to hell with the closet


Since I’m on a kick with my last post about hiding your sexuality…

I can’t tell you how many people in the BDSM lifestyle I’ve spoken to who are completely in the closet about their kinky life. To the point of breaking down furniture, completely cleaning or changing their rooms when people come to visit. To the point that not a single person other than past partners has any clue about their preferences.

Look, I’m not crazy here. I’m not talking about broadcasting your sexuality to your mom or your thirteen-year old cousin or your boss, not saying in the least that you should give blow-by-blow descriptions (heh, literally) or furnish your friends with their own copies of your homemade DVDs, but really. To not even mention it in passing to your friends? To have something so central to your very makeup that your friends are completely in the dark about?

Let me tell you how this can get very bad very fast. So you have a few single friends. You meet someone on or and lo and behold all the moons are in alignment and it’s actually working out. Friends begin to ask them how you meet. If you’re very lucky, your friends know diddly squat about the Interweb and you mutter “online personals” and leave it at that.
But let’s say you’re not lucky. And the single friends ask you which personals you met on because hey, they haven’t been having much luck either and it seemed to work for you… You’re going to, what, lie? Tell them

What if you read kinky books? Are you going to have a secret stash of these books that you keep under your bed? What if your friends help you paint the apartment or move? Will you box up your really embarassing shit, label it “feminine products” and just hope that your non-squicky girlfriends don’t start unpacking that box?

What if you slip? Wouldn’t you be worried all the time that you’d accidentally let something slip – a too hearty chuckle over a joke with BDSM implications, slight fascination with the leather bar depicted on Law and Order, a slightly sore behind from last night’s spanking that has to be explained away?

Doesn’t this seem an awful lot like being in the closet about your gender preference in partners? It does to me. And it just gets under my skin, for much the same reasons why I used to get so angry against a society and culture that forced or at least encouraged gays to stay in the closet. Again, I’m not saying you have to or even *should* share the intimate details in your life but if you’re kinky for life, isn’t it an awfully big part of your life, your makeup, and your partners to not even mention in passing to friends – even just one or two close ones?

My kinkiness, while not all-encompassing or all-consuming (and goodness knows I’ve left it behind for periods of time due to stress, tiredness, or just plain temporary disinterest) is an integral part of me, of who I am. And while I try hard to take pains to not revolt or upset unduly the people in my life who couldn’t handle the knowledge (my parents, for instance), I also don’t hide it.

And, interestingly, it’s come to pass over the years that the majority of my friends know, at least a general “oh, she’s kinky” kind of thing. And lots – indeed, most – of them end up asking me questions at some point or another. Maybe it’s to satisfy their own curiousities. Maybe it’s to help understand me, their friend, better.

But I do know that I bless each and every one of my friends for their support, for their understanding, and their love. I can’t imagine feeling so isolated and alone when it comes to my love life, as those “in the closet” must feel.

About the author

Vikki McKay


  • Let me play Devil’s Advocate here for a moment.
    Discretion can be a defense. For example, kinkiness gives new meaning to the classic loaded question, “Have you stopped beating your wife?”
    Some people just don’t understand. 😉

  • Sure – and odds are, you already know who those people are in your life, the ones who couldn’t possibly understand in a million years.
    But *everyone* in your life? I find it difficult to believe that a person who has explored as much of their sexuality (both mentally an physically) as a person who sees BDSM as part of their lifestyle doesn’t have a single friend who could handle the reader’s digest version of the truth, at the very least.
    If every single one of your friends is so incredibly closed-minded and unwilling to try to accept new things, why are they your friends? Aren’t you afraid to share *anything* new in your life with them, sexual or no?
    As I said above – pick and choose, sure, but *nobody*?

  • As I said, I was just playing Devil’s Advocate. (I like to do that.)
    My friends know all about my kinkiness. If they wouldn’t accept me for who I am, they wouldn’t be my friends. Period. That seems so obvious to me that it should go without saying.
    My family knows where my websites are. Whether or not they read is up to them. I don’t generally shove it in their faces; but if they want to know more about me, they know where to look.
    I’m not big on hiding who I am. 🙂
    In point of fact, I particularly like being open because it makes me blackmail-proof. As long as I don’t have any “dirty little secrets”, nobody can use them to threaten me. Living that way entails some sacrifice, but it is very liberating: I am never afraid that people will find out who I *really* am. I can sleep quietly at night and not wonder about who found me out.

  • I adhere to this policy and *technically* I’m not lying… (I admit I even have ‘issues’ with saying I met someone online!)
    I just tell anyone that asks where I met a guy – I just use the locale for our first face-to-face – ie starbucks, a local restaurant, etc.
    Since I’m a rather social person, no one doubts that I flirt everywhere… 😉
    In regard to my ‘lifestyle’ choices – a few friends know about it but I don’t go broadcasting it. I’m not ashamed by any means, however, a lot of people don’t ‘get’ it. I think back to my initial reaction when I was exposed to BDSM…
    If my mother found out, I have little doubt she’d have me committed in no time. LOL

  • When I first got to the big city as a young and clueless virgin, I knew that there was such as thing as bondage magazines because I had read a breathless story in Ms. Magazine (my mother’s subscription) by a woman who was horrified by finding a copy of “Cheerleaders in Bondage” under her son’s bed. After I hunted down the store that could sell me some, I kept them in a locked portable filing cabinet under my bed. Eventually I had several locked filing cabinets — and my friends had no hint. I lived in *terror* that someone might find out.
    Thank the gods I grew up.
    Fast forward ten years. Pair of thumb cuffs hanging from a push pin between the two windows of my apartment. Platonic female friend (too crazy to be a romantic interest) spots the thumb cuffs. “What are those?”
    Evil grin. “Put your thumbs out like this, and I’ll show you.”
    Unfortunately she’s an MIT graduate, so I didn’t get to complete the demonstration. But it was WAY more fun than cringing in terror.

  • Ropeguy, that’s too funny. What a great story – and I’m so very, very glad you’ve embraced your inner perv. For a great many reasons, really. 😉

  • When your career could be jeopardized…
    When your child could be taken away…
    (a friend of mind lost her children when her lifestyle was revealed in court)
    When you lose vanilla friends and family contact….
    Yes, you keep the kink in the closet. And I don’t feel isolated or alone. My lifestyle friends understand me. If the whole wide world never knows, that’s enough for me.

Follow Me