Choosing to live a life outside the boundaries of societal “normal” is often a challenging, but fulfilling endeavor. BDSM, swinging, polyamory, LGBQT are all examples of that. But those choices we make are often from the vantage point that something is missing from so called Vanilla life. We find that these alternative lifestyle choices help us to find those missing elements of life, and be a more complete person because of them. We also know that our choices could have consequences should people become aware of it. Therefore, we are discreet about them, keeping that part of ourselves private except for those that are also in them.
Discretion: the quality of behaving or speaking in such a way as to avoid causing offense or revealing private information. This is a twofold problem.
Part One: Avoiding causing offense. There are going to be people in our lives, that if we speak openly about our lifestyle choices, could be offended. Part of the problem is we may not even know who is going to be offended beforehand, so we tend to just keep it to ourselves. Friends, family, employers are all equally susceptible to becoming offended by our actions and beliefs. So, it’s just easier to keep it to ourselves than take that risk. And it’s a serious risk in some instances. You could lose a lifelong friendship. Be ostracized by family. Be fired from your job. There are people that could be so offended that they might wish you bodily harm.
Which brings us to Part Two. Not revealing private information. Many people try to protect themselves by hiding their true identities. Creating discreet profiles to keep their information and identity a secret. Only participating in areas they are not known. All of this helps to keep our identities private and confidential. And I fully support those that do these things. They have the right to keep their information private in such ways.
I come from a unique situation in that I do not have to keep my lifestyle choices a secret. My family knows, most of my friends are in the lifestyle, and my employer just wouldn’t care if it doesn’t interfere with my job performance. I know that I am the exception to a lot of the bad scenarios out there. So maybe I’m a little freer to live the way I choose, but that does not mean that I don’t know the value of being discreet. I have the utmost appreciation for the concerns those not in my situation have with being discreet and do whatever I can to make sure that they are kept safe.
But. You knew there had to be a but coming. The problem I see developing is that everyone is being so discreet, and fearful about their secrets coming out, that the lifestyle they lead could become endangered. Because the lifestyle is still “kept in the closet” I think it’s important for all of us to try and find new people and bring them into the lifestyle. How else are they supposed to find us if we aren’t out there looking for them? Yes, every new person that comes in could blab and say something about us to the wrong person. It’s always been a risk. It will always be a risk. But those new people that come in are the next generation of lifestylers. The fresh meat that keeps the lifestyle interesting and fun. You knew it was a risk when you started, but you started anyway. I just don’t want it to ever become such an issue that new people are turned away out of fear. If you are going to live in the fear of being called out for what you believe in, then maybe you shouldn’t be in the lifestyle at all. In all of these alternative lifestyle communication is the key to success.
Leadership in the groups is important for this reason. There needs to be a plan in place to introduce those new people. But the plan needs to not be so overly complicated that it can take weeks, or even months, for the new people to be introduced. I, for one, appreciate the efforts of leadership and will support them in any way possible.
In closing I just want to say, we all need to pull together to support the lifestyle, its leadership, and its growth. We all do this because we choose to. Because we enjoy it. Because it’s fun. We all need to be able to trust each other to make good choices. To be discreet when necessary. To not bring anyone that doesn’t understand the needs of the many to functions. We all need to work together to make it work for everyone, new and veterans alike.