For many, many, many people, their kinky lifestyle is something to keep completely private. No one in their family, circle of friends, or professional life have any idea what they do behind closed doors. Some people are so concerned about their own privacy, they won't even attend local munches or meetups in their local kink community.
On the other hand, every once in a while, a kinky couple is completely out. Not just to the people in their group, but also when they're amongst a very vanilla public. I'm not referring to the way they dress or collars they wear. Most people will shrug off clothing choices as some “weirdo” who's probably “Goth.” (They're wrong, but it's what they do.)
I'm talking about the Dominants who “walk” their submissive on a leash down a busy sidewalk. I'm referring to the littles who bring sippy cups, stuffies, and colouring books and use baby talk with people outside of their immediate family or group in vanilla settings. Once you cross this line, now we're into a very big (and divisive) discussion about private kink vs public consent.
Where does your right to be who you are - kinky or otherwise - interfere with someone else's right not to watch your private life unfold in front of them. Or, where is the line between private kink and public consent?
Many people, myself included, believe that any public space is off-limits for that kind of behaviour unless you manage to gain the consent of everyone in attendance. At a BDSM club, public consent is implied. You're all there to be kinky. But at your local diner where people from all walks of life, children included, may be present, you don't have the public consent of everyone around you.
Let's face it - using a leash or a sippy cup or kneeling on the ground are physical methods to express your kinky self. Yes, as a person, your Dominant, submissive, little, Daddy, and any other identification you have is a part of you and can't be separated completely from your personality.
You are a Dominant. You are a submissive. You are a little with an overindulgent Mommy or Daddy. Yes, that is who you are. No one can take that from you. The leashes, coloring books, and kneeling could go away tomorrow, and you'd still be that person. You don't need them to be who you are.
Putting your private kinks away in the vanilla world isn't a hardship. It isn't impossible to achieve. Indeed, it's actually expected. I don't want a vanilla couple whipping out their Hitachi vibrator at a restaurant. They don't want to be confronted with the sight of me kneeling on the floor in front of my Daddy Dom.
Some people do it to be provocative and gain attention. Others are determined to be accepted for who they are by everyone. BDSM can be, for many, an alternative lifestyle that they try to live every moment of the day. From leather families to 24/7 D/s relationships, it's your life, and you want to be able to live it freely. These issues must all be considered when weighing up private kink vs public consent.
But I also live in the very real, very vanilla world. Sometimes I have to take charge and make decisions. Sometimes I have to put on a very non-kinky, vanilla persona simply to make it through the day. My children don't need to see some of the aspects of our D/s relationship - with good reason. Random strangers in public are no different, and probably don't want to see our private kinks.
The reality is that leashes, kneeling, all the stuff littles seem to need and carry is all part of a kinky lifestyle. When you lead your partner around on a leash through a shopping mall, you're having a BDSM/kink/lifestyle moment, and those people don't want to witness it - or weren't asked if they did. You've violated their consent.
Don't think you're automatically safe when you're with your fellow kinksters, either. At the club or private party, you should be. But go to a munch or some other gathering in a vanilla setting, and you may find very quickly that other kinksters don't appreciate your actions.
If you're drawing attention to your kinky activities or moment, you're also drawing attention to the people who are with you. You have no idea how many of them fear being outed as kinky. You don't know who has the crazy ex who's looking for a reason to get full custody or ruin their life. People lose jobs, kids, marriages, and their freedom for being kinky. (Yes, people can and do get arrested for consensual kink when it's confused for abuse.) These are crucial considerations in private kink vs public consent.
Here's the deal. Leashes, posturing, and colouring books don't make you who you are. You might like those things, even love them. You might feel safer with them. But when you leave them home and venture out into a vanilla world, you're still your Dominant/submissive/little/whatever self.
Be a responsible kinkster and consider whether you have public consent before you pull out the accessories of your kinky lifestyle in the vanilla world.
What are your views on private kink vs public consent? Share them in the Fetish.com forum.
Disabled people are often represented as sexless in a media preoccupied with ultra-conventional notions of beauty. Fetish.com explores how model
Misconceptions about kinky people abound. Here are five that will leave you seething.
This article was originally posted on 8 June
Erotic fiction has always played a part in mainstream literature. But it's now becoming more popular than ever. Here’s are six very different