The Society of Janus is a San Francisco-based support and education organization for people interested in learning about BDSM. We provide an opportunity to meet others with similar interests in a safe, relaxed atmosphere with only one cardinal rule:
All BDSM activities can and should be safe, consensual, and non-exploitative.
We are a pansexual organization, open to persons of all genders, sexual orientations (straight/gay/bisexual/etc.) and roles (top/dom/switch/bottom/slave/etc.). Our members range from inexperienced newcomers to "SM veterans" with years of kink experience. The Society of Janus also provides a chance to get involved with the greater SF Bay Area BDSM community.
The SOJ was founded in August 1974 by the late Cynthia Slater and Larry Olsen. It is the second oldest BDSM group in the U.S. (TES in New York City, founded in 1971, being the oldest). Cynthia recalls in a 1983 Growing Pains interview how they settled on the name "Janus":
"There were three basic reasons why we chose Janus. First of all, Janus has two faces, which we interpreted as the duality of SM (one's dominant and submissive sides). Second, he's the Roman god of portals, and more importantly, of beginnings and endings. To us, it represents the beginning of one's acceptance of self, the beginning of freedom of guilt, and the eventual ending of self-loathing and fear over one's SM desires. And third, Janus is the Roman god of war--the war we commonly fight against stereotypes commonly held against us."