from the Submissive Guide Newsletter for 11/07/15
Have you ever felt like you are all alone in this loud crowded world of kink? That the things you enjoy are uncommon. Or perhaps you have circumstances that govern how you play or what your relationships are like. It's not that you are alone, not at all. The world of kink is huge and there are people just like you out there. But screaming above the din may be hard.
So why do you feel like you must be the only one who feels a certain way or wants to experience one thing or another that no one else could possibly enjoy? I know I felt very alone when I first started exploring BDSM because I was doing it online. It was safe, I was married at the time and the only way I had to learn and explore was through the computer. Going to my local munch I felt like everyone stared at me like I was a freak, that online chick and that I wasn't a real kinkster since I didn't have a Dom I could see and play with. I've definitely moved past being an online submissive but not before I learned some very valuable things about me and why I felt so alone.
If you frequent the online forums for BDSM or kink it's a common question from a lot of people; "am I the only one?" And you will often get the same answer although it could be nice or snarky.
"No, there are far too many kinky people for you to be the only one."
"Yes, you are just a special little snowflake."
The underlying response to this question is simple, but the reason the person asked it is because it doesn't feel simple to them. I agree, that some of you may think this person it just looking for attention but it could also be something else entirely. So, perhaps you put your feet in their shoes for a moment. Here's a few of the reasons these questions come up so much;
1. They feel alone. Often these are the people who have just started exploring their desires and have only recently got the guts to ask questions and look for more information. The internet is full of people looking for answers to these questions that appear so simple, for the plain truth that they need to feel like they are part of something larger. And what is coming back to them is while the internet is so vast, they feel like they are all alone in it.
2. They feel like they shouldn't be interested or like "X". This person has probably been taught to walk the line, be socially acceptable and not rock the boat. Realizing they may be different is jarring. I get messages all the time from people asking me if it's okay to like spanking or why it's okay to enjoy being called a slut during sex. And these are the tame ones. They need confirmation that they are normal it what they are learning about themselves is normal.
3. They don't want to be considered weird, but really need to know if it's true. This one piggy-backs the previous. The person has all these thoughts that collide and they are afraid that if they tell someone that they will be considered a freak and may even lose relationships for their desires. Part of their asking if they are the only one is to provide their reasoning with ammo to use against those who would tell them they are freaks. And still more need to convince themselves they aren't strange.
4. They don't know how to find like-minded people to talk to about the things they are learning about themselves. It's a comfort to know that there are other people out there that will get you. Even if you aren't fast friends, the fact you can find a group of people who will listen to you non-judgmentally and understand where you are coming from is a confidence boost.
Once you can see why these questions come up what do I ask you do about it? Give the person compassion, not snark. Help them if you feel you can. Don't make them feel like their question is stupid and useless. Even if they are just looking for attention, you can bet that there are other people, lurkers, that really want to know the answer to that question. This is all a part of good social etiquette online.
Wait, you don't know what good social etiquette is on forums? There are no clear rules, but below are some guidelines you may want to follow:
- Read the forums rules and guidelines before posting for the first time.
- Search the other posts to see if your topic is already covered.
- Use a meaningful title for your thread.
- Do not use a forum to promote your product, service or business.
- Be civil. Personal differences should be handled through email or IM and not through posts displayed to everyone.
- Stay on topic.
- Ignore spammers, respond to them personally and not through the board, or report them.
- In order to be understood by most people, use correct spelling, grammar and avoid slang unless you know the word or phrase will be understood by other members.
- Do not double post (post the same message twice in one thread) or cross post (place the same message across several forums).
- Act in a give and take manner; help others as often as or more than you ask for help.
- Do not use all caps or SHOUT in your posts. In addition, one exclamation point is enough.
- When replying to a post, do not quote more from the previous post than you have to.
- Do not post new problems on someone else's thread and interrupt a topic of discussion.
- Do not use someone else’s thread for a private conversation.
- Watch your sense of humor, posts may be read by people from a variety of backgrounds and ages.
- Do not use a huge and annoying signature, a modest signature is fine, moderators may remove large ones anyway.
- Do not post any information that you want private. Posts should not contain personal, identifiable information or content embarrassing to others.
- Do not post content that violates a copyright or the site's terms of service. Note: That implies you've read the terms of service.
- Do not post ”empty” or useless responses, such as just ”lol” or ”cool.” Only post responses when you have something to contribute.
- Write concisely and do not ramble.
- Do not use words like ”urgent” or ”important” in your subject line, be patient.
- Do not chastise newbies.
- Do not comment on the personal situation surrounding the question unless it directly pertains to what the person is seeking.
- Don't Be A Troll. A "troll" is a person who breaks netiquette on a regular basis by posting inflammatory messages (called a flame) when responding to other users in the forums.
With this list, I hope you can learn to embrace the new person and help them come to terms with how they are feeling. And if you just needed a reminder on how to act on forums, this was useful to you also. You were there once.
Thoughts to Ponder
- Have you ever felt that you were alone when it came to something related to kink? How did you resolve that feeling?
- Were you ever treated poorly in a forum when you asked what you thought was an honest question?