u/Sternenkrieger posted on Reddit:
I'm old. I got into a real life bdsm group before I had internet access.
Last year I started posting pictures here, mostly comercially produced stuff. Some of the comments make me uneasy.
There are real life persons who post pictures of themselves, letting others get a glimps of their relationship/dynamic. They get comments along the lines of: "That's barely red. If I were your dom, you would have wealts."
This kind of intusion into other peoples dynamic is something I have never seen in real life meetups. If someone tried to butt into other peoples scene they would be thrown out. (This is the problem I can see, I don't get that many dick pics.) At least in my group no one will approach you if you don't give clear signs that you are interested/back off when you say no, you can totally play wallflower and just observe the first time.
Real life and internet are two completely different things. The internet scene is more complicated, has no manners, and might be more dangerous.
Search for events in your area on fetlife. Try different zip codes (when I use mine, I get stuff from two hours away, not from the big city next to me because there is a state border in the way.)
Try munches/informal meetups first (dress code: Street clothes - normally no play opportunity - just people talking. Read the rules, some events will not accept rsvp's from totally "empty" accounts, require you to give them your telephone number). Contact the host(s). Tell them that you're a newby and need someone to hold your hand (maybe not these exact words).
It's kind of the job of a host to help ease newby's into it.