How To Protect Your Identity In The BDSM Community

Illustration by Dirk Hooper

There’s a lot of fun and meaningful relationships that can develop from entering the BDSM community. But the fact is that being kinky comes with some risk, even today.

I personally know people who have had their kinky lifestyle brought up negatively in insurance cases, divorce proceedings, and in custody battles. There are copious news stories of people who have lost their jobs because the public discovered their secret lives.

Even if you’re not worried about court cases or job security, you probably don’t want to share your fetishes and sexual proclivities with the general public.

If you’re younger, you might not even be thinking about how important your privacy is, but being lax with your privacy could come back to haunt you later when it does matter.

There’s almost no way to be 100% secure, but there are some steps you can take that will help to keep what you do behind closed doors from being exposed to the public.

Your Name

The first best step to protecting your identity is to simply adopt a pseudonym and use it in every case where you’re talking to people in the BDSM community.

My advice is to choose something that’s reasonable and easy to remember. And take it easy on honorifics. You could be Supreme Lord Master of the Universe Bob if you want, but that’s not the sort of mouthful you should be shooting for.

Keep it simple. Why? Because if you’re using something weird, it’s going to be hard to remember, and when you go to set up accounts everywhere it’s going to get flagged quickly.

For the record, my scene name and my real name are the same. I’m about as “out” as you get. You’re welcome to do that too, but realize that I’m not married, I don’t have kids, and I work for myself.

The Internet

I hope this is not a revelation, but if it’s on the internet, then it’s already out there FOREVER. Keep that in mind when you’re posting that photo of you licking a toilet in that BDSM chat group.

All it takes is about two seconds for someone to save that image to their hard drive. Furthermore, sites that prevent saving images (or apps that only show your content for a few moments and then erase them) are not safe either. There are ways to save anything if it’s available on your screen.

So, pause for a few, brief moments before you share something online and consider the ramifications.

Social Media

I would highly advise creating separate social media profiles using your scene name. That’s to protect your real name, of course, but it’s also to keep your home, your family, your workplace, and your love of TV shows with the Kardashians away from your participation in the BDSM community.

If you’ve chosen a realistic scene name, then it should be no problem to set up new accounts to communicate with people.

I’m amazed by how some people are sharing their intimate sex life in one group and photos of their kids singing in a school play in another group. Don’t make it so easy to connect the dots.

Also, keep in mind that even if you’re not worried about your privacy, other people in BDSM groups are. Take responsibility for what information you share like locations, and who was at that location, and what they did.

Look out for others too, especially in social media. We’re all in this together.

Photos and Videos

Photos and videos get more engagement than anything else. They are wonderful and powerful. But in the wrong hands, they can compromise your privacy and be used as a weapon against you.

It goes without saying that you should be careful with who you share your photos and videos with. How many episodes of “Catfish” highlight people who share nude photos with people they have never even met? Just be careful.

One thing that might also help is to cut your head out of the naughty stuff. At least there is some plausible deniability if your mug is not in the shot. You can also use shadows to obscure your features.

Keep in mind that tattoos are just as much of an identifier as your face.

BDSM Clubs

Many BDSM clubs require you to show a photo ID or may even take down information about your real identity. That’s to cover their own ass. There’s nothing wrong with that, but you’ll have to make a value judgment about who you’re handing over your private information to. And, it’s perfectly fine to ask a lot of questions about why they are doing that and what they are doing with that information.

I know one group that retained a lawyer and had the list of names held by the lawyer so that it fell under client confidentiality. I have no idea if that helps protect that information, but it was clever.

Just realize that all it takes is for something to happen at the club, or some overzealous Barney Fife to start digging around for that secret list of real names. It’s highly unlikely, but once again be careful with who you share your information with.

One other thing to consider… just like with social media, be guarded about sharing the details of your personal life in BDSM gatherings. Where you work, how many kids you have, where you live, and more, makes for great conversation, but keeping your BDSM life and your personal life separate might be a good idea unless you’re close with who you’re talking to.

Email/Skype/Google

Have you been paying attention to Silicon Valley companies that, in the past, were highly concerned with the privacy of personal data and communication of their users (at least they pretended to be).

Now Microsoft is monitoring your conversations on Skype and ready to censor them, Google is handing over powerful search data to foreign countries, and email has never been safe.

If you want your communication to be locked-down, you should take a good look at the apps you’re using.

One alternative for email is Protonmail which is based in Switzerland and boasts that it is encrypted and subject to strict Swiss privacy laws. You can check it out at https://protonmail.com/.

So Now What?

I don’t want to say that you can’t have fun, that you can’t engage with people online, or sext with them, or whatever. Please enjoy your life as you see fit.

The most important thing is to make an informed evaluation of what you want to keep private and be aware of the risks involved.

Maybe you don’t care if naked photos of you on a Saint Andrew’s Cross were published in “The New York Times.” If not, then don’t worry about it.

But for everyone else, some simple steps can go a long way concerning keeping your private life private.

Do you have any additional ideas on how to protect your identity? Please tell us in the comments below.


About the Author

Dirk Hooper is an award-winning fetish photographer, professional writer, audiobook narrator, podcasting producer and host, journalist for the fetish community, BDSM mentor, and adult personal branding and marketing consultant for Sexy Networking.

Dirk Hooper won Best Fetish Photographer at the 2017 Fetish Awards in St. Petersburg Florida. As a fine-art fetish photographer, Hooper’s work has been exhibited in England, the Netherlands, Belgium, China and all over the United States.  His work is part of the permanent collections of the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University and the Leather Archives and Museum in Chicago, Illinois. Dirk Hooper’s work has been published in magazines like Skin Two, Von Gutenberg, Fet Erotica and Sinical Magazine.  His work was published in the German hardcover art book “Fetish Fantasies: The Best of International Fetish Photography.” He has done professional photography for bands, books, posters and the adult film industry.  Hooper co-founded the alternative modeling site Toxic Goddess.  He offers his photography services for portraits and commercial projects.

Hooper’s articles have recently been published at Business InsiderInc. MagazineHuffPostSlate MagazineThe Sporting NewsMSN Sport, and Quartz. He has won the Quora Top Writer award for the past two years. He has also been published as a comic writer, a poet, and performed numerous copywriting assignments for professional and private clients. He is currently working on an erotic novel and a non-fiction book about social networking.

Dirk Hooper is the Host and Executive Producer of “The Fetish Show.”  He has also recently launched a new podcast about success and inspiration titled, “The Dirk Side.” Hooper has been podcasting since 2005 and has produced hundreds of hours of shows over several networks. His first audiobook narration was for the Suzanne Steele novel “Glazov.”

Dirk Hooper does journalism for the BDSM and fetish community through The Fetish Show News, FETISHWEEK articles, the Daily Fetish Chronicle and freelance writing.  Hooper’s award-winning website, http://www.DirkHooper.com features a gallery of his work, informational articles and is the home of “FETISHWEEK.”

Hooper’s inspiration for his work is an extension of his interests and experience in the BDSM and fetish community.  He is a BDSM mentor and has helped guide or train both dominants and submissives.

Hooper works as a consultant on personal branding, social networking, SEO, copywriting, design and marketing through his Sexy Networking business at http://SexyNetworking.com

Comments

  1. subspaced says:

    Great work and so well organized. Do you feel it’s terribly unsafe to use your real name in the community?

    • Thank you very much!
      I think you have to make an informed decision based on a lot of individual factors. For most people, that means using a scene name.
      If that doesn’t work for you, or you don’t care, then cool.
      I know two different names of a ton of people in the scene (their real name and their scene name). But I didn’t know their real name until we knew each other better.
      It’s a nice simple way of providing some privacy overall, and maybe more importantly, masking your identity online.
      Plus… you get to choose a cool name of your own! Some people enjoy creating a fantasy name as much as they appreciate the privacy it provides.

    • Obviously, Baadmaster is not my birth name. Duh! And my avatar is not a picture of me. The key here is to evaluate how anonymous you need to be. If I were running for Senator, I could easily be outed. But as my security needs have to do with other writing jobs, most of whom could care less about my BDSM career, I can deal with a lower level of anonymity. Thanks, Dirk, for discussing this aspect of BDSM.

  2. My pleasure Baadmaster! Thank you!

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