades of Grey hit its highest point, and suddenly BDSM was an acronym everyone knew, and everyone wanted to talk about. She was mocking the book–we all mocked it, though none of us read more than a few random paragraphs–and said something like “no one actually gets off on that. I mean, it’s just something extreme and messed up to read about, like true crime. Anyone who actually did it would have to be a sociopath.”
I had to say something. “I do that. Do you think I’m a sociopath?”
She tried to laugh. I had a bruise, marks from teeth and cane, running from my inner elbow all the way to my sternum. I showed her part of it. She got quiet. She didn’t want to know. This was a close friend, someone I worked with, talked to every day. I helped plan her wedding, even. But she didn’t want to know. We’re still friends, but it’s very clear that that chapter of the book of Nic is not one she’s interested in reading.
I’ve joined a BDSM club. We were just looking for a gaming group, but we found people who share an interest and don’t think we’re freaks (well, at least not for that.) It’s more of a relief than I ever would have thought. And even more than the cicadas and humidity and green Southern trees, these people have made moving to Louisiana feel like coming home.