Who Is Will and Why Is He an Expert?
I've been asked how I know all these Things You Need to Know; whether they're from my own experiences, or other sources.
Since the autumn of 2006, when I embraced my dom/top side and began seeking a D/s partner, I've discussed BDSM with almost 200 kinky people. Some of those conversations have unfolded over months, or even years, and some have been brief. Most have been online, but a decent chunk have been face-to-face. Most have been submissive women whom I met on dating sites (OKCupid is a good place to find them) and a majority had experience with kink when we connected. In many of these connections I became a source of support and counsel, listening to stories and struggles, and offering insights or advice where I was able.
A few years ago I befriended two doms in San Francisco, one of whom is a leader in the local gay leather community. (He and his slave are a pair of gems!) Our doms' circle has met regularly for dinners ever since, specifically to talk about our romantic paths.
I've learned most of what I know from the above connections, and I've had three D/s relationships myself. The first I happened into when I found myself dancing with a woman in an unusually connected way at a contact improv event, over ten years ago. We began dating, and eventually I discovered she loved pain, and also hated it. It's quite special when kink emerges organically within a duet. My other significant D/s romance was with a woman who was more adventurous than kinky, but with whom I had amazing click very quickly. She agreed to try being my sub, and although it was hard for her often (which was hard on me), we discovered some remarkable places together.
I've also read published and online sources. Different Loving (Brame et al) is an excellent and diverse collection of case studies of kink practices, and still in print after twenty years. The Fetlife discussion forums are occasionally fascinating.
Outside of kink, I've devoted time steadily since my early twenties to personal growth and understanding how the psyche works, especially for relationships. I've participated in men's groups; I've done structured peer counseling; I've read cognitive science. I've wrestled with my own issues, and those that arose in vanilla and kinky relationships. I've made a lot of mistakes, and examined them at length.
I've also done a lot of partner dancing, and found that to lead, I have to listen to my follower with my body and eyes, and that how I lead and what springs from it varies a lot with each partner and the moment. The very same concept applies to leading a lover in a more encompassing way.