Emotions

The Family You’re Given and the Family You Make

Kayla Lords holding John Brownstone's hand

I don’t even know where to begin.

John Brownstone and I came back from Eroticon and London exhausted but elated by the experience. It had been a long week away but a good one. We arrived at my mother’s house in the middle of night, when everyone was asleep and collapsed into bed, happy to be back.

The next morning, I saw my stepfather and said, “Good morning.” I didn’t get the typical response, but I didn’t think much of it. It was early. He seemed startled. Weird but whatever.

A few hours later, I stumbled into a conversation between him and JB. I didn’t hear it all, but I heard enough.

“You can’t do this.”

“It’s not right.”

“You’re harming the boys.”

It didn’t occur to me that the topic of the conversation was my blog. This space. I thought he meant “sex writing as work” and flippantly called out last year’s earnings as proof that yes the fuck I can do this thing I do.

After purposefully never giving this URL or my blogger name to my family, it had been discovered. He’d been pouring through it, shocked at what I do here.

What he saw upset him. Fair enough — sex blogging and BDSM aren’t for everyone. What he saw concerned him as a grandparent. Okay — without knowing how it all works or what safeguards we have in place, there should be questions.

But did we get questions? Were we respected as human beings, parents, family?

Nope.

We were told, in no uncertain terms, that we weren’t welcome in his home (never mind that it’s also my mother’s home). He wanted nothing to do with us. Even the next day, when we left (yes, we stayed, because my mom wanted us there), when John Brownstone tried to politely say goodbye, we were told not to let the door hit us on the way out.

This is the family I’ve been given.

For 15 years, we’ve had a fraught relationship, my stepfather and I. Anytime I’ve done something he didn’t approve of, he assumed the worst of me. The absolute, literal worst — a caricature that doesn’t match the reality. God knows I’m not perfect, but I’m not the lazy, manipulative, bitch he thinks I am, either.

Yep, that’s how he saw me. Until he didn’t. One day, he decided I wasn’t that person (or so he said).

What changed? Not me. I continued to be who I was, and he had to admit (although never to me) that he had been wrong.

Now, I’ve done something else he doesn’t understand — baring my body and my sexuality on the internet for all to see, engaging in deviousness (aka BDSM). And I’m once again just as awful as I was 15 years ago.

Nothing has changed. Same shit, different day. I’m not happy, but his judgement (and condemnation) don’t hurt.

But my mother is different. And she’s my remaining parent. I’m an only child, and my aunt (her sister) never had kids. If we didn’t marry other people, it would be just the three of us. To say we’re fairly tight is an understatement.

Did she see me the way he did? Would she choose him over me and tell me I couldn’t visit her anymore? As the questions swirled in my mind, I swallowed frantic screams, afraid that if I started, I’d never stop. My biggest fear is that I wouldn’t be the one she chose. As a child, my father (flawed as he was) always won between us. Would it happen again? Could I survive it if it did?

But I also know that my mother is a fierce grandmother. No one can come between her and her grandbabies. They would be my saving grace.

I underestimated her and forgot her love for me runs just as deep. That she’s never tried to understand what I do, happy only that I’m happy and thriving. The look in her eyes spoke volumes — love, worry, determination.

“You are my daughter. I love you. You and I are fine, and we will always be fine.”

Thankfully, she is the family I’ve been given, too.

But the family you make is so important. And my made family is filled with kinksters, perverts, people who bare their souls and their bodies. This happened at the perfect time, after a weekend of being surrounded by a number of that family in London.

A tweet or two later, and an outpouring of love overwhelmed my heart and mind. People were quick to remind me that I was not alone in this.

If Eroticon lifted my spirits, this shot me straight to the moon.

As much as I want the love of my given family, the love of my made-by-me family was a balm to my tired soul.

John Brownstone is part of this family. We found each other and never let go. This isn’t just happening to me. It’s happening to him, too — after having been rejected by his own family, now mine is putting him through another round. I know he feels the ground shifting beneath him. Just as I hate that my mother is in the middle, I hate that he has to go through it again.

We reach for each other in tough moments, holding the other up, finding support and comfort in each other. He grabs my hand and guides me. I clutch his, hoping that I can transfer comfort through skin-to-skin contact.

I feel so many things but shame isn’t one of them.

When you put your body or your sex life on the internet, it’s inevitable that someone will disapprove. Maybe that’s why I never told my family my blog name even when I told them that I write about sex for a living. I didn’t want to deal with disapproval.

I find it ironic that the people I was most worried about (my mom and aunt) were the least upset about it. They love me, no matter who I am or what I do. Yes, I know how lucky I am.

But having someone that I’d thought accepted me flip out like this was stunning. I thought I’d dealt with this already, but in retrospect I feel like I should have known this day would come.

Had I been faced with this level of judgement, derision, and near-hatred a few years ago, I would have crumbled. Back in 2012, I likely would have closed up shop and there would be no Loving BDSM or Masturbation Monday today.

But in 2019, I’m a different woman, at a different point in my life. I’m proud of the work I do and the content I create. I love how I’ve touched people’s lives and inspired them to touch themselves. Fucking hell, I know for a fact I’ve made a difference in the world because people tell me I have. My experiences are why I can tell other sex bloggers and creators that they’re making a difference, too.

No one can take that away from me. And I won’t be shamed into hiding, cowering in fear, or giving into someone who refuses to ask basic questions or try to understand why I do what I do.

For better or worse, this is the path I chose and the one that’s helped shape me into the writer, entrepreneur, woman, and parent that I am today. Fuck anyone who thinks I should be ashamed of what I do here.

But what about the children?

We all know this “fear” right? When in doubt, pull the children into the conversation as a scapegoat to force people to change their sexual behavior.

So let’s talk about that…

My children are polite, open-minded, kind boys. They accept people who are different than them. They ask questions when they don’t understand. And yes, they know I write about sex although they think it’s weird. They’re sweet kids who still hug their mom, use their manners (most of the time), and like to tell jokes. Between John Brownstone and I, they’re turning out just fine.

And yes, I’ve put in safeguards to keep adult content away from them — as best we can in a digital world. They don’t get to see our sites but yes, I talk about sex with them in age-appropriate ways. Partly because I don’t want them to grow up as sexually repressed as I was or on the wrong side of #MeToo. But also, because I don’t want them to so repressed and filled with sexual shame that they treat someone else the way their grandfather is currently treating me.

Not that it matters, but for the curious, as I explained to my mother — 90 percent of what we do occurs while they’re at school, and the other 10 percent happens behind closed doors. Yes, I’m unabashedly sexual and kinky, but I’m their mother — first and always. A mother who’s not afraid to talk about sex, explain masturbation, or accept that her children are sexual beings now and in the future (wherever on the sexuality spectrum they may fall).

The family I’ve been given isn’t all bad. After deep conversations with my mom and my aunt, I know that I am loved and will be loved, no matter what I choose to do. The screams in my head have slowly subsided to a dull roar.

The family I’ve created is everything. Without readers, bloggers, kinksters, and everyone else in this space, John Brownstone and I would feel isolated. But we’re not. We’re loved and respected as fellow human beings. Maybe we’re all a bunch of misfits, but I’d pick y’all any fucking day of the week.

 

About the author

Kayla Lords

I am an erotic author, sex blogger, podcaster, freelance writer, an opinionated marketer, and speaker. You can find me online sharing my innermost sexual thoughts and experiences, teaching other bloggers how to make money writing about sex, and helping kinksters have healthy BDSM relationships. I'm also a masochistic babygirl submissive with an amazing and sadistic Daddy Dom and business partner, John Brownstone. Welcome to my kinky corner of the internet!

52 Comments

  • I am so sorry you had to go through this, BOTH of you, but Kayla, I am also so fucking PROUD of you, for handling this the way you do. It’s brilliant, and I can feel the love and strength of your mother, as she has passed that on to you too. Keep on doing what you do because this community – this family of yours – can’t be without you! Love you!

    Rebel xox

  • You are amazing. I’m sorry you had to face the sadness of this, but glad you found the positives, your people who love and support you. I’m lucky too, that my mum and sister support what I do and so did my Dad when he was alive. I’ve had my deal of judgement too, from people I thought loved me at least a little. It really hurts. But I’m glad you’re overcoming because I’m terribly glad I’ve got your kinky self in my life

  • I’m sobbing reading this, my heart both breaks and soars for you. It breaks because i relate, it soars because I know enough about you both to know that this will not break you.

  • I am sending all the hugs and positive thoughts possible to you. What a horrible thing you guys had to go through and deal with and still manage to get the kids home as well. I am glad that your Mom left you with a final message that I know you needed more than anything else. The family you made wouldn’t be the same without you. Personally, for me, you and John Brownstone saved me after my break up. I would have left the community before I even knew what it was and how special and amazing it could be, has been, is. You both have helped so many others, selflessly, whether it was business advice or personal advice. I admire the difference you have made in yourself and how you have grown the most. You are an amazing woman and an amazing mother. No one can take that away from you.

  • I am sending you both all the love and a standing ovation. Your stepfather’s condemnation is a reflection of his own inability to accept and love. It’s not about you or JB as quality humans even though I know that doesn’t stop it from hurting. I’ve wondered so many times how I would act if my family found my blog, and I suppose that it would clear the wheat from the chaff. In other words, the good people from the arseholes. It must feel horrible, but in the end you’re also free. xoxo

  • This is beautiful and sad and clearly heartfelt and knowing you guys just for a short time is clearly loving and beautiful and you guysrock. I’m sorry this has been your experience yet you’ve been able to rise above. Love and hugs and support however you need it!!!

  • Kayla – wow. What a shock, your safe haven turning unwelcoming, all your careful parenting and discretion put under the microscope and your personal choices pulled out on the carpet for public disection Argh – yuck – worst nightmare ever!

    But Kayla – you came in like your own cavalry! You have your mother and your aunt’s support and unconditional love – hurrah! You always have John Brownstone by your side, supporting you as you support him. Your boys? of course you’re doing right by them and they are making you proud right back – the proof of the pudding.

    As you say, the timing of this horrible development could’ve been the worst, but actually… it was the best because you had come from the loving /supportive / hugely admiring arms of your UK/european fan base. I am delighted you felt uplifted by the strength and empowering approval of your kinky twitter family. You’ve earned it, you deserve it!

    • Thank you so much, Posy. And if not for my community (and JB, of course), I’m not sure where I’d be. I hope others get to feel that kind of love, too (although under better circumstances because I wouldn’t wish this one anyone).

  • First, I’m glad to be in your band of merry misfits. I wouldn’t want it to be any other way. You are a fucking delight.

    Second, if my daughter has kids and comes to me asking “how do I talk to them about sex?” I plan to send her links to your blog posts and podcast.

  • A few years ago my family rejected me and my partner too. They hated me for coming out out publicly. It was embarrassing to them that I talked openly about my sexuality and exploring my gender. They hated that I didn’t hide my queerness or transness at all. They hated that I fell in love with and married my Metis partner (of course they were racist in addition to homophobic and transphobic). I’m sure they now loathe me entirely for my blog, writing, and advocacy.

    But my mom, who sounds an awful lot like yours, actually did end up choosing me. She left my dad (and explained in retrospect how he emotionally and financially abused her for 30 years), and like me, she was disowned by everyone else, including my sister/her daughter.

    Anyway, don’t give up on your mom. She sounds like a fighter, and like she’s got a good head on her shoulders. I bet she picks you too. ❤

    You, your partner. Your kids, and your chosen family all sound incredible.

    • Thank you so much, and I am so sorry you had to experience that kind of rejection. It is often in the hardest times that we find out who will stand with us. I’m glad your mom chose you, too.

  • Your stepfather’s reaction is all of our worst nightmares but you are handling it like a fucking champ. I salute you and John Brownstone, I think your kids are lucky to have you both as parents and the strength and openness you show in this post is inspiring. Thank you.

    • Thank you so much! I always feel like if something happens to me, it can easily happen to someone else. I don’t want anyone to go through this, but if I can help someone later when it happens to them, I want to do that. None of us should ever feel alone at a time like this.

  • I am so sorry that this has happened to you, especially after such an amazing weekend where you have inspired so many others. It is one of my greatest fears so all I can do is admire the way you have dealt with it. Sending hugs to you both ❤️

  • Oh my goodness, I’m so sorry, what an awful experience but I’m so glad you and JB have each other, love and support. The world needs more people with your courage, honesty and compassion.

  • I understand this is far too many ways to count. Ones I won’t go into here but if you ever need to spill guts, spill away. As a mom to boys I can tell you like yours they learned respect, they learned sex is not shameful, they learned no means no, they learned they could come to me with anything and sadly so did many of their friends when they would go to my boys asking advice. I was the cool mom but not for the reasons that usually occurs. I was the cool mom because they could talk to me, about anything, and know I would not shame or judge them. I am okay with that.. as you should be. So glad you did not let him have that power!!

  • As I stated on previous Twitter posts when this first came to light it’s unforunate that someone that close is so judgmental, but we also develop our strengths at moments like these. Dig deep, together, and more forward with your moral compass having been pointed the right direction for some
    time now. Best wishes and warm hugs!

    • I agree completely. I am who I am today because of everything I’ve gone through. This might suck, but we’ll come out on the other side wiser and stronger. Thank you.

  • I am so sorry that you and John have had to go through this after such a wonderful Eroticon. I wonder how your father in law happened across the blog, does he have a guilty secret of his own? Thank goodness your mom and aunt believe in you and trust that you are the woman, daughter and mother to be proud of. Your children are growing up in a loving and nurturing environment and you are rightly proud of that. I think that we all dread this kind of thing happening, so thank you for being so open and honest about the events and your feelings about them. xx

    • Thank you so much, and yes, it was my worst fear come true. I’m glad it has a mostly good ending and hopefully it can help other bloggers who may go through it in the future.

  • Hey Kayla – sorry that you have had to go through this and be witness to a judgemental man who is married to your mum.
    I had a fraught relationship with my stepfather too. He married my mum when I was 13. By the time I was 15 he was calling me a whore, tart, slut, thief. When I left home at 19 -I never returned to the house when he was in. In fact, I never saw him again as he died about ten years later.

    Your boys sound level headed and intelligent. I am sure you will both provide them with all the wisdom they can possibly need as they are growing up. As to all your blogs – they are educational and you must and should be so proud of what you are achieving with them. <3

  • I’m so sorry that you and JB had to go through that Kayla, especially after such an enjoyable weekend. You’re both staying true to yourselves and as far as your boys are concerned, you are talking to them about things when you as a parent, know the time is right for them to know. When all said and done, what you and JB get up in the bedroom is entirely your own business, regardless of what anyone else thinks. But you choose to share your journey with us and form a community with like-minded people, which from my experience has been nothing short of wonderful so far 🙂
    Keep your chin up, and like you said, f**k anyone who’s sending nastiness your way.
    Much love <3 xx

  • Your strength and resolve is amazing to see. It’s hard to deal with such ignorance from family. You and JB have been such an inspiration to me and many others from what I’ve seen.

    Raising sex positive children is so important these days, yet many still do not understand what that means. I wish you both the best as you deal with these issues, and know that you have my support.

    • Thank you so much! Having the support of our community has made this so much easier. It helps that we know we’re not wrong, and if we can use this as a moment to help others, we will.

  • I don’t even know where to begin except to say that I’m glad you and JB did not let this break you. Everyone that follows you, reads your blog, listens to your podcast , are moved by what you write, say and do. You involve us in your day to day lives we are enamored with you. You make us feel so comfortable with being ourselves. I can only imagine what you guys would be llike in person, but I bet not much different than your personalities online. This shall pass and only make you stronger, continue being you!!!

    • Thank you so much. If we didn’t have each other and this community I don’t know what would have happened, but we’re all stronger together. And I’d say we’re louder and laughier in person, but that’s probably the only difference, lol.

  • The only one who seems in the wrong is your step dad…and it appears he is alone on his island of no. Either he’ll get lonely out there and apologize and accept or he won’t. Either way, you’ll be fine. He’s the only one missing out on a great relationship with a great human being.

  • So sorry to hear this, people who are small minded will always find reasons to justify their behaviors and attitudes. We have experienced some ugliness from people who are threatened by something they don’t understand and don’t have the decency to ask about recently too. Hugs ❤️

    • I am SO sorry you’re going through something similar. After spending so much time with open-minded people, I was legitimately shocked at the close-mindedness of it all. Not liking something just because you don’t understand it seems so foreign to me but I know those people exist, sadly.

  • Really sorry this happened to you.

    Your stepfather sounds like quite something. However, I am really glad your mum and your aunt are with you on this.

    No one who really knows you (or JB) could ever think anything bad of you. Sending you both huge love and hugs. xox

  • As the aunt you mentioned above, I can only tell you that you are loved, you are magnificent, and you are strong. I am so proud of you that you have followed your dreams. Remember, you come from a long line of strong women and the opinions of others only make us stronger. LOL – maybe that is stubborn women! Much love to you Punkin!

    • I love you, too. Also, it’s VERY weird to have family commenting on my sex blog. I’m assuming you have NOT looked around and don’t know what goes on here. And even though that’s certainly not true, lie to me. 😉

  • I fully understand the fear of discovery by the judgmental ones closest to you and that fear has held me back in so many ways. By the same token, I also find it refreshing that your mother and aunt love you just the way you are. I have given it much thought if I were in the same situation and if the issue is ever raised again by your stepfather I believe I would ask what he was searching for to find you.

    • Unfortunately, I know exactly how he found me — and it was much more direct than a random search. But I also know he’s been back to the site multiple times which creates SEVERAL questions that I wish I had the answers to.

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