Starting out–I want you to go slow. Do some research first and find out how to keep yourself safe. Here are some sites with information. I've noticed links go inactive on places with a long list of resources, so don't be surprised by that.
General online resources:
Some people find online groups and have online relationships or use it as a way to meet people, but I have no experience in that. (Guess I need to do some research since I have readers who've met their Doms that way)
I think www.fetlife.com is a good place to check out. Make up a name and join. There are groups for every kink, and the submissive group is very large with experienced subs and slaves who are good about answering questions. There’s also a PLACES tab on the menu that will list people in your area as well as events and clubs near you. BDSM events–like conventions–and BDSM clubs and local groups usually have their own Fetlife groups.
But on any social site–especially BDSM ones–you'll often run into obnoxious wanna-be Doms trolling for innocents. Don't use your own name, don't give out personal information, and remember that you can't tell who you're really ‘talking' to. Be cautious. That said, it seems as if the grand majority of lifestylers are on Fetlife, and most of the people you'll meet are wonderful.
If you want to meet a BDSM group or talk with some members, your best bet is to attend a “munch”. That’s an informal gathering of a BDSM club in a public place, and held so those interested in the lifestyle can meet members and ask questions. The gatherings are usually at restaurants, so no one is dressed in fetish wear and no BDSM activity will occur.
Many of the larger clubs offer classes on the lifestyle which is a good way to check out what's going on without having to worry about meet-ups. The public clubs can be a bit much for a beginner, and I'd prefer to have someone take you under their wing–rather than hitting you up for sex, right?
And please, please, please, be careful. Take your time and do your research about the lifestyle, the rules, and safety precautions first. Like in anything else, ninety percent of the people in the lifestyle are wonderful and friendly, but that still leaves the ten percent that aren't. I want you to be safe, okay?
For clubs in your area, you can ask the Fetlife members in your area for which clubs are safe (ask the female submissives–don't ask the men). You might even find an experienced submissive to show you around in a club. It's worked for me–a club quite a distance away held a submissive auction and I'd never attended one, so I found a sub on Fetlife who planned to attend and asked her what they were like. She not only answered, but also looked for me and my friend that night, gave us intros, and showed us around. People in the lifestyle tend to be friendly.
Hopefully, this gives you a ways to poke a toe into the water.
Hugs and lots of hopes that you find the water warm and welcoming,
Okay, y’all, here’s the mandatory disclaimer that the big guys say must be here: The articles here are presented for general information only and are not meant as “how-to” guides. Use the information at your own risk. Bear in mind that nothing in this world is safe, especially when it comes to sex. Please don’t try any new sexual practice, especially BDSM, without the guidance of an experienced practitioner. Neither Cherise Sinclair nor contributors will be responsible for any loss, harm, accidents, injuries, or death resulting from use of the information or actions inspired by this website. Whew.
** If you find links that have gone bad or have found even better sites for beginners, jump over to my contact page and leave me a note!