In this comparative thesis, I investigate how BDSM communities in Budapest and London form around affective affinities that do not rely on the exclusionary mechanisms of identity politics. I strive for an open, ambiguous definition of kink to support my framing of BDSM as an affective praxis not contingent on normative identities. My analysis is based on 20 semi-structured interviews and a literature review drawing from sexological, psychoanalytic, gender studies, and ethnographic fields, which chronicles the historical and contemporary social construction of BDSM. Situating myself and my research locations, I discuss what it means to utilize a feminist, embodied, interdisciplinary praxis in my fieldwork. I describe my participant observation and interview methodologies, and detail the pros and cons of mobilizing the term “community” in my research. Illustrating the problem with using identity as a tool for community formation, I explore how identity creates normativities and develop the idea of kinknormativity, unique from other normativities in linking the legitimacy of informed consent to social privilege. Moving away from identity, I argue that affect provides the necessary opening for BDSM communities to form, analyzing two main affective modes: feelings of belonging and discussions of gender. I show that affective belonging is built in both locations through solidarity and educational events, which are more frequent in London than in Budapest. Perhaps in part due to differing educational resources, knowledge of gender varies greatly between my fieldwork sites, expressed with more fluency and reflexivity in London through notions of performativity and in a more parochial manner in Budapest through temporal references to the 1800s. My research contributes to continuing efforts to bring BDSM into the academy, moving away from debates around de/pathologizing kink while contributing to interdisciplinary scholarship on sexual cultures, affect, and gender.