“So here is a question for ask daddy. Why are some people in the leather community (all groupings including pups, bears, s/m, etc) so judgmental of those who are wanting to learn more, and explore their options? I have found frequently, that when I ask questions to get a better understanding of who a person is, and what it is that they are part of/turned on by etc, that they do not want to share with me. Several have said something along the lines of ‘we don’t need another poser/pretender in our world.’ I’m not pretending or posing. I have a real interest in many things. But I never seem to feel welcome since I haven’t been able to discover all that I like yet? Please help.”
If you are getting this response from many people in all types of groups, the issue at play may not be the community itself. It may be that the issue is your approach. I know for me, timing is everything. If I am out celebrating a friend’s birthday at a non-leather bar, it’s not the time to approach me to discuss my leather life, or my turn-ons. Doing so would be rude to my friend. Most leather groups that I know of have events that you can attend where their members are expected to be in attendance, and those events are usually publicized. That would be the time to approach people and ask them about their life, life-style, and leather interests.
Many times, leather people’s sexuality is tied in closely with their leather life, so casually approaching someone who is leather and asking them about that life, especially if it’s not in a leather-specific environment is tantamount to asking the lady at the bus stop if she prefers vaginal or anal sex while you’re waiting for the bus. I am going to go out on a limb and say that most of the time, you are not going to get the response you’re looking for.
Leather people tend to be the most judged people in their communities, and so they are pretty defensive when people randomly start asking them questions without taking the time to be friendly with them first. It’s a possibility that you are coming off as hostile and so the people you are questioning are responding defensively. My recommendation is that you stop trying to use people as your resources, and start trying to get them to share resources with you. The people you ask may offer themselves as a resource, or they may point you in the direction of people who are available to answer your questions. Change your approach, and instead of asking if a person is into fisting, ask if they know of a way for you to learn more about fisting. They may introduce you to a fister, or tell you where the local fisting group (if there is one) meets on a regular basis. When you get that information, show that you’re serious by following through and showing up at the next meeting. If this was the bus stop lady, you might be asking her to go to coffee with you.
Once you get into a leather space, or a space filled with leather people gathering, make sure that you are respectful of the people and the space. Don’t launch into a barrage of questions. Ask your questions when they are appropriate and don’t monopolize the conversation or any one person there. Be friendly and more often than not, people will respond by being friendly back. This is the coffee date with your bus stop lady.
Once you have established rapport with the people who you hope to learn from, then you can start asking about their interests personally. Again, be respectful and don’t come across as a creep who’s just gathering spank bank material. Don’t come across as a creep who wants to sleep with, or fist, or even date, every person you meet at these social events either. Keep reminding yourself that you are talking to people about intimate details of their sex life. Ask yourself how you would feel if a stranger at a bus stop was asking you these questions (or even someone you’re on a first date with.) Temper your curiosity to the environment your in, and respect the people who are there with you. Remember also, that a person can stop talking to you at any time, and they are not being rude. You may have inadvertently crossed a line that you didn’t see, and they are now uncomfortable with you.
Also, be on the lookout for pack or family behavioral clues. If the most dominant person present is hovering very close to you, watching you and your interactions with others, you may have crossed a line or be coming very close to one. Step back, (figuratively and literally) and give people their space and room. If the dominant personality interrupts your conversation by pulling you, or your conversation partner, away; you have definitely been perceived as a threat. This is the bus stop lady’s big brother coming over and putting himself between you and her. Don’t confuse this with the dominate personality’s genuine interest in your conversation. Personally when I am the dominant personality and am assessing a threat or potential threat, I start to close off and get very intense. When I’m interested in your conversation and want to be part of it, I’m open and usually just jump right in.On the other hand, no matter what group, culture, or sub-culture you’re talking about, some people are just assholes, so don’t let the behavior of the few influence your views of the many.