It almost goes without saying that the Internet is an endless source of information about where to meet up with other like-minded folks, kinky classes, and specialty groups. In the Boston area alone, there's a healthy handful of kink/fetish groups, including a chapter of the national Fits Like a Glove (FLAG) organization, the Bay State Marauders (for gay men into leather), and Mob New England, a group specifically for women and transsexuals/transgenders. Mob's new-member coordinator and self-proclaimed "mama swan," Opn Heartd (her creatively spelled "scene" name), revels in helping the kink-curious to explore their sexual identities.
"Before I joined Mob," says Opn, "all of my relationships had been kinky. But joining the group just gave me a vocabulary for this." Opn estimates that she oversees 10 to 20 pending Mob members at any given time. "People have to start somewhere," she says. "Some people have only stumbled upon books about kink, and those people, when they attend a munch [a meet-up that takes place in a public space, like a mall food court or a coffee shop] or a group meeting, they feel like a door has opened up for them. And I am happy to open doors for them the way that this community has opened doors for me. That's a debt that I'm happily paying back."
Of course, one can't begin to explore his or her sexual identity by gleefully peeing on a willing submissive in the middle of the lunchtime crowd at Panera Bread; there is a time and a place for kinky activity. Well, theoretically there is a place, but the number of actual places for kinky activity in Boston are few and far between. Certainly none that are open to the public. "Unfortunately, there isn't a lot to do in the Greater Boston area, because of the laws," says Kramer. "Zoning laws are such that it's nearly impossible to have an adult-oriented play place. There have been attempts at public play spaces and, depending on what year and which municipality they're in, they lasted for three to 12 months and eventually got shut down. My dream is to have a sit-down with Mayor Menino — I'm serious, I am not going to die before this is over! — and find someplace in the city that he could live with us having some sort of public space."
And if simple negotiating doesn't work, you can always beat it out of him. (As long as it's consensual, of course.)
For more information on NELA, SM 101, or any number of other kinky activities, go to thePhoenix.com. Sara Faith Alterman is keeping her kinks to herself. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.