Author: Jack Rinella © 1999
Used With Author(s) Permission
There are two reasons why I write about fear as often as I do. The first is because it is has had such a profound impact on my own life; the second because it is highly prevalent among novice Leather folk and those curious about our lifestyle.
It is paranoia about who we are and what we do that restrains a great number of those who fantasize about SM from doing anything more than dreaming.
I don't think I need to berate the subject since most of us have had a similar experience. It is fear that keeps us from exploring, experimenting, and ultimately enjoying a fulfilling kinky life.
There are all sorts of fears, of course: fear of rejection, failure, exposure, injury, discrimination, ostracism, and disease. In the earliest stages of any SM exploration it is fear of the unknown that is most crippling. Fortunately, that is a fear that can be overcome. Here then are my suggestions.
1. Inform yourself.
You see, I'm of the opinion that we need to start slowly and rationally.
Reading is easy, inexpensive, non-committal, private, and readily available.
An authentic and viable Leather lifestyle cannot be built on the "lessons" found in one-handed reading. Hot stories are great for jerking off, disastrous for establishing relationships, learning correct techniques, and understanding the real dynamics of SM. Reading disperses ignorance. It sheds light on the unknown, thus dispelling fear.
2. Keep a journal.
A couple of years ago I was hot on the tail of a slave applicant from Los Angeles. Though we had an extended time of correspondence and a weekend of rather good sex, he wasn't able to get past what he called his "confusion." He couldn't decide, he said, because he was confused.
As it turns out the guy was no dummy. He was a skilled biologist and prided himself on his ability to use the scientific method. Where he failed was in not using a scientific method in his approach to SM.
Ask a question. Form a hypothesis. Design a way to test it. Review the results to see if the hypothesis is correct. Modify the question, the hypothesis, or the experiment until you get a satisfactory answer. Scientists keep journals about their experiments. I'm advising the same approach.
3. Find a mentor/guide/counselor.
Note that I didn't say "Find a partner." Even though many of us have learned a great deal from our sex partners, it helps to get advice and counsel from someone who doesn't have an emotional, physical, or sexual stake in the outcome.
I'm especially leery of self-proclaimed experts who use their experience to get who and what they want in bed. That's not to say that you should avoid sex with an expert. Instead keep a clear head about what's going on and a right prospective on what you're doing.
After all, I learned most of what I know from sex partners. Happily, though, they were partners who understood where I was and who placed no demands on me for commitment, for service, or for compensation.
4. Take small steps.
When I say that the vast majority of us live regular, non-Leather lives, I mean that it applies to most, if not all, of us. Even the gung-ho fanatics, and here I include myself, do lots of regular, normal, everyday things. In that regard being a Leather person is no different than being an avid golfer, stamp collector, or opera buff.
5. Decide nothing now. Make no promises.
In the long run, of course, you will want to get in or get out. What I am saying is that you make that commitment not at the beginning of the learning curve but only after you have learned enough to make an intelligent and informed decision.
6. Listen to your feelings and understand them.
One's entree into Leather usually begins with inner stirrings of desire
and curiosity. I invite you to follow them cautiously and realistically.
Emotions, fears, and doubts will come and go. Find some way to understand why that is so.
While I don't want to make a big deal about introspection, it can be helpful, especially when directed by a competent counselor. Retrospection, too, can help you see how you got where you are and what might need to be encouraged, what should be avoided. After all, even a "bad" event can hold a significant learning experience that guides us to really good events.
So take a deep breath, relax, and experiment one day at a time. Change is inevitable, the future cannot be stopped, and in truth, that which you fear the most will never come.