As kinksters, we have to deal with prejudices and lack of understanding. It is not easy being kinky. Being gay is hard enough, coming out as gay is hard enough. But gay kinksters have to do everything twice, we have to realize our sexuality twice and come out twice. As a kinkster with social anxiety, it’s even harder. Not only do I have people in the real world telling me I’m not good enough or I’m a degenerate but I have to deal with my own head allowing these horrible people to get the better of me and working myself up to the point I don’t participate in social events or even really hook up or play. I decided to write about this topic because I think it’s important to discuss real issues and maybe connect with other people who have the same issues.
When I go out to events the most common fears/ anxieties that occur to me are: not being good enough, being singled out, having people think I don’t belong, and just being alone.
There are people out there who assure me these fears occur all the time to a lot of people and they work through them and push forward. However, I never was able to just will myself to participate and get over that hump and do something social. I had to work and work just to be able to go to a bar for my first time. This year at MAL I accomplished something I once thought I’d never do, I went alone to a social event. My friend I went to MAL with was ‘busy’ (I’ll let your imagination go wild with that euphemism) and couldn’t go with me to the rubber social. The rubber social was supposed to be one of the highlights of the weekend for gimpy me, and it was but I was forced to go alone. It may not sound like a huge deal, but for me it was. I had to use every coping tool I had available just to get in the door. For me, that’s the hardest part. Just entering a space with a group of people I’m not familiar with is often an insurmountable hurdle.
Once I managed to calm down enough, I left my hotel room in my gimp gear and made my way downstairs. The entire way down I was making my plan of attack and working through my opening lines and conversation starters. Upon entering the reception room I immediately found a quiet corner to work from. This is one of the coping methods I frequently use; I set up ‘home base’ in a quiet spot and work myself into the crowd from there and return if I need a moment.
After the majority of people arrived and party began, I tried to find some of my online acquaintances. I managed to find a semi-local guy who I had been chatting with on recon for months and had yet to meet. We spotted each other and began a conversation that lasted for quite some time and allowed me to become comfortable with the room and people. Doing this is honestly this is the best pieces of advice I have ever received from a fellow social anxiety sufferer. Find someone you know even if it’s just a tiny, tiny bit and use your time chatting with them to get comfortable. The other thing I try to do is if I see that person again chatting with someone else I just casually check back in with them and see who they’re talking to. I’ve honestly met more people that way than I can count. And as a rule, regardless of what the anxiety monster in my head tells me, the people I’ve met in the kink world are pretty cool and are generally supportive.
While it wasn’t possible at the rubber event because I wanted to be identified by friends and acquaintances, I’d also add being hooded provides me with immense confidence (something I think many pups have figured out.) It may be just a flimsy piece of .25mm rubber but it might as well be kevlar. Once I have my hood on and I’m just the slightest bit familiar with a space I’m the most social person in the room. I was in full gimp gear dancing with hotel security and staff and roaming the halls talking to people I’d never met and probably will never meet again. Sadly being hooded really isn’t a solution to anxiety. And to be honest, neither are the other things I’ve mentioned. I think I’ve come to realize there is no solution to anxiety, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be tamed or defeated.
I’m sure I’ll touch on this topic again, thanks for bearing with gimp while it figures out how to be a better and more active kinkster.
And for those of you out there like me, speak up. It sucks being alone, especially when we don’t have to be.