While eating vanilla oreos and watching the Great Flag Debate happen on twitter, I started thinking about a conversation Septimus and I had. We’d begun talking about @debaucheddiva’s admittance of having a special needs child...and about how @ropecast’s daughter was collecting funds for a particular charity. It felt odd reading her post. Almost as if she was more afraid of coming out with a “vanilla” life to her kinky friends. That conversation turned into one about how we both thought it was odd that in over two decades of active participation in bdsm activities....I’d never run into someone I knew from my non-kink community at a kink event and I’ve never run into someone from my kink life at any other non-kink one.
As conversations do, this one wended it’s way along until we reached a point where I asked...why, when we share all of the nasty things we do to each other....do we worry about our kink friends knowing who we really are? What kind of job we have? What our children’s names are? What are we truly afraid of? Don’t these people we’re hiding so much of our “other selves” from have as much to lose? Why are we so afraid of our own community?
And then I began to wonder, what exactly is the “community” of which people speak? I hear that word bandied around all the time. But is the kink world truly a community? Or are we just a bunch of people who like kinky things, are able to talk more openly with those things with others who share the same opinions...but where a definite line is drawn. The same kind of line we tend to draw with our vanilla friends knowing about our kink lives.
Oh, I see events and cons attended by people who have at least part of their lives in common, and I’ve attended more than a few of them myself. But after the cons are over....is there really a community left? Are local communities truly communities at all? Or is this thing we call community just a shared interest in a particular range of activities. Like extreme sports.
We come together often....this company of familiar freaks. We share some of the most intimate moments of our lives. Fetlife has become a way for people to connect to others who share similar interests....but does simply sharing an interest make a community? Especially when there are differences in traditions, rules, local mores.....and personal ones.
More often than not, I think we do just all come together to share in the kink experience and then move along back into our individual larger, non-kink “real” communities. You know...the ones where people know what kind of work you do....what your parents do for the holidays...your kid’s names. The people who we bowl with, the other soccer moms, your neighbors. That’s community. People know you, as a person. You share anecdotes, friendships, and personal tidbits with them. Your workmates. The people you spend a third (more or less) of your life with. The people who know your mother is ill, your husband may lose his job, or your sister is going through a difficult divorce. The people to whom you turn for support when things seem overwhelming...and those that you gloat with when something good happens.
And @debaucheddiva has taken a huge first step in proving that there can be a kink community. But that we’re never going to have that as long as we’re afraid of what the other community members might know about our personal lives. As Septimus stated much better than I ever could....”community happens when we come out as human beings to our kink friends”.