“What are some good resources for learning about different fetishes & kink? I’m looking to expand my understanding and try things out in a safe environment, but my searches for information tend to lead me to porn websites more than helpful resources.”
People are the best resource for learning about fetishes and kink. I would recommend finding out if you local community has a fetish education center, educational conferences, or public events. Start going to these places and learning what you want to know. Along the way, you may learn about things that you didn’t know you had interest in before, and you may become great at them. You may also learn that some things you did want to try were not your cup of tea.
If you’re at a conference, you won’t get the in depth kind of knowledge that you’re looking for, but you may get a chance to connect and network with people who know about your fetish or kink, and can show you one on one or in a group what to do when the time comes.
Internet searches are free, and relatively easy, and make “experts” out of people with no hands on experience. They are also unreliable, as you don’t know whether the person on the other end of the typing actually knows what they are talking about or not. (Yes, I realize the irony of using an internet based advice column to tell you that getting knowledge on the internet is unreliable, but I do the best I can.) This is why I don’t trust anyone on the internet unless they are willing to meet face to face before I play with them, or before I am comfortable with my boys playing with them.
All too often, the “Grand Master Constantines” out there have extensive online experience spinning their fantasies with words, and not actual whips. Their fantasies involve things that would and could seriously hurt or maim a person, and they don’t even know it, because they’ve never taken the time and energy, or spent the money to learn to do it properly. Early in my BDSM life, I searched for “real BDSM porn” and could not find anything that wasn’t over the time and unrealistic, or non-kinky people pretending to be kinky for money.
When I’ve learned, the people demonstrating, or teaching me may not have always been the hottest people in my book, they may not have always turned me on (I learned a lot in the straight world) but they always knew what they were doing, and were open and honest about what they did and didn’t know. It was reliable information followed by practical demonstrations. Afterward there were folks who were willing to talk to me about what I saw and how to make it work for me.
The reality is that most BDSM Practices cannot be learned from reading about them or watching a video that someone else prepared. You must have your own experience, and your own journey while learning about these things.