Feeling a little kinky? Here’s how to find your community at Pride

Kink community during Pride Month
Kink community during Pride Month

It's Pride Month, which means that not only is it the gayest time of year but also the kinkiest!

Besides marching with a kink contingent in a parade, there are other ways to indulge your kinkster fantasies at Pride. From one-on-one meet-ups to kink-centric Pride parties catering to different kinky subcultures, there is something for everyone.

But how do you get involved if you've never gotten kinky at Pride before or are celebrating in a new city?

LT Hawk—a Black, trans-nonbinary, queer, radical pleasure-based sex educator, artist, kink performer, and activist—says finding parties and events that cater to your kinky lifestyle can be as easy as searching on Eventbrite or checking out your local queer bar or kink club's website or social media account to see what events they have posted for Pride. They also recommend using the Plura app, which allows you to search through their catalog of upcoming queer, kinky events and connect with people who are also attending. That way, if you're visiting a new city for Pride or are unfamiliar with the kink community in your area, you don't have to walk into an event alone.

"What I think is good about Pride, that time of year, it's very celebratory, and a lot of longtime, and even some newer, community organizations will host more accessible events" that are "low commitment, low barrier to entry, you don't need to have experience," Hawk says.

Finding your kink community at Pride
Finding your kink community at Pride

Rotozey/Shuttestock

Midori, who is an alternative sexuality, BDSM, and Shibari coach, a co-director of Kink Informed Certification for Sexual Health Alliance, and author of Seductive Art of Japanese Bondage, also says that if you've never gotten kinky before, Pride festivities are not the best place to start since it's a celebration because you might be seen as a "lookie-loo tourist."

However, Hawk says that while they wouldn't want to play with a newbie during Pride Month, people new to kink are always welcome. "I wouldn't want to play with anybody brand, brand new at Pride. I've got limited time. Only got a month, I'm tired already. I ain't got time for this," Hawk jokes. "But I'll talk to you, you know what I mean? I definitely will talk to you to make you feel welcome."

Once you find a kinky Pride event you want to attend, Midori suggests you contact the host or reach out through social media to determine if the event is right for you.

Related: 15 non-sexual reasons you should date a kinkster

But at a time when everyone is relying on dating apps to meet people, Midori and Hawk both recommend something that feels both radical and retro: meeting people in real life.

In bigger cities during Pride, there are usually public parties, kink socials, and munches (casual gatherings for people interested in kink but where no actual kink play takes place), which are all great ways to start finding your own kink community. Hawk (who uses they/them pronouns) says that once you've attended some of these events and begun to meet people, you'll have friends you can go to more advanced-level kink parties with.

"Then you can go to private events, hopefully with people you already know if you make some connections with people in the community," they say. "It can be easier to attend an event that way."

Finding your kink community at Pride
Finding your kink community at Pride

sakkmesterke/Shutterstock

For those traveling to a new city for Pride or looking to connect to a new kink scene where you're living, Midori says you'll be more successful if you cultivate a group of kinky friends who you can rely on to give you recommendations on clubs and parties and introduce you to people. "This is old school kink, old school leather," she explains. "It's about finding friends of friends and getting introductions through people who actually have your back."

This way, before you get to the city you're traveling to for Pride, you'll have already made a connection with someone who knows the kink scene in that area. "I would totally be looking around for friends of friends and not necessarily as someone to hook up or play or get kinky with, but as somebody that I can turn to that I can say, 'This club versus this club?' And they might be like, 'Oh yeah totally go to that one, [but] this one, I don't know,'" Midori says.

They can also warn you away from bad clubs or parties — including giving you a heads up about which kinky clubs are full of straight people — and point you toward the ones they love. But Midori says not to get discouraged if one club doesn't work for you; just keep trying new ones. They all have a "different flavor" because "there is no unified kink subculture community," she explains.

Related: No kink at Pride? What's next, a drag ban?

Both kinky experts admit that their tips and tricks for finding a kink community that fits your interests work much better in larger cities. Midori says that she once attended a Pride celebration in a small town where only 600 people attended, so, of course, there was no kink scene to speak of.

But, especially in larger cities, there are many kink subcultures you can get involved in. During Pride Month, Hawk and Midori say that you are likely to find parties and socials for the leather community, puppy play, furries, cosplay, urine play, rope bondage, D/s relationships, people who like formality, radical fairies, Black Leather Wings, and latex fetishists. Hawk explains that there are also usually spaces just for men or just for lesbians, and even parties that cater to QTPOC (Queer Trans People of Color).

"I would encourage people to think about what things [they] feel drawn to because kink is such an umbrella term," Hawk explains.

So get out there and start celebrating Pride by finding your own kink community!