I Came Out Of The Kinky Closet… Then I Went Back In

A pair of white open closet doors, suggests coming out kinky

Even after Fifty Shades Of Grey, equality for kinky people is still a long way away.

On Tuesday, I did something that I have been considering doing for several years prior: I outed myself on Facebook. Frustrated with hiding my kinky identity, with displaying my apparent cis-ness (I’m agender) and my perceived heteronormality (I’m heteroflexible), I decided to come out. No more hiding, no more having my friends believe that they were all kinky freaks but not me. FInally and with my husband’s support and knowledge, I came out kinky.

My first step was to change my profile picture. I proudly changed it to the BDSM Pride flag, showing to the the world that I, Helen, am a kinky person too. Next I drafted a long note in which I outlined how kink does belong at Pride, a bit about my journey to self discovery and what I really do here on my blog. I sat on it for another day – it was a bit long, maybe it could use some adjustment?

But in between writing it and posting it, I wanted to tag my husband in something on Facebook, something normal, and not anything at all to do with BDSM. Suddenly I realised that I couldn’t do so. You see, in my doing so – and with my display picture the way it was – I could inadvertently “out” him.

And with his line of work, I didn’t want to do that. Even if it probably wouldn’t matter, I still didn’t want to take the risk.

So for the sake of not outing him and so that I could show off how sweet and wonderful and amazing my husband is, I stepped back into the closet, closed the doors and painted myself normal once more. Bad Helen, silly Helen, how could you think you have a right to belong?

Yes, BDSM DOES Belong In Pride

For too long now, there has been a hurtful and harmful notion that BDSM does not belong at Pride events. This is incredibly damning and ignores the fact that kink and LGBTQIA+ have long been entwined in history. The “Mother of Pride” Brenda Howard herself identified as a kinky, polyamorous lesbian. Pride fought for the rights of LGBTQIA+ peoples, yes, but Pride represents all of us, together, just like Brenda Howard did. Lincoln once said that “a house divided by itself cannot stand”, and the more we keep this quarrel up and alienate our kinky cingendered and heterosexual allies, the weaker the LGBTQIA+ community will be. To be accepted and respected, one must first accept and respect.

BDSM Is Not Just Sex & Spankings (How BDSM Saved My Life)

Even today and even in spite of the kinky sex scenes of movies like Fifty Shades Of Grey, there is a widespread perspective that BDSM is jusr rough sex with whips and chains. While that can certainly be the case for some people, I can recall just as many moments (as I’m sure many other kinky folk can) where our dynamic was represented by seemingly vanilla moments of safety, protection, care, trust and love. I can recall instances where what I felt was not the sharp sting of a whip, but the gentle caress of my husband’s hand. Not all of those moments are about us as a husband and wife, sometimes those moments were symbolic of something else: his care and protection of me as my Dominant, and my love, trust and devotion to him, as his submissive. To hide the gentleness and tenderness that BDSM can be would be nothing if short of a travesty.

Caution: The following contains mentions of mental health and suicidal thoughts.

I want to take you back to a moment that was most prominent for me.

It was a cold, rainy November day. I tried over and over to ignore the thoughts that swirled in my head, but I couldn’t, I was amost completely bedbound. Any time I went near the bathroom, I had thoughts of hanging myself.

Having confessed my thoughts to my mother, she invited me shopping for the afternoon. I hadn’t been out in a while she said, perhaps the trip would do me some good. I still couldn’t shake the thoughts, but being out and about would at least serve as a distraction.

But as I saw the cars come sweeping down off of the exit ramp of the multi-storey car park, my mind had another idea. One leap in front of the right vehicle, it said, and it could all be over.

I’d texted Matt in my confused and anxious state. Of course I didn’t want to die, but I did want not to suffer anymore. If these thoughts would just be gone then I could be back to my happy and normal self. I didn’t believe I was depressed, but I was exhausted and inundated with my to-do list.

Then my phone rang – it was Matt.

“Come on love, you don’t have to do this” he said. I closed my eyes and allowed his voice to fill me. Him. My husband. The voice of all logic and reason. My Dominant.

I surrendered to it, to him. If I just let him look after me right here and in this moment, I knew that I would be okay. I came home, cried a lot and slept even more. Despite him being my husband, I still maintain that it was his Dominance of me that saved me.

BDSM is not just about sex. In many, many ways, it is about our mental (and sometimes even physical) health too.

Has BDSM Already Had It’s “Stonewall” Moment?

Barely a couple of days ago, I found myself reading this rather compelling read about Fifty Shades Of Grey‘s impact on the BDSM community. While I don’t wholly apreciate how this article started (not kink-shaming, it just seems a bit like throwing them in at the deep end and expecting them to swim), I do at least support the idea that this series was, or should have been, our big break. Why are we now being repressed again? What about our rights to acceptance, sexual freedom and a peaceful coexistence? How is not wanting to see a person tied up at Pride any different to not wanting to see two gay men make out? It’s a harmful – and frankly very dangerous – contradiction.

Kinky People Need To Be Allowed To Come Out, Too

While I firmly back the narrative that gay rights mean equality for all genders and sexual preferences, there are still many rights that could or should also be afforded to kinky people. For example, I have read accounts of unmarried Dominant and submissive pairings where the Dominant was in the hospital, but the submissive could not be there to provide care and support because they were not seen as eithher a partner nor member of the family. There are still instances where a preference for BDSM is bought up in a court of law and demonised – either against the accused or against the victim – and all without good reason. There are still far too many cases of people being hurt, either by bad partners or through misadventure, because they don’t know where else to turn. While the LGBTQ+ community increasingly enjoys the freedoms and resources that have been afforded to them in our modern world, the kink community are still largely being represented as victims and monsters. Even if Fifty Shades Of Grey did great things for our publicity, the narrative of Christian’s abusive childhood does nothing to shift the idea that our orientation is little more than a deviant paraphernalia requiring psychotherapeutic treatment. Our work here is not done.

And what about the children?

I was exposed to BDSM at 15, and I turned out perfectly fine. I was not exposed in a way that harmed me, but rather, I was educated in that a relative of mine had a seemingly unusual, extramarital relationship. I grew up to accept it, as both a part of me and as a part of them, and it changed nothing, just as the acceptance of any sexuality or gender should do. Of course we shouldn’t expose children to BDSM acts, but to expose them to kinksters in latexwear or day collars? The more normal we make it, the more normal it becomes. Most people, regardless of gender or sexuality, can exercise moral judgement in public, and kinky people are very much the same.

Love is still love, no matter who – or what – you might be into.

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