I started volunteering very soon after I joined in August of 2010. I didn’t know anyone, and knew very little about the kink community, although I had been polyamorous for most of my life. There were a lot of other vanilla newbies who joined at the same time. We banded together to explore as a group, and this “buddy system” worked very well for us. So we designed a program to help other newcomers. By February 2011 I was running the Passport Program, a sort of “welcome wagon” to help educate and orient new members. There have been hundreds of people who’ve participated in the program in the last five years.
Now, the thing about educating people is that you have to be educated yourself. So I did a lot of research, talked to a lot of people, went to workshops, and as my knowledge grew I was able to pass more along to new members. I’ve also partnered with several other volunteers over the years, who shared their experience with me and with new members. I got to know the Center very well, and concepts and practices of the kink community. And I was able to share my own experiences as I explored my own sex-positive path.
Parties at the Center were also essential to my growth. My favorites are separated into two kinds: socials and impact parties. Socials like the Poly Social and Boarding Pass and the Hump Social let me talk to new people in a low-stress environment. These are where I met most of my play partners. I most enjoy playing at BDSM parties that are impact-focused. Especially those that have music with a driving beat, the better to smack to. My favorites are In Irons and the Grind. These parties also allow sex, which is a big plus for those of us whose play involves it.
I sometimes run into former Passport members at these parties. It’s really gratifying to have people look me up months or even years later and tell me how much the Passport helped them fit in and feel comfortable at the Center. People have meet friends and even partners through the program.
So, I know my efforts have made a difference, both for new members and for me. Now the Passport program has expanded and we welcome a lot of non-members too. For some it’s their first exposure to the Center. That welcoming presence has been significant to a lot of people. Many who participate in the program go on to become volunteers themselves. It’s a virtuous cycle: the help you give others expands your own experience, and so you’re able to even better help others. So volunteering helps the whole community – and the person it helps the most might just be yourself.
–Panda has been a member at the Center for six years. His previous article is Stepping Stones to Sex Positivity.
Steady yourselves, I’m going to recommend an article in Glamour magazine.
But first I want to talk about Veronica Mars. You remember Veronica Mars right? A TV show a few years back, it featured Kristen Bell as a high school girl who helped solve cases that came in to her Dad’s detective agency. But what sucked me in right away was her backstory. Continue reading
I have been in the kink/leather community for the past 5+ years and I am also a gay man living with HIV for the past six years. I know all too well what it is like to have stigma attached to my life. I have navigated the sex sites, the apps, and sexual encounters, during which time I have been marginalized by more people than I would care to mention. Continue reading
Dark & Dirty
Doing it Over the Edge!
Please join us this Friday for the inaugural Dark & Dirty party! Cosponsored by Seattle Women in Leather and Seattle Girls of Leather, this kinky party features top tastings, demonstrations, and play that goes over the edge! If you are a woman or feel you belong in women’s BDSM space, please come for the fun! Continue reading
My first kid was actually conceived at the Spot,* in the big bondage bed. It was one of those things that was brought up during orientations for many years afterward and I’ve had several partners who have gone – “oh that was you? – cool!!”
I’ve enjoyed volunteering when I can, I’ve done that at some of the first Paradise and SEAF events and its been very rewarding. For the folks who, like me, sometimes find it hard to be extroverted and meet folks, volunteering is a great way to do that. I would highly recommend it.
I remember awhile back volunteering to help get the Raw space up and going, knocking doors through, tearing up the old stage and clearing up so much crud! I was one of many, and there were folks who did oh-so-much-more than I. However, several things stick out in my mind. Continue reading
There was a knock on the door, and I answered it wearing my bathrobe. It was one of my partners, who was coming over for a visit.
He joined me in the bedroom. We sat on the bed talking for a moment, then he started kissing my knee. I mentioned I hadn’t eaten yet, so we headed into the kitchen so I could heat up some leftovers. Continue reading
My first experience with the Center was when I was visiting from Kansas in 2003 and the friend I was staying with brought me to The Wetspot, and more specifically to The Grind. He’d been telling me that it would blow my mind, and he was right! People were so open about what they wanted and who they were – with regards to gender, orientation and sexuality. Even from the start, I was at ease, comfortable even. There was just something so freeing about being where I didn’t have to pretend about who I was and what I enjoyed – I finally felt like I found where I belonged. Continue reading