March 28, 2013

The Online World

The Internet changed our lives forever.  With the invention of this medium, we found a new way to interact.  The word "virtual" became part of our everyday vocabulary.  Entire industries were created while others destroyed.  The delivering of information, especially entertainment, crossed over to this new mechanism.  No longer do people shop for DVDs or CDs.  Instead, instant downloading from a website (i.e. online store) is the preferred method.  At the same time, this medium changed the way people socialize.  Naturally, BDSM experienced a similar transformation.

Expanding Universe-Condensing World

The online "universe" is enormous.  I remember ready a stat a few years ago that said there were 3 trillion websites on the world wide web.  That is a lot of place to go visit.  We now have access to information from any part of the world.  Hence, we have seen the world get smaller.  Whereas before one would have to go to a library and open a book to see pictures of the pyramids in Egypt, now a few mouse clicks and you are there. 

BDSM is truly a microcosm of the world at large.  This lifestyle has noticed an expanding in that more people now have access to information about how we choose to live.  On the surface, this is a tremendous benefit.  However, it comes with a price.  To start, in this era, anyone with an email account and a keyboard can post information.  This has led to the watering down of the truth.  Part of the motivation I had in starting my writing was to clear up a lot of the misinformation that existed out there.  Few can deny the fact that the imagery promoted online emphasizes the whips and chains aspect while mostly ignoring the true meaning of BDSM.

Another disadvantage to the online world is the anonymity that one can operate under.  While safety is an important issue and many can "get involved" without putting themselves at physical risk, the fact is that many use this medium solely with the intention of misleading.  They are not who they say they are.  In fact, they are not even close to what is presented in an online profile.  People lie about their gender, height, weight, and experience.  Basically, anything that is asked in terms of information is open to misleading.  Anyone who has dealt with the online dating scene, lifestyle related or not, understands this idea intimately.

On the positive side, the BDSM world, because of the Internet, has allowed for the access to people who we normally would not interact with.  Today, it is not uncommon to interact with someone from another continent.  Before, when BDSM was basically local munches, someone from the next county was considered far away.  Here is where we see the world getting smaller.  Australia is no longer the other side of the world but, rather, the other end of the Internet connection.

So, as you can see, there are a few positives and, also, a few negatives with the Internet as it pertains to BDSM.

The Games

The sad part about this medium is that it frustrated people to no end.  Go onto any of the main BDSM "dating" sites and you will see this in black and white.  People are not shy about relating their experiences in their profiles.  They simply refer to all the liars, cheats, scammers, and general dregs of society.  Trust me when I tell  you, there are all kinds on those sites.

What is upsetting is the amount of garbage one has to sift through when seeking something real.  Emotional connections can be made by a person even without meeting.  This is a risky proposition since one is never certain what is on the other end.  A good rule of thumb is that everything is up in the air until a face-to-face meeting occurs.  Even a phone call can be manipulated.  Personal contact is the only true way to know that you are dealing with someone who is what he or she claims.

Of course, this is where many run into problems.  I cannot count the number of instances I read online where someone was "involved" in a relationship with someone and it was moving to the point where meeting was going to occur.  This is where the warning flags go up.  Suddenly, the other person starts to hedge.  There is always a reason why meeting cannot take place.  Over time, the truth emerges: this person was lying.  In most instances, a disappearing act is the result. 

There are too many games played online to go into them all here.  The point I am making is that most of what you encounter out there online is not real.  People are misleading.  I know of one individual who recently re-entered the BDSM dating scene after a prolonged absence.  Over the course of a few months, he went 5 for 5 with the game players.  Everyone he encountered was misleading.  From lying about the weight to having a STD to not really being submissive, he came across it all.  Sadly, this is not an isolated case.

The Internet is a sensational tool for education and information.  However, it is not as wonderful for social interaction.  While there are many case examples of online success, both inside and outside BDSM, the truth is there is more crap than romance novel material.  Certainly, I am not advocating that people stop using this medium for this purpose.  However, it is crucial that one is careful how much time, energy, and emotion he or she puts into this area.  Again, I cannot stress it enough.  Most of what you encounter out there is not real.  Before getting yourself too deep, try to research some of the antics people encounter.  This will help you to identify what takes place. 

In the end, it is never safe to presume that one has the same motives you do.  There are many people online with less than honorable motives.  It is a sure bet that you are going to encounter these people in your travels.  Protect yourself physically, financially, and emotionally from these predators (and yes this includes many of the so called submissives).  It is the only way to ensure that you do not get burned.


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