How to explain BDSM to my friends – House of Dasein Kink Toys and Apparel
How to explain BDSM to my friends

Starting Out -

How to explain BDSM to my friends

(Original article from https://www.submissiveguide.com/communication/articles/talking-about-bdsm-to-vanilla-folk-what-to-say-and-what-to-avoid)

Every semester I present a BDSM panel at my alma mater for the Human Sexuality class. I've been doing it for almost 8 years now and it doesn't appear to be ending any time soon. The teacher always asks for me to pull some people together and says that he gets a lot of excellent questions and interest with the topic whenever we show up. I enjoy talking about kink and BDSM as a sexuality, but have learned through the years what works and what doesn't.

Talking to vanilla people about BDSM is your personal choice. You are standing out on a limb and announcing that you are a pervert; if you are uncomfortable doing that, then, by all means, don't. It's safer for some people to remain in the closet and behind closed doors. I understand that and respect that. For others, like myself, there's no reason for me to hide and if people have something they want to learn I'm always open to answering their questions.

So, what do you say to the unfamiliar people about BDSM so that they get a valid glimpse into the life, but also just enough to keep them from rejecting you completely? That balancing act is what I'm going to talk about in this article.

Who to Tell?

There are plenty people in our everyday lives that do not need to ever know anything about your lifestyle or your kinks. Never tell your coworkers, boss, childcare workers, school staff and other middle authorities. These people can take your information and ruin parts or all of your life. They can fire you, take your children, evict you or worse. Intolerance is the name of the game here. Don't push it into their face. Even if you think you can trust them with the reveal; you never know what may happen weeks, months or years down the road.

People you may want to tell would be your lawyer and doctor. They have your health and legal interests at heart. Others could be your next of kin in case of emergency or your demise. (Especially if you have toys and other things in your residence. Arrange someone to get them out before your family sees them.)

Tell Them or Not

If you are anything like me, you have vanilla and kinky friends. When should you tell your vanilla friends and when is it too much information? I am of the opinion that you shouldn't ever volunteer information. People are curious on their own and if they have questions they will ask or leave it open for you to expand on  what you just said. If you want to tell your friend about your kinks consider the following things.

  • Do they typically express prejudice against sexual minorities (such as gays) or encourage people bashing?
  • Are they typically uncomfortable with sex talk in front of you?
  • Can they not keep your secret?
  • Would you not be okay if this friend no longer wanted to be friends if you told them?

If you answered yes to any of these questions then it would likely be best if you do not share your kinks or lifestyle with them.  There really is no reason they need to know what you do behind closed doors. If they notice that you are acting differently you can explain that away by saying that you've found a change in your attitude or behavior is making your a happier person.

Curiosity vs. Need to Know

It's likely that the friends you do tell will be curious about BDSM and what you've told them. We are curious beings. But make sure what you share is tempered with a need to know attitude. You can go too far in your information and it could lead to your friend thinking negatively about your sex life and new found lifestyle. The last thing you want to do is make them feel uncomfortable around you.

Typically when someone asks me a question and they are pretty vanilla, the response I always give them is, "Are you sure you want to know?" This gives them a moment to really consider if they want to know that much about your or if they were just voicing a curiosity that didn't need to be answered. Most of the time I get a "nevermind." If they want to know, then you have an opening to talk a little about what they are curious to know.

How Much is Too Much?

It is your job once the curiosity is going to be explored to know how much to share and how much is too much. Everyone has non-verbal clues when they get uncomfortable. You should watch for them and clam up at the first sign of discomfort in your friend.

  • Fidgeting
  • Unable to make eye contact
  • Looking around cautiously
  • Biting their lip or playing with their face
  • Crossing arms in front
  • Leaning away from you

I traditionally keep to the surface of the discussion unless their questions delve deeper. You don't need to convince them that your way is the best way, but just that you are happy with how your sex life or new life is. Try to portray happiness and comfort as well as confidence in your choices. If you aren't sure about answers to their questions, let them know that you would like to cover that later on and then go get the answers. The more you know the better prepared you will be.

So what are some important topics to bring up once the can of worms is open?

BDSM vs. Abuse

Make sure you can clearly explain how what you are doing is not abuse and should not be seen as abusive. If you need to memorize some phrases, the NCSF has some excellent ones on the topic.

Consensuality

You need to let your friends know that what you are doing is an agreed upon activity. That it's clearly defined and negotiated at every turn and that you want and enjoy the activities that you participate in.

Safewords

Tell your friend about stop words and that you have one in your consensual relationship that means the activity stops immediately. It's a safety mechanism that protects you.

Lastly, I'd like to remind you that it's okay if your friends want to remain with their heads in the sand. They don't have to know or understand everything. If they tell you they don't want to know, please respect their wishes. Friendship is too valuable.

Thoughts to Ponder

  1. Have you told vanilla friends about your kink? Did it go well? Why or why not?
  2. How much of your family know?
  3. Have you heard any stories about mishaps with revealing too much information and what happened?

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published