Lighten Up

Every time I’ve gotten stuck for words when someone (non-kinky) makes a comment about BDSM, I later think, “it would be so much better if I could just treat it lightly, act as if I don’t care what they think, joke about it.”

Last night, someone visiting me and my partner: “You should just get a live-in submissive to do all the housework for you.”

Awkward silence.

My partner: “I don’t think that’s how it works…”

What I wanted to say: “Well, we already have a live-in submissive, but I really don’t kink on housework.”

Of course, I didn’t think of this until I was already walking away from the conversation.

If I could just say things like this instead of feeling so afraid, so terrified of what people think…it would all be so much easier. Joking about it, speaking as if it were the most normal thing in the world for me to be talking openly about being a submissive or a masochist — speaking from the assumption that the other person is totally okay with BDSM sexuality, and allowing myself to be surprised if they’re not. Oh, you didn’t think about the fact that you might be talking about me? Does that change things? Does it make you feel awkward for making that joke? Does it make you feel uncomfortable around me? If so, you’re going to have to address that, now. It forces things out into the open, and once they’re there, once we get the point of actually talking about these things, I can hold my own. I know the arguments, I know my positions and can defend them. That’s the part I’m good at. If I can just get there, just break through that wall of fear preventing me from making the first step…

What am I so afraid of? That they’ll think my being a sexual submissive means that I’m a pushover and a weakling in the rest of my life. What’s the best way to get them to not think that? To be assertive and open about being a submissive. To preemptively disprove their notions about what a submissive is, what a masochist is. To speak with confidence — as if I were the one that was normal.

4 comments so far

  1. Ranat on

    I resonate with this a lot. I still haven’t gotten to the point where I can actually feel calm after having made some light comment. ‘Wait, shit, did I just say that out loud? Crap.’

  2. Miss Jaye on

    There is so much of my experience, and I would guess in a lot of other kink-minded people’s experience as well, in what you wrote about in this post.
    I have in the past year and half become more comfortable in voicing my opinions about kink, although not relating it to myself, just as a third party advocate, not a perfect solution but one that has led me to being open about my sexuality with select people.
    Although they accept, if not understand, my sexual choices, it is still awkward to discuss that part of my life with them. However, with the people who accept me, I understand the jokes are their way of trying to talk about what they don’t understand and make it “okay” to bring up conversation.
    For those people who make the jokes without any education, I just say things like, “Hey, don’t knock it unless you try it”.
    I hope one day to say the same types of things to them as you were writing about wanting to say, and yeah, treat myself as I am normal instead of the deviant.

  3. sera on

    *Oh, you didn’t think about the fact that you might be talking about me? Does that change things? Does it make you feel awkward for making that joke? Does it make you feel uncomfortable around me?*

    Well, sometimes I wonder if people actually do this because they have thought about you in that way, or they are curious. (I’m not saying that your friend was consciously or unconsciously hinting at your sexuality–I’ve obviously no idea.)

    The thing is that people who don’t self-identify as kinky still may have (do have?) a legitimate interest in kink. I’m floundering here in expressing myself, but I remember that when I was far less experienced, sexually, than I am now, I had the desire to sit down with my gay friends and ask them 1,000,000 questions. Now I kind of wish I had instead of just pretending like I was hip and PC and that I knew the score about gay sex. Because the problem is when you start to assume there IS a score–that all subs kink on housework, for example, or that all gay men go to bath houses, or whatever.

    Really interesting post–thank you for getting me thinking.

  4. Cal on

    Oh, you didn’t think about the fact that you might be talking about me? Does that change things? Does it make you feel awkward for making that joke?

    I had a similar experience in a local coffee shop a few months ago. The cashier and another customer were joking about bdsm in a sort of ‘oh, look at those weird people and the weird stuff they do’ sort of way. I outed myself in a light, friendly fashion, and watched them stutter and try to figure out how to react. I just hated feeling invisible, is all. It turns out to be important to me to show that a young, normal-looking professional can be into these sorts of things, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

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