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November 24, 2021 3 min read

Hello #MomentumLovers! 

Although kink has some commonalities with being LGBTQ+, and although the two communities have a long and semi-entwined history with one another, there are many key differences between these two identity labels. One of those differences: if you’re queer or trans, it’s generally expected that you will “come out” to your friends and family about it; if you’re kinky, it’s generally expected that you’ll keep that information more-or-less a secret. But is that fair or reasonable?

 

On the one hand, being queer or trans will almost inevitably create situations in your life that would be awkward or inexplicable to your loved ones if you hadn’t come out. Coming out can involve asking your family to respect your new name and pronouns, or to accept your partner into their hearts despite that partner being of a different gender than your family might have hoped or expected for you. Without a coming-out conversation prior to these events, your family might lack the proper context and information to understand what you are asking them to do – or, even worse, you might never feel able to ask for these basic measures of respect, hence why so many people lead closeted and unhappy lives of suppression and dishonesty.

 

It might seem, at first blush, that kinksters don’t have as much of a pressing need to come out about their sexuality as a gay, lesbian, bisexual, or asexual person might. After all, for many people, kink is about how they have sex, whereas being queer is also about who they love, and being trans is about who they are. For people whose kinks remain confined to the bedroom, a desire or a need to come out may never arise in the same way, for the simple reason that most people don’t tend to talk to their families or even all of their friends about the details of their sex lives. Wearing a T-shirt bearing a vaguely sexy slogan is one thing – but actually disclosing your own proclivities can feel like a bridge too far.

 

But what about if kink becomes part of your life outside of the bedroom? What if it becomes an important part of who you love, how you love, and who you are?

 

For many kinksters, this is indeed the case. Perhaps they meet new friends and new partners upon joining the kink community, and want to be able to acknowledge that community’s role in their life to the non-kinky people they love most. Perhaps they begin spending so much time in kink spaces – volunteering at events, attending conferences, hanging out at kinky social gatherings, and so on – that it would feel odd not to disclose that to the vanilla folks in their life. Perhaps their kink starts to feel less like a random sexual proclivity and more like a fixed and crucial part of their identity, core to their very personhood. In these cases and many others, a person might start to feel that coming out about being kinky is the only way to maintain their integrity and live their truth, without splintering into different versions of themselves around different people. Honesty is usually the simplest way forward, after all.

 

Unfortunately, as with coming out as queer or trans, coming out as kinky can have its complications and risks. There have been cases of people losing their jobs or losing custody of their children as a direct result of their kinkiness becoming public knowledge. Coming out can lead to social ostracization, as the people you thought loved you unconditionally turn out to be more judgmental than you ever imagined. It can come across to some people as an unnecessary admission, as “too much information,” even if you see your kinkiness as a vital part of your selfhood rather than a scandalous secret to be hidden away. It’s no wonder so many people choose to keep their kinks on the down-low in so many areas of their lives.

 

Ultimately, as with any kind of coming-out, revealing your kinkiness to your friends and family is a personal decision. There are some who argue that you have a moral and political responsibility to shout your identity from the rooftops if you’re able, so as to make the world a safer, freer place for others who share that identity – and indeed, that level of truth-telling is admirable and transformative, but that doesn’t mean you’re required to live it out. Make the calculations necessary to determine whether coming out is the right decision for you, and (if so) to whom you’d like to come out. Your sex life doesn’t need to be a shameful secret – but there’s also nothing shameful about valuing and maintaining your own privacy if that’s what feels best for you.

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