There's a fine line between being kinky in public and violating public consent. Could your right to be who you are interfere with others' right not to watch your private life? The direction you choose to go could have significant ramifications, argues writer Kayla Lords.

For 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. In fact, some kinksters are so concerned about their own privacy that they won't even attend munches or meet-ups in their local community.


On the other hand, every once in a while, a kinky couple is completely out and kinky in public. 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 wearing BDSM collars. Many people will shrug off those of us wearing kinky clothing choices as 'weirdos' or 'goths' – they're wrong, but it's what they do.

Hell for leather: are displays of public kink reckless?

I'm talking more about the Dominants who 'walk' their submissive on a collar and 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 bigger – and more divisive – discussion about public kink, and the consent that entails. 

Public kink: where do you draw the line?

Where does your right to be and act 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 acting kinky in public and not respecting public consent?


Many people, myself included, believe that any public space is off-limits for kinky behavior unless you manage to gain the consent of everyone in attendance. For example, at a BDSM club or event, public consent is implied. You're all there to be kinky, together. But at your local diner, café or park – where people from all walks of life, children included, may be present – you don't have the consent of everyone around you.


“Many people believe that any public space is off-limits for kinky behavior unless you manage to gain the consent of everyone in attendance.”

Let's face it. Using a leash, 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, colouring books, and kneeling could go away tomorrow, and you'd still be that person. You don't need them to be who you are.

Kinky in public submissive kneeling by her dominant
No to kneeling: should getting kinky in public require consent?  


Compartmentalizing kink

Putting your private kinks away in the public, mainly vanilla world isn't a hardship. It isn't impossible to achieve. Indeed, I believe it is necessary. For example, I don't want a vanilla couple whipping out their vibrator at a restaurant. Likewise; they probably don't want to be confronted with the sight of me kneeling on the floor in front of my Daddy Dom.

Some people indulge in public kink 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.


“Putting your private kinks away in the public, mainly vanilla world isn't a hardship. It isn't impossible to achieve. Indeed, I believe it is necessary.”

But I – we – also live in the very real, very vanilla world, and 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 aspects of my D/s relationship – and with good reason. Random strangers in public are no different, and probably don't want to see the private kinks my partner and I share. 



Violation of public consent

The reality is that leashes, kneeling, and all the stuff littles 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 might not 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. If you're at a 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 you getting kinky in public.

If you're drawing attention to your kinky activities, 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, and their freedom for being kinky – yes, people can and do get arrested for consensual kink when it's confused for abuse.

The final FET: public kink

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.


So, 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. •

Kayla Lords is a freelance writer, sex blogger, and a masochistic babygirl living the 24/7 D/s life. 

sign up to

What are your views on being kinky in public? Do you think you it's essential to get consent of those around you? Are you completely out with your kinks, or do you like to keep them secret? Share your thoughts below or in the forum.

BDSM Forum. Join the  discussion |

Images shutterstock/goldeneden, shutterstock/alenavlad


1 comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Add a comment...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.



Not that important but I feel that I just want to add a small note that some peeps who have certain diagnosed medical disorders make take certain childish objects or items around with them or have them on display in public in their own spaces and it can be for therapeutic reasons where some types of medical disorders can cause social-anXietys etc it can be a coping tool and an enhancement tool in the enviroment and it's Not about any fetish or anything sexual for me personally which you mentioned nor have I found it considered offensive or intrusive in public spaces  🤔 I have aspects of self or self-states where some of my avatars they feel more happy more relaXed & more safer in public places like going out for a drink or meeting peeps where I may take a small soft toy a pencil case full of pencils etc a small doll a small blanket or other such things which will mostly be on my own table where I can see them and it's never raised alarm or concern or offended anyone 😀 in fact ive had quite a few positive comments as i try to collect good quality & unusual toys to have at home and to effectively take-out with me on holidays to the dentist even once 😯 because although I had a registered adult carer with me to accompany me for that visit the dentist is still awfull for me!! I've had a small teddy bear on my breakfast table in my hotel and it's fine!! My younger personality's are part of a medical disorder that I have and the toys are a centre-peice a focal-point for the parts of me that aspect of self that can get anXious in public and I'd rather take the risk of peeps maybe wondering why I do that or whatever than not be a good-carer!! Because it is a therapy tool and I've really noticed an improvement in my health concerns when the toys are used regularly or other childish items are there with me it can effectively help prevent nervous fits coming on that I have from PTSD type symptoms which can cause acute medical distress which is hellish to have come on in public places!!! I can't equate this behaviour with anything negative/intrusive/kinky in public it may be different or unusual But I'm very medically certified due to my upbringing and that's my life so that's that 💀🙊💀 most peeps don't notice or think it's appealing and personal I guess......I may also act or speak somewhat younger than my legal age also at times But again this is part of a medical disorder that I have and I hope you see that what you mentioned in this post can have totally different reasons from what you thought!! 



Share this comment

Link to comment
Share on other sites

BDSM Magazine

Similar discussions