Black queer and trans folks have always been part of kink and BDSM — but many kink education and community spaces lack cultural competency, and some are breeding grounds for homophobia, transphobia, and racism. Fortunately, that’s changing — a new wave of Black queer and trans educators are creating welcoming pathways to kink.
In the hands of Black queer and trans folks, kink can be deeply healing and transformative. I love being a resource for Black queer and trans people who are seeking pleasure and joy, and I’m excited to provide some tips that can get you started on your kink journey.
Before I share information about kink education and events, let’s start with some definitions:
“Kink” is an umbrella term that refers to unconventional sexual practices and fantasies. Black queer and trans folks already live outside of society’s expectations — and through kink, we can push boundaries in new directions.
“BDSM” is another umbrella term referring to the consensual physical and mental interplay of desire, power dynamics, and role-playing.
The ‘B’ in BDSM stands for bondage, which might involve ropes, handcuffs, hog ties, and other restraints that limit movement.
The ‘D’ and the ‘S’ stand for dominance or discipline and submission. In BDSM, a Dom/me might impose rules or provide tasks or punishments in an effort to coach their submissive towards growth and pleasure. A submissive offers themself to their Dom/me, and in exchange for giving up power, they receive care, guidance, and the freedom to not be in charge (albeit temporarily).
The ‘S’ and ‘M’ stand for sadism and masochism, which might involve giving and receiving spankings, using ice to heighten sensation and pain, or edging (denying an orgasm) to increase someone’s desperate need for pleasure. A sadist enjoys consensually inflicting pain and a masochist enjoys consensually receiving it.
Here’s how Black queer and trans folks can get involved in kink and BDSM:
Your journey in kink and BDSM should be as unique as you are. Discovering what you like, what you’re curious about, and what you’d like to try is half the fun! You can start by taking this BDSM quiz to understand the areas of kink you want to explore.
Take Classes and Attend Educational Events
You should learn how to practice kink and BDSM safely by adequately assessing risk and navigating consent with play partners. Kink is most powerful when it is rooted in communication, trust, understanding, and patience — so study up!
Classes led by experienced educators can teach you essential safety practices, and they can help you to understand what you want from kink and BDSM before you dive in. Search for local community events (“munches” are informal kink meet-ups held in public social spaces), public workshops, and demonstrations hosted by your local dungeon or sex toy store. If in-person events aren’t accessible to you or if you can’t find a space that feels comfortable, inclusive, and affirming, search for virtual workshops. The need for more accessible online education for Black kinksters was the driving force in launching my own online education community, Black Queer Dom Society.
Get Out There, Connect, and Play!
These kink spaces, national events, and online communities are powerful, queer- and trans-friendly spaces that are BIPOC-led. I encourage you to get to know them (always vet folks, even if they come recommended) and build a community that will support your journey.
BLX (New York, NY) is a Black-led organization “committed to reducing and eliminating the shame and stigma associated within the Black and Brown LGBTQI+ Leather/Kink and BDSM community around alternative relationships.” They host a biannual educational summit and other events.
Dark Haven ATL (Atlanta, GA) is a QTPOC co-owned and operated creative studio and BDSM art gallery providing educational and creative environments for exploration. This member-supported project is a soft landing spot for “QTBIPOC and allies to gather, play, and learn.”
DC Cuddle Club (Washington, DC) is led by Jax, a sacred sex coach, doula, somatic bodyworker, and cuddle specialist. Jax has built a pleasure community that centers and celebrates Black Femmes, helping them thrive, heal, and seek pleasure through teaching, coaching, and connecting. While this is not a kink and BDSM-specific space, cuddle clubs can help folks connect to their bodies and experiment with new sensations.
Experience Covet (virtual) is the most vetted and secure online kink community I’ve seen — and it’s Black-owned. It’s a pleasure-positive virtual space specifically “for BIPOC humans founded in care, consideration, and consent.” Experience Covet also hosts in-person events around the country.
Funko Adult Sleepaway Camp (Kent, CT) is a summer camp run by Experience Covet — it focuses on kink education exclusively for BIPOC attendees. This camp happens every other year (and it’s happening in May 2023!). Funko Adult Sleepaway Camp was cultivated with the intention to write us back into the stories that we have been written out of.
Kinky Black House (Chicago, IL) is a Black- and queer-run kink collective and pop-up community space exclusively for “LGBTQIA+ Black & POC individuals interested in kink.” They curate events, workshops, classes, discussion spaces, and meetups for kinksters of all skill levels, both virtually and in-person. To be vetted for their events, complete this form.
Sex Down South (Atlanta, GA) – This annual conference led by a team of Black folks was “born out of a desire to create a safe space in the Southeast where folks could explore sex and sexuality.wp_postsSex Down South provides interdisciplinary workshops, kinky performances, parties, and more. While this year’s conference doesn’t have a virtual attendance option, videos of some of these events will be available on the Sex Down South website. Here’s one of the event’s guiding principles: “The voices, feelings, and experiences of people of color should be prioritized. People of color have historically been excluded from discussions and research within the field of sex education.”
Honorable Mention: Bloom Community App (virtual) is a great resource to find local events. On Bloom Community, you can connect organically with burner, queer, artist, creative, polyamorous, wellness, kink, conscious, spiritual, and alternative communities through meaningful shared experiences like festivals, parties, live music, park hangouts, workshops, and more. This is not a Black-led space, but it’s a great place to find online and virtual events in your local community.
Wishing you lots of joy and pleasure!