With the new found mainstream popularity of BDSM – mostly due to social media and the “Fifty Shades of Grey” series – I have gotten many questions similar to the following one —
“I’m tired of hiding my true, kinky self from my family and friends. But, I’m afraid they won’t understand. Is it possible to out myself without it blowing up in my face? How, when and to whom should I tell? What if I’m accidentally found-out before I plan to be?”
Ultimately, there are many emotional, spiritual and personal reasons why outing yourself is desirable. If not right now, surely at some time in the future. Still, it can be risky from a family, job and community point of view. Although there are no hard and fast rules when to “come out of the BDSM closet,” I have a system that can help you determine whether or not it is advisable to act immediately.
I call this method “Murphy’s Law analysis.” It assumes that even if you tell one isolated person your story, everyone with a computer will eventually know about it. Keeping this in mind, let’s examine the seven most important considerations and see if outing yourself right now is prudent or too risky. (Of course, this is only my opinion. Use as you see fit!)
1. Your job. Assume that your boss and all your co-workers will know. Can you handle it? Will you be fired? If you are fired, can you accept it — including your likely pain-in-the-ass lawsuit for unlawful termination — as the price of your new public honesty? If you can handle it, or feel the sacrifice is worth it, then this gets a big “Yes” on your list. Obviously, if you work at kinkweekly.com or a similar place, the answer is “Yes” and don’t even think about it!
2. Your significant other. (If you don’t have one, disregard this.) Many people have destroyed their families when they came out of the closet simply for being gay. If you have a significant vanilla other – and you harbor BDSM needs that you might be fulfilling secretly — assume the worst. Unless you find them secretly surfing bondage websites, expect they will go ballistic when you tell them. Eventually, you will likely have to break the news – living a lie can be painful. But, can you personally survive this emotional trauma right now? I would say, at this point in our social history, this is probably the best time to play the honesty card.
3. Are there young kids involved? (No young kids – on to number four.) Murphy’s Law says, “What can go wrong will go wrong.” Never argue with Murphy, who is right up there with Albert Einstein, as far as I am concerned. If you think the worst-case scenario of telling your partner is the wrecking of your family, it might be wise to be very circumspect and pass on outing yourself. At least until you are prepared to handle this outcome and the kids are grown up.
4. Parents. Can you risk totally freaking them out? Can they keep a secret? Most importantly, will they stand by you? Parents are often the only ones who, 99% of the time, will. Likely, after the initial shock, they will embrace your lifestyle. Parents are like that. If you do tell them, caution them about ever telling your relatives, because of the next consideration.
5. Relatives. The worst. They will take out ads in the National Inquirer, post on Twitter and Facebook announcing your sexual deviance. Never – under any circumstances – out yourselves to any relatives except your parents. Not unless you want the whole world to know about it.
6. Friends. For me, personally, this has never been a problem. All my close vanilla friends, even my partner in our music production company, know that I write for kinkweekly.com. But, once you tell one friend, assume all your pals will know. Can you deal with this? I say, with exceptions, go for it.
7. Location, location, location. Where you live is a key factor in your decision. For example, if you live in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles or other progressive locales, you will suffer milder repercussions – if any — than were you to out yourself in Intolerance, Alabama or Smalltown, Mississippi. In these conservative jurisdictions, you might even lose your job and have few legal options. Or you might find yourself a complete social outcast.
It can be an extremely freeing experience to be open and honest about your own interests, loves and beliefs with those in your life that you care the most about. If you can deal with these seven considerations, assuming the worst outcome for each one, then it would be wise for you to take the big step of outing yourself.
After a ten year run as head writer for the legendary bondage.com, and an equally long run as the host of the hit internet show “Baadmaster’s Dungeon,” we are pleased to welcome the one and only Baadmaster to KinkWeekly. His thoughts about all things BDSM will now appear regularly on these pages. From the mental aspects of D/s to the nuts and bolts of S&M play, Baadmaster will cover every facet of this ever expanding lifestyle.
It can be a much more complicated process than not! Be careful how you approach it
I think people can be lulled into thinking that — with Gay marriage, LGBT rights, mainstream “BDSM” MOVIES and other social advancements — that BDSM is the “new normal.” We might think so, but to the vanilla world the programmed “So you beat your wife” stereotype is still alive and kicking.
Thus, Marnie is right and “be careful” is great advice. In fact, my next article will reflect other aspects of this “be careful” mantra!