i realize that you asked about where to start; but just want to let you know to be safe.
As others have warned on the message boards, not everyone is who they say they are.
Go slowly, don't rush into anything, (i speak from experience).
It is very easy to get caught up in the rush and excitment of something new, but just like vanilla relationships, use common sense.
Ok, enough of the lecture: i've heard munches and/or sloshes are great places to meet people, and share information. i have yet to attend one, so i can't offer much more info than that.
Folks on here are friendly and have provided us newbies with good, useful, and valuable information. Researching bdsm is also good, and, if you happen to live in a big city, there may be workshops, lectures, or gatherings to attend.
Good luck in your journey!