Being involved in the kink scene requires a certain amount of vulnerability, openness, and honesty. Communication is the foundation among all types of BDSM activity and, as such, is a practice that is required to be honed and understood. We are all used to negotiation, safewords, and sharing parts of ourselves that the vanilla world may not ever get to see. When there is a potential for the world of BDSM to blur into our vanilla world, it can be an intimidating thought. For some people, they are perfectly comfortable being out about their kink lifestyle. For others, it could pose a risk to their livelihood, career, and more. Unfortunately, in this day and age, not everyone has the privilege of this choice. Some people are forced to keep their BDSM lifestyle a secret. Others are outed without consent. The world can be a harsh place for those whose lifestyles are not in line with the apparent status quo.
Coming out should be a personal choice. It should not be forced upon anyone. Furthermore, in an ideal situation, it would not be a terrifying prospect. If BDSM education was to gain momentum in mainstream culture in the same manner in which the 50 Shades “phenomenon” did, there would be much more understanding and knowledge to be shared with the vanilla world. Books and movies like 50 Shades and television shows such as the new Netflix comedy Bonding are a detriment to making the vanilla world a safe place for kinksters to exist. Inaccurate portrayals of BDSM which show clear violations of consent and unsafe/unhygienic practices can only serve to bely the integrity of the BDSM community. As a result, vanilla individuals are given a mistaken impression about the world of kink, leading to uninformed judgment.
The first step to understanding is a willingness to learn. The second is the actual education. I believe that kink and vanilla can coexist so long as there is this willingness to understand one another. People are quick to judge what they do not understand. Simply existing can be tough enough for anyone without the added stressors of undue judgment and misunderstanding. BDSM, for many, is an ethos. It gives us a sense of purpose and a feeling of belonging to a community larger than our individual selves. There is no easy solution to the slew of misinformation about BDSM that bombards mainstream culture, but seeking to educate is a great first step.
About the Author
Dee Voyse is a proud kinkster who has been active in the BDSM scene for over a decade. She enjoys sharing her experiences in order to inform and educate and, at times, titillate.