The Unfathomable Existential Terror of Being Known (and its upsides!)

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It’s not always easy, being kinky.

Not that I have to tell you this; if you’re reading this, you’re probably kinky too and have a pretty good idea of all the tough parts already. We know about keeping secrets, we know about enforcing consent, we know about finding communities… but there’s one part I don’t think we talk about a lot. We don’t really talk about the courage it takes to talk about our kink. Our own personal kink.

I’m not talking about erotica here; believe me, I know how much easier it is to hide behind the mask of fiction and pretend that you’re talking about what your characters want to do to each other. I’m not talking about discussions of technique or conversations about etiquette, either; if there’s one thing that you can always guarantee will start people talking at any kink gathering, it’s asking, “How do you (insert fetish here)?” People will sprint into the room from twenty miles away to explain to you how to do intricate knots, play safely with needles, fractionate a subject, or just about anything you care to name. That stuff is easy.

No, I’m talking about the hardest conversation anyone can have, top or bottom. The one that starts with, “What I really like is…” That’s the one that everyone struggles with, the one that never gets any easier. The talk you have when you’re finished establishing that you’re both kinky, the talk you have when you’ve confirmed that you both share the same general fetishes. The one where you admit what specific things turn you on. That is always a rough one, no matter how many times you have it with however many people you have it with.

Because it’s sharing a part of you. A personal, deeply intimate part that cuts right down to the core of who you are as a person, a part that we are taught almost from birth never to discuss with anyone. And if you’re kinky (and again, it’s probably a pretty safe bet that you are) then this part of you is at least a little bit peculiar. It’s not the sort of thing that appeals to everyone, and yet it’s so closely tied to your identity that being rejected over it hurts like nothing else imaginable. Hearing someone say they’re squicked out by your kink feels uniquely like they’re saying, “You are disgusting and I hate you.” Even when that’s the furthest thing from their mind.

And yet… the same drives that are so deeply personal are also so intensely felt that we almost have to say something. It’s almost impossible not to. Our kinks are everything to us, our daydreams and our fantasies, our constant companions whether we love them or hate them. A life without expressing our kink is doable, but there’s something incredibly sad about not getting to be the person you truly are that makes it worth the risk of saying, “This is who I am. This is what I love. This is what I want to do to you, if you’re interested.”

And that’s the magic of it all, once you’ve submitted yourself to the risk of being known for who you are. Every so often, you find that connection, that person who wants exactly what you want and loves the kink you love, and it’s deeper than anything you can possibly imagine. It’s that same intimacy, on the other side of the barrier of fear and through into total and heartfelt connection. When you find someone who shares your kink, you know them and they know you. And while that’s the scariest thing in the world… it’s also the most wonderful.

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