As you make your way through your own sexual discovery, you tend to spend the initial stages of this exploration within your mind. It's not common that you share this embryonic experience with others. Not yet. You play with the new sensations in your head. Flexing the new connections between stronger, fortified and maturing muscles. When you are ready (or more likely when you aren't), suddenly presented with a partner (or partners), you venture into an experimental stage with others. It's from this point where you forge deep, intimate connections with these individuals who share similar appetites as yours, each of you uncovering new forms of expression that broaden a nascent language of the skin and senses. If you are blessed, you look around this new world, and see similar souls, each seeking the same sexual sustenance - synchronicity, symbiosis, singularity.
But what happens if you are not fortunate enough to find those "others"? What happens if you discover that your sexual desires do not match the oft-repeated examples from society and culture around you? Do you start to doubt the authenticity of your needs and hungers? Do you embark on a long voyage of self-betrayal, doubt and denial?
It's been nearly 20 years since I saw my first fetish images from the unsanctioned use of an Internet-enabled computer I was stationed at for a mindless temp job (back then, "Internet-enabled" was in fact a very common thing). What I felt as I clicked through a seemingly endless assortment of grainy images of women clad - head-to-toe - in shiny rubber was a pulse that throbbed in me unlike anything else up to this point. It triggered alive some sort of contraption in my body that sought a source of fuel and energy not easily found, and more importantly, one that my then-current environment labeled as perverted, wrong and unacceptable. I was forced to take my sexuality deep underground.
This subterfuge led me to relocate to a different city, a much larger one, with the promise that I'd find other like-minded souls operating in a world where I could satisfy and explore this erotic currency much more freely. Since my emigration, there have been many unconnected experiences that have fulfilled, but even today, I cannot ignore my deep dissatisfaction with "the scene". As recently as this past Halloween, my girl and I went to the self-proclaimed "Premiere Fetish Play Party" in Gotham, only to be incredibly let down at how enormously disorganized and scattered this world was. I won't go into detail about what we encountered, only to say that if this is the preeminent celebration of kink in this metropolis, fetish is unattractive, sociopathic and rude. After an evening of extreme letdowns, I had to come to grips with the fact that in this massively chaotic and unbridled city, you still are not able to find the environment that permits you to foster the deep kind of intimacy you'd think a playground of this size would allow.
I wonder if those of you reading this have found similar disappointments. I invite you to share your experiences in the comments to this post. I'd really love to hear your successes and your misfortunes. Perhaps here on these pages, we can have a dialog over what sort of landscape we'd hope to find. Perhaps, we can find ways to not feel totally isolated and alone.