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Homes away from home – My experiences with the BDSM community

Home is usually the place where we begin exploring all aspects of life. In India, one area that is often omitted from this exploration is sexuality. In most Indian households, irrespective of the socio-economic stratum, conversations around sex and sexuality are at best limited to reproductive health education or,at worst, sexist jokes and innuendo. In this environment, members of sexual minorities, such as queer people and people who practice BDSM, are not given access to the resources they need to express themselves freely.

I’d say there’s not much out there that prepares us for being kinky or engaging in the practices of SSC (Safe, Sane, and Consensual) or RACK (Risk Aware Consensual Kink), not much, except experiments and friends.

These are friends who we can trust with our lives, who won’t judge us and who will even watch our backs. But then isn’t that supposed to be your family’s job? Isn’t that supposed to be something that should happen at home?

Trust me when I say this, my own family (parents and siblings) is by far the most accepting and non-judgmental household that I have seen. However, what I have realized is that often we define “home” in such a restricted manner. It is only after I started exploring my sexuality that I realized what it is to find a home away from home.

My first significant experience with what I now call my extended family and my first chosen home was way back in 2011, when I was bouncing from major disturbances in my personal life. My sibling was sick, my family distributed across India, and I was in a major panic.

I remember calling an older guy friend from the BDSM community and asking for help. Word spread and I had a bunch of people standing by my side, including some I hadn’t even met before.

During the most critical first two months, one of these gentlemen was my resource for all things medical. One couple opened their home and their hearth for me. They continue to be family. A few others even opened their wallets, and almost all of them opened their hearts.

I was supported, loved, cherished, and held in ways that only families do. I was hosted at people’s homes, even with the risk of their families discovering or suspecting that I was a kinkster. But they trusted me like family does. Some of these places I still consider to be home – homes that I do not frequent much, but then I don’t frequent my own familial home much either. After all, migrants like us who come to Tier-1 cities to work don’t frequent our homes as much as we would like.

My second significant experience with a “home away from home” was when one of the Doms I was interacting with introduced me to not just his wife, but his closest friends and gave me a safe space in 2015. (A Dominant, a Master, or a Dom in BDSM is someone who is inclined to take control in relationships. There are of course, and this man was closer to being a Master.) I was unhappy in my well-paying job and I was not dating anyone – I was just living day-to-day in a mechanical limbo and laying low. After three years, this household is a place I can go to, any day, any time, whether I am in an emergency or not. This is one of those places where I am accepted for who I am, with no judgement.

And then, there’s the home where I live with a friend and her partner. Both know of my leanings for BDSM and alternative lifestyles, both engage in free discussion with me, both are my safe call, both bake me cakes on my birthday and feed me like a baby when I am sick. These are the people with whom I have found love, camaraderie, friendship, and trust.

Finally, there’s my parental home, my blood family. These are the people who also accept me for who I am and do not judge me for the choices I make, sexual or not. My mother gave me my basic reproductive health education well in advance of other children my age, my father has always had candid conversations around my choice of partners, my sexuality, and my preferences, and my siblings accept me as a queer (even if not active), kinky, poly person. They are all a part of my parental home. This is where I am loved absolutely and unconditionally for being what many would label a pervert, a slut, or other such names.

As a BDSM practitioner, it’s is personally difficult for me to imagine a life in a home full of elders, children, and extended family – the way Indian homes are. I know how difficult it can be to walk up to a parent and tell them that you’re poly, kinky, queer, or even asexual. I know how difficult it can be to have BDSM paraphernalia, toys and tools like ropes, floggers, crops, or other items in your stuff. I still don’t keep them at my parental home.

However, it’s equally difficult for me to imagine a household of young couples without kids, whether polyamorous or monogamous. For that matter, a small community of practicing kinksters who live together seems equally unattainable

Maybe I just got lucky. In that sense, I am honestly grateful for the homes I have found and the families I have been blessed with. While I’m scared that my luck may run out some day, I truly believe that it’s possible to find Homes away from Home, even when you’re a kinkster. All one needs to do is expand one’s definition of what home is.

Cover Image: https://www.lovetreats.in/

Article written by:

Asmi is an active BDSM practitioner, lifestyle coach based in India, a writer and a vocal, empowering person, who experiments actively with BDSM, feminism, LGBT, sexuality and erotica. She is very active in several real-world BDSM communities and has close connections with a wide spectrum of other practitioners both in India and globally. She has authored a series of 3 books about various aspects of BDSM, available on kindle. She can be reached on Facebook or via email at: asmi.uniqus@gmail.com

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