Thursday, July 17, 2008

Poll: Out?

In separate and insightful responses to my last post, Rad and Thomas made the point that an excellent means to advance the cause of civil rights for spanking enthusiasts is to step out of the shadows and live one's life in the sunlight.

I admire (and perhaps somewhat envy) people who possess the courage to be out. For many of us, though, that isn't a practical option. The cost is simply too great, be it financial, family relationships, or professional standing. So we peek our heads out just far enough to recognize and acknowledge our brethren. And we wait for a day when it's safe to be out.

Where do you stand?

How "Out" are you regarding your spanking interest and activities?

No one knows but me
My partner(s) are the only ones who know
Just my partner(s) and some cyberfriends know
A few real world spanko friends know
Plenty of people in the scene know
A number of vanillas know
I'm totally out
What spanking interest?

19 comments :

Daisy said...

Working with young children, I cannot imagine a day when it would be safe to admit to having a spanking interest! It wouldn't matter HOW much the words adult and consensual were mentioned, it would make parents of children I care for VERY nervous!
Family members, old and young would be horrified; colleagues and friends would whisper and wonder....
Nope, this is never happening. Anyway, I am a firm believer that everyone is entitled to their choice/style of sex life, but I do not want to hear about it...to me, sex is something very private and special between two people who love each other, and its nobody elses business; be they gay, straight, kinky, do whatever you both want; whatever floats your boat, but just dont try to get in mine, and dont expect me to want to get in yours!
Why do we crack on about invasion of privacy, then want the world to know all about one thing that SHOULD be kept between two people, their sex life???
Anonymously, talking about it is fine, in forums such as this blog; it helps you to develop and learn and understand, etc...but openly, NO WAY!!!! Hugs, all, and THANKS Bonnie, for providing the opportunity to meet with likeminded people in a safe, anonymous way!

RPT said...

We had a 'vanilla' client turn up at our business who we had met at a spanking party, I am not sure who was more embarrassed, him or us. But it was cool and has worked out really well.

But mostly only a few spanko friends know about our interests.

Hermione said...

I think I'm with Daisy on this one. Our sex life is really nobody else's business, and I wouldn't share the other details of that with friends or workmates, so spanking can stay a secret too.

But it is great to be able to talk about it in a safe, online forum such as our blogs. Having said that, though, I would be entirely open to meeting my trusted cyberfriends in person.

And who knows. My feelings may change with time.

Hugs,
Hermione

Paul said...

Bonnie, if it was only me, I'd be out like a shot.
But many of Mel's family would be more than hurt by that revelation.
So that is that, I'm just happy that I can talk to my cyber friends.
Warm hugs,
Paul.

Radagast said...

Let me refine my original opinion regarding "coming out". Optimally, it would be a good thing to let people know that sexually liberated people who engage in a variety of activities are not just going to disappear because closed minded individuals don't like them. However, I do understand that in the current climate (and depending on an individual's personal circumstance) it might be impossible for some to be so open about what they do.

Am I in any danger? I'm not sure. It's entirely possible that my job might find a reason to fire me if they found my blog but I can't be certain of that - there are laws and corporate rules separating a person's personal and professional life. I don't apologize for what I enjoy or what I do - it's as simple as that.

fanny said...

I have to agree with Daisy and Hermione, it's just not worth it. My husband works for a VERY conservative company-he could easily be fired if our kink were known. Hermione is right, it is so wonderful to have the cyber community to talk to. Without it I would never have found the courage to come out to Hubs. In time, I think that I too would be open to meeting cyber friends. It would be so nice to talk face to face with someone about TTWD without the fear of being judged or ridiculed.

K said...

I'm another that thinks spanking is part of my sex life. So, if I don't talk about my sex life with friends and family, spanking is not being discussed either. I really only have one friend close enough that I would be comfortable talking about personal things with. Unfortunately, she is also my mother's sister and tells my grandmother everything. Other friends are mostly people I attend church with or parents of my children's friends. I'm not ashamed of what I do or what I like and feel no need to explain it or justify it to anyone. If anyone found out, so be it, but I'm not interested in discussing it with them. I'm thankful there are people online to discuss these things with and learn from. That's enough for me.

mthc said...

Like Daisy i work with young children so talking about it in real life is not an option. My state also monitors teachers closely especially on MYSPACE. David's father was a minister and it wouldn't go over well with his family either.
It is great to have an online community to share our lifestyle with!!

Rosy said...

Kinks are fun, but they do not define who we are. They're like hobbies: something we really enjoy, but not intended to give identity.

The thing about them, as Daisy and others have said, is that kinks should be private. No one wants to know what their boss/employee/coworker does in the bedroom.

Those who want to know about kinks end up finding each other, ie, on Bonnie's lovely site. This is a social norm that runs so deep it will probably never change. Nor do I particularly want it to--I don't want to know what my family and friends do in their bedrooms!

Those comfortable enough to be "Out," kudos. Just be careful, ok? Some people won't take the news very nicely.

Brat B said...

Like most people, being "out" as spankos wouldn't be practical for us. Some people know and others don't.

D would be in serious trouble in his job if anyone were to know there. Also, neither of us would be comfortable with his co-workers and work friends knowing about that part of our lives.

Certain members of our families know, but not all. And none of them know about DD (even though we haven't been practicing that much lately). None of them would understand that at all. They know about spanking as a sexual aspect of our relationship (how they found out is not important LOL) but it is NOT something that we talk about.

We have quite a few vanilla (and kink-minded) friends that know about our spankoness, and they seem to be fine with it and even get a kick out of it! It, however, is not a subject that comes up around people that don't know about it.

One vanilla friend actually turned out to be a closet spanko, so me being open with her enabled her to open up to her husband about things. He has been very appreciative to me for it. I gave them a leather, hand shaped paddle for Christmas last year and they have enjoyed it!

I say trust your instincts when it comes to who you can be open with. You know if you shouldn't discuss things, and you're comfortable when you know you can. But being "out" to the whole world will probably never happen.

~Brat V~

Anonymous said...

I think some of the above posters are taking their kink a little too seriously. Personally, I doubt many people would care too much about their neighbors' sexual fetishes. People might make subtle jokes once in a while, but its not like being gay in the 1950's. Nobody hates spankos, and for the most part nobody cares.

Personally, I'm out. Most people don't know about my fetish because they don't ask about it, and I have no reason to give detailed accounts of my sex life in casual conversation.

That said, when I'm on a date and things are getting physical, I have no inhibitions about asking her if she'd like to spank or be spanked by me. The worst response I've ever gotten was "no thanks."

A.S.S. said...

Great question, Bonnie. We voted 'A few real world spanko friends know'.

For us, we really don't risk anything if found out beyond being embarrassed. And that aint much of a risk at all... especially since we wouldn't be embarrassed. So, it's not a matter of how being 'out' would impact us. Our motivation in not being out is... we don't wish to embarrass others or make them feel uncomfortable.

While being out might help some spankos feel better... and thus "advance the cause"... the fact is, the majority of people just don't have an interest in spanking one way or the other. They don't care what we do in private, and they don't want to hear about it either. And really, why shouldn't we respect that right?

Unless the friendship is extremely open, where they talk about their interests and ask us questions about ours... we aint going there.

We're comfortable with that.. and we do way more than our share to advance spanko rights too.

:)
Todd and Suzy

Anonymous said...

I don't think most people really CARE if you're into spanking. Obviously my boyfriend knows, a collection of exes/former fuck buddies/long forgotten one-nighters... Most of my close friends know I'm kinky... Anyone I feel comfortable enough to talk to about sex knows I like it rough and somewhat "colourful" foreplay is something I enjoy.

Maybe it's harder to be open about it if there's a DD aspect to your relationship as plenty of people, even other spanking fans, don't understand the dynamic of such a relationship. Since for me it's a sexual kink and only a sexual kink...there's not the same stigma involved.

Overall, I'm a big fan of keeping your nose out of other people's sex lives, but if someone I know well asks me about it...well, I have nothing to hide.

It's really not THAT big a deal to me...

~elle~

Stacy said...

I chose a number of vanillas know, because I am not totally out.

But I am out without admiting it to people.

My boyfriend enjoys spanking me infront of friends and family, too. But most really havn't caught on to us really loving it. lol

Ms. Cassandra (Sandy) Park said...

I have a told a few vanilla, but only liberal and open-minded friends who didn't care.

I'm pretty open on the internet, to the degree where, if anyone in my family stumbled upon my website or blog, they MIGHT know it was me. I had a wig on when I posed for the first group of pics, but some later pics show my real hair. I think there is both enough personal information that they could THINK it was me, and enough plausible deniability that I could DENY it was me. I wouldn't LIKE my family to find out, and I hope they don't, but I've decided I'm okay with taking that risk.

This is only one part of my personality, but it's a big part. I do a lot of public play and I go to a lot of parties.

Indiana said...

I agree that the relationship between spanking and sex makes it difficult to be totally "out." I do think our culture would be a lot healthier if there were more discussion of sex. But that doesn't mean that everybody has to share or that those who don't want to take part should be subjected to descriptions of others' intimate details.

It was strange for me to spend so much time reading and thinking about a topic without discussing it with anyone. So I confided in one particularly good friend a month or two after I began commenting on spanking blogs. That was a wonderful experience that has made us even closer. So I've been more willing to take risks. I'm now out to three or four friends and will probably be out to more in time. All have been curious; most have even been excited or encouraging, though one friend is a bit more wary. Especially after she read the Max Mosley article in the NY Times.

I have no plans to be out to family, but I am not particularly worried that it would fundamentally change our relationship if they found out. I have absolutely no desire to be out to co-workers and colleagues. I have semi-joked that were I ever to be exposed to the guys at work, I would much prefer it to be as a switch so they'd be worried about what would happen if they teased me about it too much!

Interesting discussion, Bonnie!

Thomas_III said...

As I stated in the previously mentioned blog post, I'm 100% completely out, to friends, family and coworkers. A good number of these people are conservative, some even religious. However, the only problem that's surfaced is that my father and I have the same name, so Googling his name will turn up my blog rather quickly. Other than that, it's business as usual.

I think that many spankos are overly paranoid about how their kink will be received. Yes, there is a small portion of the population that views spanking, particularly DD, as spousal abuse. This vocal minority, though, would be quickly shut up by the disinterested majority.

I use my real name on my blogs and profiles, never hide my face from a picture while spanking a woman, and have no shame about answering questions when asked about my kink. (Once exposed to the idea of spanking, a great number of people will show interest, even if it's never occurred to them before.)

A lot of people, particularly before the internet opened up doors, never truly found access to their spanking interests. An even greater number may have had a hidden interest, but never thought about it enough for it to develop inside of them. If admitting to being a spanko holds the same stigma that being homosexual had years ago, then how are people going to properly connect? How many spankos are too afraid to even read a blog like this, for fear that someone will find out that they did?

With the internet, more and more people are being exposed to spanking and other kinks, and I think that this is a good thing. It makes our community stronger when our numbers grow, but only openness will enable that to take place. If we continue to hide in the shadows, then the shadows is where we'll stay.

I prefer the light of day, thanks.

Bonnie said...

Everyone - Wow, what a great discussion. Thanks to all. This so should have been a brunch topic! Oh well.

Daisy - I agree that there are many people for whom being out will probably never be a reasonable option.

I don't see hypocrisy in desiring privacy and yet seeking a greater level of acceptance of one's lifestyle. There are many people who are been outed through no fault of their own. Because of society's condemnation of alternative lifestyles, they sometimes face dire consequences.

I know of one situation where a woman's kinky interests were brought up as evidence in a child custody case. The truth is that we are not evil, scary people and we need the world to know at least that much.

RPT - I suppose that was bound to happen eventually. I'm glad it worked out well.

Hermione - I too am very grateful for this medium. Before the internet, Randy and I thought we were alone in our unusual interest.

Paul - I completely understand. We have some older relatives who I think would be simply devastated.

Rad - I am grateful we have folks like you out in front. Perhaps many of us will someday walk the trail you blaze.

Fanny - I agree!

K - Our situation is quite similar.

Mthc - I didn't realize that states were now employing some bureaucrat's concept of morality to judge teacher's personal lives. That's scary.

Rosy - I hope your assessment about values never changing is overly pessimistic. As I said to Daisy, for me, the question is not so much about sharing our kink with unwilling vanillas. It's about protecting good people from undeserved persecution. Considering the progress that gays and lesbians have made in terms of societal acceptance, I want to believe that we can see some tolerance as well.

Brat V - You remind us that being out is not a binary choice. It is possible to be out in one context and closeted in another. I think that's a valuable insight.

Anon - I think, as some of the previous commenters noted, the consequences can be quite serious. Some people do care enough to cause us a lot of trouble.

Each of us must make our own judgment about how we handle this issue. There can't be any single right answer, except perhaps in the context of one couple.

Todd and Suzy - I think you do advance the cause by demonstrating that normal, happy people enjoy spicing up their lives up with a little kink.

Elle - If everyone thought as you do, our lives would be a lot easier!

Stacy - Now that's an interesting way to defuse the situation! Thanks for sharing it.

Sandy - I like your point about this being a big part of your personality. I feel the same way, and I think that's why I am always slightly uncomfortable in the closet. Many people think they know me, but very few actually do. Without both sides of my life, one cannot understand who I am. As one who makes a living in the communications field, I strive above all to be understood.

For me, spanking is more than an activity and submission is more than a frame of mind. They are part of how I define myself.

Indiana - Thanks for sharing your experiences!

Thomas - Do you really think people are overly paranoid? You may be right, but I don't sense that in these comments.

I agree about the positive role of the internet. Randy and I were spankos long before the advent of the web, but it was a lot more fun once we were able to swap ideas with online friends.

As I said to Rad, I feel I owe a debt to those of you who are out because you mark (*!*) the path for those who follow.

Terpsichore said...

very interesting...am just catching up on my reading...

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