Welp, here I was all planning to be working too hard on the new house to have any time for writing or blogging or “socialating” (W’s word – really, we need to make it a for-real word) when I was struck down by the flu (or something) bug, and have been laid up in bed for three days. The first two of which I could barely lift my head. Today I am a bit better, though still abed, and getting bored with all this downtime. Which means I am getting better – yay! Ad went over to the house to work on tearing up some more tile with W (obviously I am not that much better, or you know I’d be there) so I thought, what the hell, I would catch up on what y’all are doing here in blogland, and maybe take the opportunity to do a bit of blogging myself.
Originally I hadn’t planned to write anything for The Sin Doll‘s Wicked Wednesday prompt, Skeletons in the Closet. But a couple of posts I have read on the prompt, and another elsewhere, as well as a recent comment on my blog, got me to thinking about this thing that I (we) do…this sex blogging thing. And being so open about it. Is blogging about sex and kink – or even being poly – a “skeleton in my closet”? In her post, Skeletons, What Skeletons?, fellow blogger and writer Kayla Lords says that for her, it is not. She says,
There are some who would probably consider my erotica writing and publishing a skeleton – or the fact that I keep it secret, a skeleton. Maybe so. But I don’t. That’s all that matters.
Skeletons in the closet implies shame about something. My life is an open book – for those who ask the right questions. My erotic life is an open book – for anyone willing to read a while.
Does that equate to having no fear of discovery? I’m not sure, as I don’t live in her head, but I admire her ability to confront the possibility of it in such a head-on manner, and to be seemingly ready to accept the consequences of such a discovery. I wish I had the ability to have no fear of discovery, no concern that exposure would impact the rest of my life negatively. It shouldn’t, after all. Who cares what I, or any of us, do on our own time, in our personal lives?
The reality, for most of us, is very much different, however. I have a close friend whose life was turned upside down by her employer discovering her “secret” identity, and more recently a fellow blogger had her own scare with being outted. Those are just two examples among many that I have seen in my 10+ years of sex blogging. I had my own run-in with the threat of exposure back in 2012 when our local alternative paper named my then-Wordpress hosted blog “Best Sex Blog” in their yearly “Best of…” series. It forced me to go dark for several months as I contemplated my blog being discovered by my employer.
I don’t necessarily equate fear of discovery with feeling shame for what I do, though, and I don’t think the bloggers I mentioned feel shame for what they do, either. Having a skeleton in your closet – a secret that could impact your life negatively – isn’t always about being ashamed of whatever-it-is that is hidden there. Sometimes it is about society’s hang-ups. I’m not ashamed of who I am, the choices I’ve made in my life, or the life I lead. I’m not ashamed of what I write here, and what I choose to expose about myself. I’m proud of this little place I’ve carved out on the web, and that my writing occasionally touches someone, moves them, or even – gasp – turns them on.
But really, why do I do what I do in such a public way? Why put my face here, why be so open, if I fear discovery by my employers? As the commenter referenced above said,
The fact that you are so free with who you are is mind blowing. I have not figured out yet if I should cheer this or call it stupidity and be appalled. I assume that at some point you have talked about why you do this and how any risk of affects you but I must have missed it. Anyways, must bloggers I read never even show their face, much less their house, car and so on.
Although I know several sex bloggers that show their faces and are open about their identity, most of them have jobs and home lives that would not be affected by this. Some have already been forcefully outted, and so have faced the lion and have nothing to fear any longer. Some simply chose to be open and faced the outcome, good or bad. I live in that narrow in-between zone, in which I am mostly out (to friends and family but not to my employer) and hope that I don’t make any missteps that expose my real identity to the wrong person. I do live in fear that I will be discovered – and yet I still put myself out here.
Why am I willing to live with this particular skeleton in my closet?
At one time I didn’t show my face in my blog. I was as secretive as any other super-anonymous blogger, using a made-up name and letters for those others who had to be named in my blog. I still use my pseudonym, and in fact publish all my erotica under this name. But at some point it became important to me to have an identity – a humanity – here. To be me. To show more than sex stories and disembodied body parts.
W and I have a fairly intense and physical BDSM relationship. What we do can be transgressive at times, and sometimes what we do isn’t “pretty” in the middle of it, even to those who get off on it and respond to the dark eroticism of it. But there is also beauty, and joy. There is laughter and love, and such an incredibly deep emotional connection I don’t have words to do it justice. This is true for the entirety of our lives – W’s, mine and Ad’s. At some point in this journey, as the blog developed, it became important to me to share that with my readers as well. To share the humanity of our lives, as well as the hot, dark kinky stuff. To be more than a kinky story and sexual imagery.
I wanted to share me. I wanted to show a whole person, a whole life, one that has kink at its center, but also has a human being, a woman who loves her children and worries about being a good mother, who cried over the death of her dog but struggled to cry over her sister’s death, who lived through the anxiety of a job loss and is facing her own mortality. A woman with hopes and dreams and sorrows and failings, just like any other. A woman that could be the girl next door.
I wanted to share us. Who we are, as human beings, not just sexual beings. Because I truly believe that until the world sees our sexual selves – no matter what its flavor – as just another part of our whole selves, we will all have skeletons in our closet.
And so I showed my face. And my life. And I live with the specter of the skeleton in my closet, hoping that one day it will crumble to dust.