Sunday, December 19, 2010

Finding Accessible Kink Info

I was first introduced to kink by a blind boyfriend back in college during the mid '90s. Thank goodness for the Usenet newsgroups and soc.subculture.bdsm because I knew absolutely nothing and he desperately wanted a Domme. #Femdomme on IRC was, erm, interesting to say the least but I sure wasn't going to learn the basics there. While each FAQ I read had good information if I remember right they often pointed to books to learn more.
Now, books are great unless you can't read them. I have a few options for reading works in print. The first is the Library of Congress' National Library Service. While the NLS does have the Beauty fiction series in its' collection that's about as far as it goes. Another option is RFB&D but they are focused on reading course materials for students and similar academic/technical books. The newest option is Bookshare who I'm happy to say does have Screw the Roses, Send Me the Thorns but it is very unlikely that they will have books on every kinky topic a person might be interested in.
If a print book I want to read is not available via one of these services I have two options. The first is to have someone read the book aloud and preferable record them doing so. I don't like asking my Master to do that and I don't want to ask my regular readers to read kink materials.
The next option is to scan the book page by page and then run it though some form of optical character recognition software. With a book edge scanner the scanning is tedious but fairly easy. With a standard scanner it is best to take the book to a place like Kinkos and have the spine cut off. (Despite the name of the place I'm still not sure I want to take my pervy books into a shop in our small town.) OCR tech has vastly improved over the years and it will be fairly accurate but there are always problems especially if the layout is creative.
The world wide web has been a great resource for me. Usually I can find basic information by using Google with SafeSearch off. However, articles online still tend to refer to books.
Kinky conferences are also fairly popular these days. I haven't been to one since they can be more expensive than buying a book and one has to be healthy enough to attend. That said, they're great options depending on your accessibility needs.
Kink Academy is an interesting option. From my understanding most of the material is presented via video. I don't pretend to think that this is the best option for totally blind kinksters. However for partials who use screen enlargement software or people with learning disabilities that make it hard to read print this could be a great option. Also, home bound auditory or visual learners might really like this.
Currently Submissive Guide is having a contest to win a one year membership to Kink Academy. I'd love to win so I can edit this post with first-hand experience with Kink Academy. I've gotten to a point in my learning about myself and my submission that Google searches when something comes to mind for me or my Master no longer meets my needs.