I messaged someone who was new to the lifestyle community, as I had seen her reference 50 Shades of Grey, and also mention she was curious to explore and learn more. But she also mentioned that 50 Shades haters, need not message her. The conversation happened on a BDSM lifestyle focused website. Here was my introduction message:
"Hate is a strong word :) What you watch and are entertained by, differs from person to person. 50 shades is a fantasy story, about as realistic as pretty woman. But a lot of people were inspired by it... and inspiration is good. Just, it is important to point out that that is not a prime example of how things are, or should be in any D/s situation."
"Hmm. Well I imagine that what u say is correct however I don't have any or much experience with real life BDSM for me to be able to truly agree. Everything that happened in these books COULD happen in real life. It may be a fictional story but there are no flying monkeys or aliens or unbelievable scenarios that are just impossible to happen in real life. I think that's part of the appeal for me. The way Christian seduces and fucks Ana in the story is possible and I would absolutely love to be able to feel how he makes her feel. I could read this story over and over (and I do, frequently) just to live vicariously for a moment or two; because honestly, I have never ever been turned on the way she gets turned on, by another person male or female... I guess I'm just craving that level of intimacy and arousal that Ana displays in this book, and the BDSM aspects are what I know turn me on the most."
"~nods~ It indeed could happen. But what I am saying is that there are aspects to that story which are not ideal or not what should be considered as a responsible lifestyle. One of the biggest things is the lack of aftercare. While I will say that, yes, 50 shades does give us a view into the passion and kink aspect of the lifestyle, it leaves out other aspects which are important as well - without which such a relationship would degrade quickly. :)"
"I am very intrigued now, what in 50 Shades is NOT ideal? You said the lack of aftercare - explain? What else isn't what happens in real life?"
"Aftercare is the cuddling, and care for the sub after any kind of play which could be considered to be exhausting or painful. Either mentally, physically or emotionally exhausting. So, basically everything from locking a sub in a sensory depravation chamber, or tying them up for a while, to administering floggings...
To be used in such a way, and then taken advantage of, and then left alone, is a kin to abuse. It is very important for a sub to receive some time to calm down, and be comforted by their Dom after such traumatic events, in order to enforce the security and to help let the sub know that they are safe, and always were safe. Yes some subs, indeed, wish to be used and tossed away, but over time that begins to form a mental stigma, and can lead to depression. A good Dom will always want the best for their sub, especially health wise, and would not wish to steer them in this direction.
Such leads into the subject of 'subspace' and the need for a Dom to be aware of this state of mind, and ensure that their sub is safe and calmed down, before leaving them alone. 'sub space' is indeed a real thing, and I myself have experienced it. It is kinda like being drunk, and high at the same time. Very euphoric, but also kinda dangerous if you wander out into a busy street, and aren't paying attention."
I don't know if you could have answered that question anymore thoroughly if you tried! Thank you so much. I appreciate your knowledge and experience. I think it is safe for me to say that this is the most informational conversation I have had since I discovered this site and in turn it feels right to say that this is also my favorite. :) I do genuinely feel like I am headed in the right direction getting more into this lifestyle, the hardest part for now just finding a teacher. I have a certain distrust for the Internet so I think it might take a while to do that. I would love to go to a munch but I want to go to the right one to start, I don't want my first munch to be a horrible experience that makes me never want to go to another one (lol). I'm finding the more I go about this site the more I realize how big of a site it is and I'm sure I can eventually find something suitable to my likings. I just hope it doesn't take too long.
I think it is good to be cautious on this site, and others. ~sighs slightly...~ While I cringe a little at saying this, I would say a safe way to 'learn' a little more about the lifestyle, is to join IMVU and get 'AP'. There is a rather large BDSM community there, and most people there just like to partake in fantasy and roleplay. The cringing part, is because, since it is fantasy and online, many of the people there who claim to be certain roles, are likely not truly capable of performing those roles, and are just posing for the feeling of power, and the fantasy of it all. But in the end, while sometimes real feelings do get involved, it is a safe place to gather information and viewpoints. Just beware that sometimes those viewpoints are ill-informed or based in fantasy.
As for munches. Some are just simple public lunch gatherings, while others are a bit more private. Of course that situation can be intimidating, but remember, that you have to consent to anything, and if you want to sit off to the side, as many do, and watch, no one will (or 'should') pressure you to do otherwise.
A good thing to remember, is that not all Doms are indeed Masters or responsible Doms. These are titles people usually give themselves, and as with anything self labeled, the definitions are based more on what the person wants to portray themselves as, as opposed to what they really are. As a sub, you are the one who must CHOOSE to submit to a Dom of your liking. Your submission is a very special gift that you should only give to someone who is special to you. Someone who you look up to as an angel. Sometimes it can take a while to find a right pairing, it is best to be patient, and not settle.