What do you when the people who are supposed to love you, or at least like you, judge you for being kinky? I honestly don’t know. For the past five years, I’ve kept my head (mostly) down and avoided outing my kinky self to my vanilla life. Mostly because I don’t want to deal with Judgy McJudgersons.
But some people have – either on purpose or on accident (hopefully very few have been outed maliciously!) – and they’ve sent emails and messages asking how they should handle the negative comments they get from vanilla friends and family who don’t or won’t understand their kinky relationship.
I know, I know. Some of you are wondering why anyone would even tell their family about their D/s relationship. I get it. But even those of us who don’t talk about it can get funny looks or comments from family members and friends who know something is “different” about you.
John Brownstone and I don’t many magic words of wisdom in this episode of Loving BDSM. In fact, I think even with the bit of advice we offer, there’s room for much more, especially from people who’ve been there, done that, and got the t-shirt. So give it a listen, and if you’ve got more to add, please share! I’d love to do a follow-up episode to give more and better information for the people who need it.
From the show:
- John Brownstone received a slightly judgy comment on a blog post calling our kink “abuse.”
- A lot of us have just spent extra time around family and friends, some of who might wonder about your kinky relationship, whether you’re out or not.
- You might get comments, looks, or judgement from those who don’t know you’re kinky but maybe notice something different.
- Or, like at least one listener, judgement from those who do know and don’t approve.
- Coming out to anyone about your kink is a personal decision and there’s no right or wrong answer about what to do.
- Before you share your kinky life with others, assess possible risks – people lose jobs and kids over their kink.
- One way to “deal” with vanilla friends and family who make snide remarks or judge you is to develop a thick skin and confidence in who you are as a kinkster and a person – but it takes time.
- You may never change their mind, but you don’t have to. Be who you are, and they will either accept it or not.
- If you have to, remove yourself from the conversation, change the subject, or avoid their presence (if possible).
- If a “friend” is refusing to believe you or listen to you, and says mean, ugly things to you, are they really your friend?
- As with other things in life where we disagree – think politics – you can still love someone you don’t understand or agree with – your family and friends should be able to do the same thing. And hopefully they will.
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We live in a very judgemental world – which is really odd when you think about it. There aren’t many of us who don’t have skeletons in our closet that we wouldn’t like uncovered – but we feel happy to insert our (usually completely biased) opinions into other’s lives of which we know nothing about. I make it my business to stay out of other’s business, unless directly asked otherwise. Great post!
I’m the same way. If you ask for my opinion, you’ll get it, but otherwise, I leave my snarky comments for private conversations between JB and myself and no one else needs to know what I think.
Unless you’re doing something you should be ashamed of, then the best response is to hold your head high and straighten your shoulders. Stand up straight and let them say what they will. People who judge others for their choices have reasons for doing so; usually those reasons are jealousy that you have a much more stable, loving relationship than they do, they have desires that they’d love to explore, but can’t due to some deep-seated reason (religious belief, stigma, fear of being outted, and i’m sure many, many more).
I tweet often about my boss telling me what a wonderful woman I am and how I’d make some man happy and why am I not married. Honestly? I’ve been neglected, mistreated, and walked over enough in my life and those seem to be the only type of guys I attract. Being single with the occasional FWB Romp is the absolute best thing for me. Obviously, I don’t tell my boss this – I just laugh and tell them that guys can’t handle me. I am who I am and I’m happy. I do the whole ‘head tilt/confused look’ with people who are in relationships that make them miserable and then go on about my way.
Every relationship is different and people need to find out what works for them. And, if a religious person judges you, you have some replies you can use. “Oh, so you’re God now?” is the really mean one. The other is, of course, about not judging, lest ye be judged. Take what others say with a grain of salt and move along the best you can. If someone truly loves you for who you are, what you do behind closed doors shouldn’t affect their love and it says much more about them if they allow that to happen.
I agree completely, Mischa. And I do that head tilt thing, too. After having gone through my own bad relationships, stayed way too long, and realized that as hard as it was to end it and be on my own (with 2 kids), it was completely worth it. Especially knowing what I know now and having the life I now lead.
Advice from my favorite relationship book “Leading and Supportive Love: the truth about dominant and submissive relationships” by Chris M Lyon.
“Let your loved ones know, on a repeated basis, that you have chosen this type of relationship/partner. Be clear that it makes you happy and creates a supportive environment for you to live to your potential as who you want to be.
“Northern Illinois University’s Dr. Sagarin suggests that ‘[The submissive partner] should be able to state in strong terms why they are in that relationship; it is by choice and of their own volition. They acknowledge why someone would have this impression [that it is harmful or abusive] and that it’s wrong. They have negotiated the situation and if at some point, the relationship is no longer working for them, they will re-negotiate the relationship or they will leave. That will be an assurance.’
“Talk to your friend/loved one/family member in their terms. They most likely see themselves as independent and make their own life choices just as you do. When helping others relate to your relationship, ‘try to connect the activities to things that people can relate to,’ advises Dr. Sagarin. ‘Avoid evangelical ways of presenting it. Most people can relate to having a hard day at work, having spent all day making difficult decisions, and what you really want is to have your partner say “Let’s do this for dinner”. If my partner is willing to take charge of this little thing, that’s a relief.’ Tell them that your relationship may not be what they would want or choose, but this is a viable relationship dynamic that you choose because it feels right for you. This is how you feel safe and loved. Everyone has their own way and you are not the only self-aware free-thinker who feels this way. You are being who you want to be. You have your eyes open and are living with integrity. You may also want to explain to your family member/friend that they may not see your partner being loving/nurturing/vulnerable because they are a private person and they share it only with you. Your partner works hard toward supporting you to be who you want to be – but your family member/friend really may not see both sides. They just need to understand that you chose your partner and the type of relationship you have, that you are happy, loved, and cared for. Reassure them that you bring any of your concerns or issues in life to your attentive L-type partner.”
That all makes a lot of sense to me, and I think it does help (some) people if they can see and hear that a submissive made that choice for themselves.
I’m sorry, I failed to include that the book does not suggest coming out and saying “We’re in a BDSM D/s relationship,” The quotes were in response to observations or comments (concerned or critical) that friends or family might make seeing the submissive regularly defer to their partner or needing their partner’s input before doing things. They give Leading & Supportive (D/s) individuals a way to respond to people in a positive, general, relatable manner about their relationship without having to go into particulars.
I think that’s brilliant, too. 🙂
I’ve just discovered the world of sex podcasts … OK, that’s not true, I’ve known you were doing them for a while, but I’ve never got round to listening to many due to listening oportunities … but that’s changing. 🙂 I’ve got a lot of catching up to do. 🙁 / 🙂
Whilst I suspect you’ll be focusing on BDSM related knks, but as I’d dearly love to be Out about my love of latex (even within my marriage) I’m looking forward to listening to your take on going public with perversions.
I wish we had a three step process or something to make it easier. I don’t think it’s easy at all. You’re either taking a leap of faith that the people who love you will (eventually) understand or the leap of faith that you withstand the fallout of such an announcement. I don’t have that much faith so I stay quiet, even about things I’m *really* happy about or proud of.
You’re right, the shows are definitely geared towards D/s and BDSM, but hopefully you’ll get some practical info out of it, too.
Do you think somethings are best left unspoken?
eg: I fall between atheist and agnostic, whilst I have both friends that are really devout theists and militant atheists. I actively want to not have conversations with them about gods and faith. I’d rather they didn’t mention it at all. I don’t drop my beliefs (or the things that go with that) into conversation, but they do. It makes me uncomfortable. I know it’s not quite the same, because they get to be open about being (non) believers whilst we don’t get to be open about being perverts, but do I see parallels.
I see the parallels, too. And it’s a personal decision. For some people, if talking about it (or at least not hiding it) allows them to feel happier and freer, they should. If someone feels like it’s no one’s damn business, they should keep it to themselves. The difference (or not, maybe this happens to other groups, too) is that if you choose to open up, you also have to be willing to deal with the consequence of people not liking it, not understanding it, and judging you for it in a way that ruptures relationships. Part of me says that the people who really love you will (eventually) get over it, but I know that’s not always true. Some things are too foreign for even the people who love us most.
But I also think there’s a difference between dropping your beliefs (forcefully or not) into a conversation that makes people uncomfortable and living your life openly but not broadcasting it at every opportunity. One is (kind of) obnoxious and shows a lack of caring that someone else might be made uncomfortable. The other is less invasive and means (to me) that if anyone has a problem with your lifestyle, beliefs, or whatever, it’s their problem not yours. A lot of people think that if they believe something, live a type of life, or do something out of the mainstream, they have to mention it at every turn.
Basically, it’s a REALLY big topic and there’s no one right way to do it. Hell, even my opinions are evolving on it through these questions and conversations about it.
Hmmm! This something I feel you on Hun! Being in a D/s poly relationship it’s different for me. My family know I’m bi, but I was outed by my great aunty may (82). A couple of years ago when she said ‘oh we have known for years you bat for both team’ . (I love my aunty may) the poly side, well we don’t hide it , but don’t wave it family’s face. We are out to all are friends, who mostly kinky. Know the D/s , hmmm hard , no I’m not. The main reason with family, is my dad is Irish and women on his side are mainly feisty house wife’s . My mother (I don’t get on with my mum) is Russian and her family is full of acerdemic and is incredibly judgemental. I got pushed in to getting a degree and masters , pushed to work very hard (working 15 hours a day, 7 days a week, for 7 year nearly killed me.) I now go to college (I’m doing mixed humanities and just decided to train to teach yoga. Yay me! ) , run a home, and teach dog training and train dog trainers! I do all I do cos it makes me happy. I get judge by my sisters and mum , massively . But hell I don’t care I’m safe happy and loved, fuck em! But I’m sure not telling um I have my arse spanked for kicks! So what I’m saying (I think!?!?) I don’t hid it , but I don’t rub it in people face. You have a question , ask and I will tell you. above all I do what I need to do to be safe , happy and to be me!
I think it makes sense to handle it that way. And I’d like to think that if my family asked directly, I’d answer directly. Thankfully I haven’t had to put that to the test, lol.