I’ve always found it interesting how “being outed” is one of the biggest fears among those who partake in D/s. This fear is as old as D/s itself and dates back well before the days of image-matching and social media tags. For ease, I will ignore the potentially career-threatening ramifications of being exposed and merely look at it in the context of D/s when it is applied successfully.
From my own experiences, there are two types of exposure that stand out.
- Being “forced” to tell someone my deepest, darkest fantasies and secrets and being completely honest about them.
- Having my submissive self outed in front of other people outside of a kink-friendly environment.
For a lot of us, being able to be our “true selves” and accepted by others is something we long for. We join kink communities and attend local events. We make friends with others in the scene because we crave their approval. We seek validation of our private selves. We want to know that “this is okay.”
The truth is that there is always some risk when opening ourselves up in this way. There is always some fear that they will think what we are into is “too freaky” and they will run away screaming and announce to everyone else what a fucked up pervert you really are. It’s sort of funny that even when people find it easy to admit, “I am a submissive,” or “I am a dominant,” only a handful are ever really brave enough to hang it all out there. I strongly admire the people that can be bluntly honest about their kinks and desires. That takes an incredible amount of courage.
Why is it so difficult for us to experience this? Realistically, why should we care what strangers or people we barely know think of us? What is truly important is what the people who are close to us think, and assuming that they already know about your hidden self, they already accept you. I believe that the fear we have about the reactions of the others does two things.
- It establishes their baseline perception of us. They now see us as a deviant.
- It reinforces that this is our true identity. I now feel like a deviant.
- Completely unfiltered and cruel. They don’t care enough about us to hold it back.
- OR, completely masked with their true feelings completely hidden to us.
I find that these situations have two stages of anguish. The first is in anticipation of and actually experiencing their reaction. The second is wondering what will happen next. Will they ever speak to you again? Will you hear from others that they have been spreading your secret around? Will it show up immortalized on the internet and now linked to you forever?
It is strange how this can be so haunting when it happens with strangers. Assuming that they don’t take your photo that ends up as an internet meme, logic says that we should be able to shrug this off since it is someone that doesn’t know you and you will never see them again. However, insecurity tends to take over and the words, tone, and expressions of a total stranger may often remained burned into our memory. I believe this is because we unconsciously project their reactions as how the world at large would feel. If they think that of me, then EVERYONE else would think that too. It becomes an intensely powerful mirror where we see how we are seen.
It’s funny because for the most part, people are selfish. They are wrapped up in their own lives. Unless someone is close to you, they probably don’t really care what you do, who you are, and how it makes you feel. Fear interestingly magnifies our sense of self-importance.
That being said, you occasionally stumble across the rare individual that is absurdly perceptive of what is going on around them. I can remember on one occasion when I was ordered to wear socks with a hot pink stripe on them. I was wearing long pants and there was probably only a fraction of a second each time I took a step where they were visible in the slightest, yet while in a store…
“Is it laundry day?”
I wanted to run to my car and never be seen again. Instead I just stood there with a bright red face, unable to respond.
Interesting how that works, isn’t it?