We Are Human First

This article is about consent and negotiation and mistakes and hindsight. It’s about personal responsibility and compassion.

There are reasons I don’t do pick up play and why I like to be at least friends with someone before I do a scene with them. When you play as a bottom you are trusting someone with your physical, mental, and emotional well-being for a certain amount of time. When you play as a Top you are trusting another person to be honest with you up front and not vilify you if you make a mistake. Notice the running theme? TRUST. Now, if you are just starting to play and have just met that person or have only known them a short time, then a whole lot of trust isn’t necessarily there yet. This is why it’s not recommended that you do heavy scenes or attempt to push boundaries and limits with someone in the beginning. You should be developing more trust first.

So what should you trust about a new play partner? Well, as a bottom you should hopefully be able to trust that your Top has good intentions and is looking to play with you in a safe way while adhering to the limits that you have stated during negotiation. That they are not looking to take advantage of you or do things that weren’t discussed just because “well you didn’t say I couldn’t”. (This is also why I teach newbies to negotiate from an “I want to start with just doing x, y, and z” position rather than trying to think of all the things they don’t want to do.) As a Top you should be able to trust that the bottom has disclosed whatever medical issues, triggers, etc that they are aware of, along with things that may be unique to them as a player. For example, bottoms – if when you go into subspace you are barely aware of your surroundings or what year it is, this is something the Top should be made aware of!

However, guess what? Even after all that things can go wrong. The bottom may have forgotten to disclose something. The Top may have briefly had a brain fart regarding one of the bottom’s limits. The bottom may have been triggered by something they didn’t realize they would be triggered by. The Top may have done something that wasn’t spelled out in negotiations (not talking about major stuff). But remember, scenes are supposed to be fun. Especially with a new partner who is likely not to go too “deep” or too far in play the first time. Not everything will be spelled out in the negotiation – it’s not possible. Or, if possible, it would probably be a very boring, predictable scene.

So what do you do about that? Well, for starters, choose to play with people you can have a conversation with. I’m talking about a conversation beyond the negotiation. If these things happen (which they will) don’t jump to anger and blaming the other person. Start with personal responsibility. Look in the mirror and ask yourself what part of that do you hold accountability for? Acknowledge this to your partner. Hopefully they will acknowledge their part of whatever happened as well. TALK about the little things that happened and assume it was not born from manipulation or ill intent. Are some people douche-nozzles? Absolutely. However, most people aren’t looking to hurt you or create a bad reputation for themselves. Most people are doing the best they can or the best they know how to do. So talk about the scene. Make adjustments in your future negotiations if need be.

Just remember when you strip away the titles and the power exchange – we are all just human first.

My First Play Party

I get asked by friends all the time, “Jenn, don’t you get tired of teaching the same basic stuff over and over?”

To that I say no. The reason I don’t get tired of what I do is for many reasons. I am giving info and providing opportunities that I wished I’d had when I was new, seeing people discover new things makes my heart super happy, and staying in touch with new folks week after week keeps me in touch with when I was new. I think it’s important to remember what that was like – otherwise it’s easy to become jaded, frustrated and even judgmental. What becomes second nature or common knowledge to us is often foreign to a new person. There is a learning curve here.

So having said all that I wanted to go back to my first ever public play party.

When I started in the scene I went to classes and munches and spent much of my time in the rope world and the spanko world. I got involved with a spanko group (which still exists) that, at that time, consisted of private parties in the group leader’s residence. Then one of the members of that group hosted a spanko party at a dungeon. I decided this would be a safe entry into the dungeon play party world because at least I would know a few people. This party happened to be held at a well-known dungeon in North Orange County here in SoCal.

I pulled into the parking lot in my family size SUV and I just sat there for a while. The address I punched into my Garmin took me to an industrial business type building so I had to double check my GPS like 25 times to make sure I wasn’t in the wrong place. Then I noticed people starting to arrive. I scoured their clothing and noticed that most of the women were wearing things like sundresses or flowy knee length skirts! I panicked. I looked down at my tight denim mini skirt and 6 inch stilettos and I immediately doubted my choice of outfit! Would I stand out like a sore thumb? Had I worn the wrong thing? Before I let myself give in to the panic and just drive home, I decided to text the one person who I knew was at the party and that I actually had a number for. (It happened to be the leader of the group at the time.) I told him I was parked outside and afraid I’d dressed inappropriately. I asked him to please come out to my car and tell me if I was right. (yes, he was nice enough to leave the party and come out to calm my fears) He laughed on his way to the car, shaking his head, and once he saw my outfit he assured me I would be completely ok. He walked me in and we went inside to where the party was happening.

The first thing I did was make a friend – a cute girl in pigtails and a cheerleading outfit – because at least she was another person not in a casual sundress! She and I sat and hung out and I realized that there was a reason for all those sundresses and flowy skirts. This was a spanko party and they were easy to flip up!! Lol Oh was I relieved! It wasn’t about a dress code or what outfit was appropriate, it was just easier access for what they were there to do!

After that realization I relaxed, met more people, including some from a class I’d been in a couple weeks before, and had a good time. There is more to the story but I covered the point of this article. Your first public play party can be scary and overwhelming. It’s ok to admit that and to reach out to a friendly face. It’s also good for veterans of the scene to remember this if you are the one they reach out to!

 

So many closets, so little time.  Well, ok, only two closets, however, I’ve had to come out of them again and again.

When you hear that someone “came out of the closet” you may think, “Good for them, it’s a big step and now they don’t have to worry about it anymore.”  What people may not realize is that once you come out – that’s just the FIRST time.  Essentially you have to come out every time you meet someone new or run into an old friend or family member who perhaps wasn’t around when you made the big announcement.  (That’s how everyone comes out by the way – big loudspeaker type pronouncement over the radio or in a stadium.)

Every time you tell someone new, you run the same risk you did the first time.  Will they react positively or with criticism?  Will your relationship with them change after this conversation?

When I came out the first time it was at the age of 17 and I came out to my friends as bisexual.  (FYI – this is still how I identify – I know – SHOCKER – it wasn’t just a phase…..)  I am proud to say I have wonderful friends who totally accepted me and had no issue.  I got involved with my LGBT group on my college campus and dated the only other bisexual girl in the group because the lesbians wanted nothing to do with us.  (That’s a topic for another day)  Fortunately she was just my type and we had a nice time together.  It was, however, a short romance and pretty soon after we broke up I started dating the man I would eventually marry.

Fast forward 15 years, marriage, two kids and one divorce later.  Time to get back out into the dating pool.  I cast out my net to any and all on the typical dating sites.  Met a few great people – not great matches however.  Then I met a woman – an amazing woman.  We dated for a couple years with some bumps in the road.  However, it was a serious relationship and I felt that it was time to come out to my parents.  Until this point I was “relatively out” – meaning I was out to everyone except my relatives!

So there I was, in my 30’s, coming out to my parents.  Thankfully they are both totally supportive.  My dad thought perhaps it was a post-divorce phase until I explained that she was not my first female partner.

So then there was the kink/BDSM closet that I had newly discovered as I was going thru my divorce.  For many people kink is something they do in the bedroom and they never feel the need to “come out” about it.  However, for me it wasn’t only my lifestyle, it was also my job.  Only a couple years into the scene I worked as a pro-sub and then a pro-Switch.  I eventually felt the pressure to open up to my mom because she kept asking so many questions about my new job in “customer service”.  Nice cover, right?  Fortunately it coincided with the 50 Shades trilogy and my mom happened to be reading the first one.  I used that to come out to her.  Her biggest concern was my safety and my happiness.  I assured her that I was both safe and happy.  She was supportive.  She has even attended one of my classes to try and gain more of an understanding – which I thought was super awesome of her!

Shortly thereafter I told my dad and he was accepting as well.  All of my friends know and I’m not shy talking about it with new friends I meet.  I am a bit more cautious with friends connected to my kids.  However, if you read my article titled The Outsider, you will see I didn’t have much to worry about.

I know that many people don’t feel they can come out about their orientation, their BDSM lifestyle, or perhaps both.  They may fear family shame, ridicule, or job loss.  As for me I feel extremely fortunate to be able to live my life openly.

I am at the point now in my life (perhaps some of it just comes with age) where I figure if you don’t accept me (and all that I am) then I don’t need you in my life.  If you want to know more, however, just ask and I will answer any question you have!

I come out of two closets again and again….and I’m proud of both!

“Consent is key.”  People in the scene say this all the time.  This is because it’s true.  Consent is what separates responsible BDSM and abuse.  I can, unfortunately, give several examples of consent violation that I’ve witnessed or experienced personally.  I’d be willing to bet that anyone in the scene longer than a week can say the same. (ok that may be a bit of an exaggeration – but not by much)  Someone walking over and picking up someone else’s toy without asking – better yet picking it up and then using it.  A D-type grabbing an s-type by their hair who doesn’t belong to them.  Someone being asked to help in a scene by holding the s-types leg, then they proceed to let their fingers wander to places they had no right to touch.  An s-type starting to worship a D-type’s boots when the D-type is in the middle of play and has not been asked to join.

Those were all examples that I witnessed or was connected to in some way.  That was by no means a complete list.  These things are simply not ok.  Period.  Ever.  It seems as if this type of behavior has increased a bit recently.  I have a couple theories as to why.  Now, my theories don’t explain all incidences obviously.  Heck, my theories may be totally off.  They come from my own observations and experiences.  Also, some people are just asshats – that has been, and will probably always account for, some percentage of the problem.

Theory number 1: It’s a new generation of kinksters.  Rules, protocol, old tradition, etc. have been watered down.  The next gen is doing it differently.  This is fine and, regardless of my opinion about it, is the way life goes.  Yet with that has also come a more “casual kink” mentality. We’ve also had many new people arrive into the community after being exposed to pop culture representations of how they think things are – which is not even close to reality.

Theory number 2: It used to be that the kink and swinger communities were fairly separate from one another – with very little overlap.  However, with the further acceptance of kink and the growing curiosities about it, it seems that overlap is growing quickly.  I am going to make a generalization here – so please don’t jump down my throat telling me this doesn’t apply to all swingers.  Disclaimer: I realize that this theory does NOT speak to ALL swingers – or perhaps even most.  However, based on, again, my observations and personal experiences it would seem that consent is dealt with very differently in these two communities.  From my perspective in the swinger scene, consent is assumed until it is removed – while in the kink scene, consent is not assumed until given.  This difference can, and does, easily contribute to at least a portion of the rise in consent violation. (Again, in my opinion.)

Then there are the aforementioned asshats.

In all cases I think education is the key.  Whether that means suggesting people go to classes or if one-by-one we find “teachable moments” to pass down the knowledge we possess if we are more seasoned kinksters.  I like to give people the benefit of the doubt, especially if they’re new, that they don’t know any better.  However, if they continue to cross boundaries and ignore consent expectations then that’s where behavior is no longer tolerated.

So, if you’re new – educate yourself.  Go to classes, ask questions.  If you’re not new, try to find ways to kindly pass down the knowledge you have.  Consent is key.

D/s Concepts That Work for Any Relationship

 

I came across an article recently on a vanilla/mainstream psychology website. The article link is below, but basically it talks about doing relationship check-ins.  The author advises couples to sit down on an annual basis and review their marriage – this article advises doing it alongside a professional, such as a therapist.  She relates it to a performance review that may happen in a workplace.  However, I relate it to the relationship contracts we create as part of D/s dynamics.  Once a D/s couple has created a contract, typically it includes an annual review or even a monthly review – or anything in between.  The author basically describes a check-in that consists of creating a safe space to discuss issues that have come up and give one another feedback.  In this sense what the author describes and what D/s partners do is very similar.  We go over our contract and offer feedback as to what we think has been working and what we have issues with.  We go over protocols that may have been forgotten (which is why written contracts come in handy – they work as reminders), others that haven’t worked out well, and confirming the ones that work.  Depending on what we include in our contract, the “review” may include updating limits and/or rules or boundaries surrounding poly dynamics.

For both the vanilla and D/s version of this idea it creates a sense of closeness and connection while identifying issues that may have come up over the past year, month, 3 months, etc.  It also confirms all the things that have been, and still are, working.  For the D/s relationships it strengthens the bond of the power exchange as well.

What I love about all this is that here is an example of something we have done in our community for decades – and the mainstream community is catching on.  I think as we continue to find and expose more examples like this (there are plenty) and could explain what is happening under the kink jargon to mainstream people, we could show why more and more studies are concluding that D/s relationships are just as healthy, if not in many cases healthier, than vanilla ones.  Perhaps some of the stigma we face would be lifted.

Original article link:

 

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/meet-catch-and-keep/201510/why-relationship-review-can-help-keep-you-together?utm_source=FacebookPost&utm_medium=FBPost&utm_campaign=FBPost

 

 

A Third Leg

 

No, this article is not about giant members.  lol

So I was watching talk shows the other day.  Well, I use the term “watching” loosely.  More like glancing up at the tv occasionally while they were running in the background as I helped my kids with homework.  Anyway, on one of the talk shows a co-host was mentioning something about how people have been saying that couples last longer if they have a “third leg”.  She went on to describe what this meant.  Basically she was referring to things like having kids, shared tv shows (and being able to watch them together thanks to streaming networks), a common hobby, etc.  Something they can focus their attention on as a couple that is outside of themselves.

The reason for the “third leg” being helpful in keeping couples together and interested in one another is that it gives them something to talk about and connect over.  It’s amazing how much people will thank streaming networks for saving their marriage!  Especially since it used to be that if a couple only had kids to connect over they were at a loss once the kids moved out.  Now with external entertainment at our fingertips we have much more to interact about for an infinite amount of time.

This got me thinking, however, about those of us into kink and/or polyamory.

We have those same things to connect over, tv shows, maybe kids for those in the scene that share children, perhaps common vanilla hobbies as well.  However, in addition we share kink.  For some it is like another hobby we enjoy together, for others it’s our lifestyle.  Either way it’s something else we share with our partner(s) and look forward to.  If we play then we look forward to that – maybe planning scenes or deciding which parties to attend.  If we are involved in a power exchange relationship then we may spend time together communicating about rules, protocol, etc.

When it comes to poly it’s an entirely new level.  If there are other partners then (similar to kids) you have another (or other) actual people to connect over, communicate about, plan things with, and talk to.  With or without other partners you may still be communicating about how poly will work for you.  Discussing finding a new partner or partners.  Perhaps you go out together to meet potential play partners, lovers, and/or life mates.  There are those that have other partners and are also looking for additional partners.  I don’t know where they find the time, but that’s just me!  Also, unlike kids, additional partners don’t necessarily fall under the same developmental timeline of growing up and moving out or away from you.  This doesn’t mean that poly relationships don’t end, however, you are then able to continue opening up to others in the attempt to find and unite with new people.  You can’t just go out and try to find new kids to replace the ones that left for college!

The point of all this is that if you’re involved in kink, poly relationships, or both – you have opened up a whole new world of “third leg” possibilities to connect over.  This not only keeps life interesting, but our relationships as well.

 

 

D-type and s-type Fluid

So you may or may not have heard the term “gender fluid”.  This refers to a person who may always feel like a mix of the two traditional genders (male and female), but may feel more male some days, and more female other days.

This concept came up in one of my classes in a different way.  We were discussing one student who knew she identified as an s-type, however, wasn’t really sure which “subcategory” she fit into. Slave, submissive, babygirl, pet, little, bottom, property, etc.  I could relate to what she meant.  I identify (personally) as an s-type – normally I will say submissive, yet I am sometimes more in the headspace of a babygirl or perhaps a pet.  There are plenty of times I identify as a bottom – especially when I am doing a demo or acting as a practice bottom.  I also fall under the category of “service Top” when teaching or doing an educational scene, however, I don’t consider myself a Dominant at all.  For me the slave identifier has not been something I have identified with yet.  I have several close friends that have told me they think I am “slave wired”, yet I continue to put up some resistance there.  (Perhaps an issue for me to work through or perhaps just a matter of partnership)  In any case, I can’t rule out many of the s-type subcategories because I may feel a combo of them or feel like I identify more like one or another from one day to the next or one moment to the next.

So during this class I named this “s-type fluid” or “s-fluid”.

I realized that this same concept probably applies to D-types as well.  Maybe someone knows that they identify as Dominant, however, they occasionally act as a Top or are in the headspace of a “Daddy Dom” or “Mommy Dom” based on their partner or mood.  I would imagine that identifying as a Master is something a Dominant would either feel like all the time or perhaps grow into with a partner.  In any case, I think you can be “D-type Fluid” or “D-fluid” just like an s-type.

 

This concept doesn’t mean you are confused in any way – just like someone who identifies as gender fluid isn’t confused.  It may just mean that you can flow from one subcategory to another based on headspace, partner, mood, or any other reason.  By the way, this is different from identifying as a switch.  A switch may be fluid in terms of being able to bottom or Top (or go between Dom and sub), however, s-type fluid and D-type fluid has nothing to do with switching.  It means you identify as either a D-type or an s-type all the time, but that the subcategories of these identifiers can change.

 

So maybe if you, like me, know which side of the slash you are on, however, feel differently at different times – or if you are still exploring and seeing which subcategory “fits” you best – perhaps this idea of fluidity as applied to D/s identity is the best descriptor for you!

(Perhaps Fetlife needs to add this to their list of identifier options!)  J

 

What is a Switch?

 

When someone tells you they identify as a Dominant or Master, submissive or slave – you have a pretty good idea what that means.  But how about when someone tells you they’re a switch?  Well, it means you need to ask more questions.

I often compare somebody that identifies as a switch to someone who identifies as bisexual.  Now, before you get all upset, I understand that sexual orientation and D/s dynamic identifiers have nothing to do with one another.  That is not what I compare.  Here is what I mean: both identities lay upon a spectrum and there are some similar stereotypes that both groups deal with.

On one hand you can have someone like me when I first started in the scene – I personally identified as an s-type, however, I had the skills to top and did enjoy it on occasion with a handful of people.  So, technically, I could say I was a switch because I could Top and bottom for play.  However, for me, I had no interest in being anyone’s Dominant or being involved in a D/s dynamic with me as the D-type.  I couldn’t say it would never happen because I knew better, it just wasn’t something I was interested in at the time.  On the other hand you will find people (like me currently) that feel equally Dominant and submissive and may have a partner (or partners) that they switch with – or are in a poly situation where they have one (or more) partner(s) they submit to and another (or others) they are a Dominant to.  Some people may flow from one to another – go through phases if you will.  Some times in their life they feel the need for more submission and at other times feel the need to express more of their Dominant side.  Still others may lean more toward one side or another but it’s closer to a 60/40 than someone else who is closer to 80/20 (or so).

The point is that there is a very diverse spectrum when it comes to being a switch.  Everyone is different and you just need to ask what it means to them.

Now I would like to address the stereotype that seems to get placed on switches that reminds me of the one placed on those that identify as bisexual.  It’s the stereotype that a switch is confused about their identity, going through a phase, or just doesn’t want to commit one way or the other.  While these things, of course, can be true for some people – it is not true for most.

Being a switch is just as much who they are as someone who knows they are a D-type or an s-type.  I am not confused about what I like.  That doesn’t mean it may not change.  When I discovered this community I swore I was totally an s-type and would never be able to Top.  Eventually I started exploring it because, well, why not?  I believe this lifestyle is perfect for self-exploration and growth!  So I explored the “Top side” of play.  I had always gone to classes to learn how to use implements, etc. to enhance my play as a bottom and learn about it for safety reasons.  So once I started to Top I already had some skill.  I found I tend to prefer Topping s-type women.  I can Top men, however, I usually do that from more of a “service Top” position.  It’s not what curls my toes.  I don’t know what will develop down the line.  None of us really know what the future holds.  Does that exploration and growth mean I was just “going through a phase”?  Absolutely not.  I still feel my submission pulled from male Dom energy and believe I always will.  It’s simply a matter of how my Top side has grown and with whom.

We all have our own story and our own journey.  This space allows us to explore and reach in directions we never thought possible.  Know thyself and then get to know others.  Especially those darn switches!  🙂

 

 

 

First, what do I mean by “s-type”? For those that don’t know I refer to anyone that identifies as a slave, submissive, bottom, pet, property, or babygirl/boy (etc) as an s-type.  It’s just an easier way to refer to this group without listing every specific identifier.

What does it mean to identify as an s-type?  Why would someone desire, or even crave, to yield their control or power to another human being?  This isn’t an easy question to answer, as there are many answers out there depending on who you ask.  Some reasons may include a desire to surrender control, power, or decision making, wanting someone else to provide structure or discipline, feeling a sense of safety and caretaking, and being of service to someone else.

The paths that get an individual to this place – this want for surrender – will also vary from person to person.  Not all paths or reasons are healthy.  Many are quite healthy.  There are complex layers that turn us toward certain partners in life, vanilla or kinky.  It may be that one didn’t receive the care and discipline he/she required as a child and therefore finds it in a D/s dynamic.  It could be simply that the rest of their life demands authority (high powered job, parenting, etc) and the ability to release that control with a trusted partner is like going to a spa after a long hard day.  These are only two possible examples of why someone may be drawn toward submission.  Not everyone understands this draw however.

 

“It’s 2015 – you don’t need to bow down to a man!”

“Seriously man – are you that pussy whipped?”

“Slave? How can you let him/her call you that?  You’re a grown adult!”

“You mean to tell me you do whatever he/she tells you to do?!  Hell no!”

“It sounds like you are just being used and taken advantage of.”

 

As an s-type we hear so many things from friends and loved ones who just don’t understand or who view our situation from a skewed perspective.  Female s-types get lip from the “feminists” about how many years were spent fighting for equality, only for us to throw it all away by stripping our power willingly.  However, we need to keep in mind that true feminists would argue that we should have equal freedoms to CHOOSE our behaviors and our lifestyle.  Therefore, choosing to consensually yield power, control, etc is, in fact, a huge leap from the days that it was NOT our choice.  Everything in our life comes down to the decisions we make.  Even in circumstances where we hold no power or control, we still choose how to respond. The movie ‘Life is Beautiful’ comes to mind.  (If you haven’t seen it you should!)  The point is, we all have the right to decide how we live our life.  If we choose to turn over power to someone we trust and respect then that choice should be honored.  Male s-types usually catch flack for different reasons.  They hear messages like submission isn’t manly.  They get called pussies or wimps.  Which is kind of hilarious when you think about the fact that many of them could take a much heavier beat down than their “domly” friends.  (Although they enjoy it, so maybe not a fair comparison. lol)  Again, how is it less manly to CHOOSE how they live their life?  To consent to behaviors, dynamics and protocols that make them happy and enrich their life and their relationships?

To every male or female s-type that finds comfort and satisfaction in their submission, how is it any different than the person who finds this in a bottle of beer, a favorite sport, or the traditional vanilla relationship dynamic?  Human beings seek safety, comfort, love, affection, and happiness.  It isn’t for anyone to judge how you do that so long as nobody is getting hurt (in a bad way!).  So take pride in your s-type identity!  Slave, submissive, pet, boy/girl, property, bottom, little.  Embrace who you are because it’s OK to be an s-type!

Large green fields. A huge bonfire. Adults and children playing, talking, eating, laughing. I say a few pleasantries to a few of the moms I know then focus on the needs of my children. Once they have had their fill of hot dogs, deviled eggs, and s’mores – they leave me to go play with their friends.

I sit off to the side, writing these words in my Hello Kitty notebook (which they probably assume I stole from my daughter). I wonder what the other parents are thinking of my behavior. Do they even notice me? Probably not. They’re busy reminiscing over the school year and discussing their family plans for the summer. It’s early evening so there are moms and dads here – whole family units. Every time I attend a school event I feel the same way.

Like an outsider.

There are a couple of reasons for this. One, I am in the minority of single parents. In fact I haven’t met any others in the 5 years we’ve lived here – even though I’m sure they exist. Maybe I haven’t met them because they avoid these things. In any case, that’s the less significant reason. The other is that I’m different. I doubt many of them would relate to my job, my friends, my lifestyle. There have been two other moms I became friends with and trusted enough to tell. As chances would have it they both moved away last year.

You may be wondering why I’m not as open with other school parents when I’m “out” to everyone else in my life – friends, colleagues and family. Well. No matter how kinky you are or how involved in the scene you are – you always have vanilla aspects to your life. For me, the biggest one is my kids. The last thing I want is for parents to worry about having my kids for play dates or (gasp!) sending their kids to me. They may talk, gossip, doubt, worry, etc. because they don’t understand that kink and my kids don’t mix. My children know nothing about the scene or my preferred relationship dynamics. However, ignorance and misunderstanding can often lead to fear. I don’t want my “being out” with other parents to effect them.

I’m not ashamed of who I am or how I live my life and I don’t hesitate to talk to people about my life. Yet there’s a line between it effecting me and handling it – and it effecting my kids in any negative way.

So here I sit, on the sidelines. Honestly, I’m ok with that. I have plenty of friends and acquaintances I can talk to. To everyone here I’m a single mom and psychotherapist. I’m proud of those parts of me too.

**UPDATE**

So after I wrote this and put my notebook away I decided to walk over to the food table and eat more grapes. One of the dads approached me and we started having a friendly conversation about this and that. At one point he asked me about what I do for a living. I initially gave him my stock “vanilla” answer and said I was a marriage and family therapist. I’m not sure what it was about him, but my gut told me it would be ok to at least put out the tidbit that “I also teach”. He, of course, followed up with asking me what I teach. I explained that it’s not something I usually bring up around the “school parent crowd”, however, he encouraged me.

After I told him I teach BDSM 101 classes it turned into a lively conversation – including many questions from him – and I felt no judgement. In fact, it turned out he had dated someone years before who was into the power exchange idea but he found it wasn’t for him. We continued to talk for some time and it was nice (although slightly nerve wracking) to discuss this side of my life in that setting. It was a good reminder that you never know what someone’s history holds or how open minded they may be!

**UPDATED UPDATE**

Fast forward a couple months later and I am at a birthday party for one of my son’s classmates. I end up sitting with another mom in the shade while all the kids were involved in an organized party game out in the field of the park we were at. The subject of work came up and I ended up “outing” myself to her as well. I suppose I’m on a roll! She was very cool about it, asked questions, etc. I explained that it’s not something I usually throw out there to other parents due to my concern over being judged as a parent, etc. She was very supportive and even friended me on Facebook.

Moral of the story – sometimes we make a mountain out of a mole hill. If either of these parents had made an issue of it then I would have to deal with that. But they didn’t! I will continue to operate as I have in terms of not making it something I put out there right away, however, if it comes up naturally I won’t be as afraid to let the information “out”. Pun intended.