Updated: May 10
Recently, the topic of old guard vs new guard keeps coming up again in some of my social media feeds. I am a member of different discussion and education groups on different platforms. I joined many of them at the start of the pandemic because this was the only way I could ask questions and learn things. Some of these groups were very good at welcoming new people and educating or at least pointing them in the right direction so they could educate themselves. Other groups would discuss topics and gaslight members to get drama stirred up, then ban the person who stood up to them.
This recently happened to me when the subject of old guard protocols vs. new guard protocols came up. The original post was by a group admin in which they stated that if someone does not follow old guard protocols and rituals, they were not practicing real BDSM. This did not sit well with many of the group members who started voicing how that kink was not supposed to be just one way, that everyone is allowed to do as they wish providing that everything is consensual.
Some of the comments mentioned that the old guard has no place in our current place in time. This could not be farther from the truth. As a community, we would not be where we are without the rituals and protocols that came to us through what is now called the old guard. What is considered a new guard takes many of the old guard rituals and protocols and adapts them to their current situation. With life, work, and pandemic, there are a lot of things that can interfere with or make it hard to practice BDSM. It is nice to be able to take a ritual and make it work for you and those involved.
While it is nice to be able to adapt these rituals and protocols to fit our current lives, we should also think about the origin of them. In order to change something, we should first understand the meaning and intention behind it. We should respect those that came before us and what was done to get us to the point we are today. Those that follow what is considered old guard protocols also need to realize that people do things differently because that's what works for them. Just because someone does something differently doesn't mean they are doing it wrong. There should not be gatekeepers for BDSM or kinks/fetishes. Gatekeepers see the world in black and white when there are often many shades of gray involved with life.