Coming Out

16 Jan

i went to the BDSM 101 workshop yesterday with Ms. Constance presenting, which was interesting and fun.  She covered an array of topics,  from definitions of terms  to limits to “coming out.”   Lots of things i could talk about, but the one that holds some tension for me is “coming out.”

Of course, coming out is another continuum.  Down at one end we’ve got people who haven’t come out to themselves, who haven’t admitted that they’re really into kink.  And at the other end, we’ve got people like Mollena, who calls herself The Perverted Negress, and flaunts her kink with great class and style.   

Among bloggers, we run the whole gamut, i think, although i imagine we’re all “out” to ourselves.  For some people, the possible consequesnces of exposure are too high for them to be very open.  And of course that’s ok – i’m not making any judgements about where anyone ought to be on the spectrum of open kink.   

i think it would be super difficult to be married to someone that didn’t know, if i were engaging in kinky sex with someone else, but i’m just not very good at hiding stuff in the long run.  And i don’t know what i would have done if i’d had that opportunity back in the day when i was married to my vanilla husband, back when i was just barely “out” to myself.

Ms. Constance talked about the importance of coming out to your health care providers, which made sense.  Obviously, i’m “out” to my therapist, but not to my medical provider.  Ms. Constance suggested giving them a link to a website with information, such as that on the Kink Aware Professionals website, or even printing the information out for them.  Better to do it ahead of time, and say that you could show up with bruises, if that’s a possibility, than to wait and try to explain the bruising away later.   

Of course, if you have young children, you need to be careful.  In the middle of a custody battle is not the time you want your kinky practices to come out, particularly if your soon-to-be-ex is not so inclined.  If Child Protective Services is involved, discretion is recommended – 

 – which means posting information all over the internet that can be linked back to you, describing your kinky preferences, is probably not your best bet. 

i don’t know what the consequences of “coming out” might be for me.   i can say that i don’t think my employer would fire me, but i live in a “at will” state, so actually they can fire me any time for any reason any how.

i think my daughter and i would be ok, but my stepdaughter might totally reject me.  My sister would just be freaked.  And dismayed.

Of course, the value of coming out is that it will eventually decrease the stigma that goes with alternative sexual practices.  If lesbians and gay men had not taken the risks, and often paid a heavy price for it, we’d still be stuck in 1950’s style standards around homosexuality.    Patty Duke, Brooke Shields, and many others have come out about their mental illness, and that has helped begin to reduce the stigma in that arena.  

For real, anyone that can access my computer will know that i’m aisha.  For sure, there are things i post that are identifying.  i don’t know if someone who knows me as “vanilla name” would realize i am aisha, but they might.  Apparently, i’m ok with that.

i don’t use my vanilla name in the kink world .  It’s a really unusual name.   And i don’t particularly want to be a martyr for the cause of de-stigmatizing kink. 

If it were to happen though, i’d deal with it, right?

For sure, not everyone needs to know – i don’t discuss my sexuality with most people anyhow.  And i think the vanilla world is, in some ways, complicit in helping us stay under cover, so to speak.  They turn their heads and pretend not to see.  That’s all good too, in my mind.

But it’s something to think about – where i am on the open kink spectrum and where i want to be.  i’d like to teach classes someday.  That will certainly make me more open.  i want to have a kinky bloggers convention here in where-i-live  – how secret will i be in the long run?  (I promise not to drag anyone out of the closet with me!)

But where are you on the open kink spectrum?  Where do you want to be?

21 Responses to “Coming Out”

  1. Mick January 16, 2011 at 8:21 am #

    Our kids and jobs makes us want to be very careful about this sort of thing…..Mick and Molly

  2. Sephani Paige January 16, 2011 at 8:28 am #

    I tend to gravitate towards friends who are like-minded so most of my people know, even some of my family NOT my parents! Master’s family doesn’t know, though they might suspect at times, and He has no desire to come out since it would affect His business. I’d love to be out in the open but alas, I do not think it will ever happen for us. So instead I console myself with the kinky friends I have 🙂 they are comforts

  3. strivingforpeace January 16, 2011 at 8:33 am #

    Wow — started to respond — and it turned into a blog post.

    great post Aisha

    I’m as out as I’m ever going to be

    sfp

  4. xantu January 16, 2011 at 9:28 am #

    How out? Grown up children know that he is my Master. I even call him that but they don’t need to know details. Parents just don’t need to know, not because I would be ashamed, but because there is no need to suddenly enlighten the old folks, make them stretch and grow in the last act of their lives… no need to make them uncomfortable.

    Work and other vanilla places… they see a traditional male led married couple. My coworkers are well aware that I am dedicated to making my husband’s life as comfortable and happy as possible. Female coworkers roll their eyes, males look a little wistful.

    Friends? I am not totally covert and yet I don’t rub their noses in it either. Just offhand remarks that I must “ask first” when certain decisions must be made. A couple have questioned me, but I just laugh and say, “We all must take the wishes of our loved ones into account when it comes to certain things.”

    What is missing in my life is other kinky friends but I am slowly working on that.

  5. Donna January 16, 2011 at 12:01 pm #

    We’re finished with government jobs and the kids are adults, so being into kink isn’t a deep dark issue.

    That being said, I think common sense comes into play in “coming out”. Making traceable information- phone, address, etc.- available to those who might present a physical danger (or even a nuisance) isn’t safe in any situation.

    We aren’t really so different than most, we’re just more honest, more willing to take risks to have our needs met, have greater sex, and have more fun. Well, maybe we are different…but in a good way.

  6. The Beast January 16, 2011 at 12:14 pm #

    Very interesting post, aisha. It made me think. I don’t think of myself as hiding anything but I guess I’m not really out to anybody.

    I don’t think there’s any real reason to tell my parents. My best friend of 10 years would probably take it well, she is pretty open minded. But we’ve never really been the type of friends that discuss our sex lives. Relationships yes, sex no.

    I guess I just think of it as personal stuff. I doubt if any of my lifestyle was “exposed” I would really lose anything. But I’m a pretty private person by nature anyway.

    Will things change when we are living together and our dynamic is more apparent to everybody? Perhaps… but I doubt we will be doing anything so extreme in everyday life as to require complicated explanations. Everyday acts of service (cleaning, cooking, getting drinks, that sort of thing), or doing things for the person you love, is there really a difference?

    An interesting side note: I have actually discovered two co-workers and a former co-worker on fetlife. It’s possible they have discovered me – I used to have a face pic up. But I haven’t talked to them about it either way. I feel I should respect their privacy.

  7. KellyRed January 16, 2011 at 1:09 pm #

    “Coming out” to W after more than 20 years was the biggest scariest step I ever took. That’s worked out well. Neither of my brothers were surprised. What they were surprised at was that I wasn’t one wielding the power. My adult kids know, on a very superficial level. Neither of our jobs would be at stake, since he works for himself and my Boss already knows about me. I do agree with the Beast. This is personally private, so we wouldn’t throw it out there anyway, but super secret? not that either.

  8. Mick January 16, 2011 at 3:39 pm #

    Do you think this amounted to “coming out” by Mick.

  9. aisha January 16, 2011 at 9:02 pm #

    @Mick – yeah, i know that’s really important to you two – and I love the musical link!!! Yes, I think he’s coming out!

    @sephani – That’s interesting – actually it sounds like you’re a lot closer to “out” than not – some friends and some family is a lot compared to “no one”.

    @Sfp – That’s cool -can’t wait to read the blog post! But you’ve “come out” a lot recently, haven’t you?

    @Xantu – clever ways to be open without being obivious. That’s pretty neat. And yeah, i think most of us make an exception for parents!

    @Donna – and for youall, I have the sense of you having been able to settle into something comfortably, like an rocking chair. No, you’re right, we’re not very different, and some of the ways that we are different are an improvement!

    @TheBeast – That’s interesting, that you’ve seen that many people you know on fetlife! Like the thing on cable TV, it makes me think it really is becoming more commonplace, more accepted.

    @Kellyred- I can’t imagine how much courage it must have taken to come out to W! That’s so powerful. And you are out to a lot of people. I’m curious – did they know before W?

    Thank you all for sharing where you’re at on the “open kink” spectrum!

    aisha

  10. Snowcaptive January 17, 2011 at 12:06 am #

    Hmm, its a interesting subject and all I can say is I wish I was more “out” then I am. So far only a selected few friends know and I have a feeling its going to stay that way for some time.

    Great post.

    • hidden slave January 17, 2011 at 6:52 am #

      Coming out is about being honest at the same time as protecting yourself, which is often a dichotomy…..firstly I was honest with myself, which in itself was a painful journey, but left me with such a feeling of relief that i wished I had done it years before. As far as coming out to society in general and friends/family specifically…it is just not an option for me, my job would most definitely be at risk. I have talked about this with my owner, and he is very aware of the need for complete discretion. I would love for it to be different, but I am not altogether sure why…maybe it is the honesty of the feeling, that has to be in all my life and relationship with my owner and yest not in this aspect, but maybe it is just a wish to feel free. A good discussion point Aisha.
      HS xx

      • aisha January 19, 2011 at 5:08 am #

        Yeah, I totally recognize that dichotomy. And for sure it can be a tough balancing act. I agree, it would be cool to be more open, wouldn’t it?

        aisha

    • aisha January 19, 2011 at 5:09 am #

      Thanks – for reading and for commenting. At least you have a couple of friends who know, that’s pretty cool all by itself.

      hugs,

      aisha

  11. nilla January 17, 2011 at 1:31 pm #

    great post.

    my wife knows i’m into ‘bondage’. knows i talk online with people, knows about my alt blog, snow. (only that one) i’ve been balancing kink and vanilla for 15 months. Sometimes, especially at first, it was very hard. Coz it wanted to take over my life. i was consumed with the idea that i was not alone. For about 3 months, this world was more real to me than my vanilla one.

    those were scary days.

    now i’d have to say that i’m balancing pretty well, despite the mental fatigue of cheating on my wife. That does not come without consequences.

    i can’t go back and re-write my personal history. i wonder, sometimes, about the wisdom of having my face on fet…what if someone sees me and goes “YO! nilla!” when i’m out with my wife, my kids.

    so i might take it down.

    and i waffle on that. coz…it is one place i can be “out”…

    *sighs*

    i can’t be “out” IRL. But i can be a little less “in” here, i think.

    hug,

    nilla

    • aisha January 17, 2011 at 3:15 pm #

      Yeah, it’s fascinating, isn’t it? How real the cyber world gets. And it’s a touch balancing act for people who have a life built before we really “come out” to ourselves.

      aisha

  12. Will January 17, 2011 at 3:13 pm #

    I’d like to think most people I know know who I am. My sisters and Mom know. I regret telling them, not because they reacted badly, but they joke “So have you tied anyone up lately?” and I don’t need to hear that from my sister.

    I can’t think of one friend outside of work that doesn’t know.

    Even at work, some of my co workers and even one (of several) boss’s know, but we do hang out outside of work as well.

    I could easilly be foolish for letting everyone know, and it’s not like I came out and said ‘HEY! I DO THIS’ either. If it came up in conversation (as sex and such does) then it comes up. I try not to bring up my sex life at work because it’s just not professional.

    Looking back now.. I think more people know I’m Dom then people know I’m bisexual. Hmm.

    • aisha January 17, 2011 at 3:17 pm #

      See, that’s just fascinating to me – and very cool. I wonder how much age has to do with it – you’re young, right?

      Of course Donna and her husband are, um, towards the other end of the age specturm and they’re “out” too. Maybe it has more to do with the context of one’s life. Interesting…

      Thanks for responding, Will!

      aisha

      • Will January 17, 2011 at 3:24 pm #

        Well on the younger side of things yes.. but I’m also in the San Francisco Bay Area. I think the area your in has a lot to do with it.

        Or maybe I have no modesty. I’m really big (6’8″) and am told I can be intimidating. Not many people ever made fun of me, for anything, besides my friends of course. The few times someone really wanted to get in my face we worked things out the old fashioned way.

        I know it’s a double standard, but I also think it’s easier to come out as a top then a bottom. I’m impressed by any open submissive, those I’ve met have shown more strength and courage then most people I know.

  13. William January 19, 2011 at 12:14 am #

    I would love to be out. My boss and one co-worker knows. My oldest sister who is Domme knows, and that’s about it. My wife also told her parents and brother a little about it, but no details. I could probably tell my mother, she knows about my sister a bit, and she wouldn’t judge, She always been very open sexually. I would love to someday be able to walk down the street with My slut openly wearing My collar and not have people look at us wierd.

    William

    • aisha January 19, 2011 at 5:07 am #

      See, that’s interesting too. Especially that your sister’s a Domme. Do you think it “runs in families?” Yeah, it would be cool to be more open, but you’re already a lot more open than a lot of people.

      Thanks for responding!

      aisha

      • William January 19, 2011 at 2:37 pm #

        I think it does. My other two sisters are sub, and neither of my parents were kinky. In fact my father is very straight laced.

        William

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