Public kink makes me angry, and not because I’m a prude.

The current No True Way prompt is a simple statement with a complex response. As always, these are my opinions and not a didactic lesson on what is “right”.

“I wish people would stop taking their kinks public!”

Intention Vs Impact

Sometimes kink in public makes me angry because the kink community is already so misunderstood, hated and feared, that foisting kink activities on the public, no matter how subtle, can hurt the community and increase the divide. That is to say nothing of consent, which cannot be given by an unwitting public. No matter how well-intentioned or benign kink in public seems, isn’t it a huge overstep of boundaries? Does that mean that all social boundaries and societal norms are perfect? Certainly not, but busting out your favourite kink or fetish in public is not the way to change people’s hearts and minds. Public may be an absolute pet-hate of mine but does that mean all kink has to happen at home? No.

Context is everything

At sex clubs, sex parties, orgies, whatever, go nuts. I’m by no means kink-shaming, you do you, but the difference between these events/spaces and everyday kink in public is huge: awareness and consent. If you go to a BDSM club, you should expect to see kink in action. If you are in the grocery store, you don’t expect to see anyone getting their kink on, but go to PRIDE and you will see more than you may anticipate. If you’re having a casual Tuesday evening at an orgy, logic decrees: there may be kinky shit happening around you. But a trip to the mall with the kids? That should not include a random, surprise kink experience.

Kink Life Ain’t Fair

“But what if my kink is getting kinky in public and the taboo of being seen?” Sorry – again, no shame, but that is not a reasonable request. Find a way to role play that scenario, ‘be seen’ in a kink friendly space, or find more subtle ways to feel kinky in public without infringing on anyone’s consent. Public spaces are not the place to play our your fantasies or walk your human pet on a leash. Full stop.

But how do we normalize kink if it’s always hidden?

I am all for kink becoming more mainstream and being more accessible to people, but only to people who are interested. It is simply not our right or responsibility, as kinksters, to perform kink and recruit people into that play or that lifestyle. People will find kink on their own, we all did. Michael Knight wrote about this topic too and he makes a very valid point that we tolerate all kinds of aggressively cult-ish behaviour in public in terms of religion, particularly Christianity, that is essentially the same as kink, just with different symbols.

“No one stops them when they come to your door to try to convince you to join their kink club. They can walk down the street with their kink symbols of pain and suffering and no one bats an eye.”

I do agree with Michael here, but two wrongs don’t make a right. I don’t think that personal beliefs or practices should be pushed on the public. You can take that idea as far as you like, all the way to full blown anarchy, but without being too obtuse, just keep your kinks to yourself when you’re out and about.

Okay, if you must

If you really feel that you’re being oppressed by not being allowed to kink in public, if you really feel that your civil liberties are being squashed, if you really feel that your kink identity is something you need to wear on your sleeve, dress the part. I’m not suggesting public nudity or exposing yourself, but wearing a collar or cuffs or a showing off a strappy, bondage inspired bra under a sheer top may help scratch that itch and you will definitely get some of the incredulous or negative attention that you may want from public kinkiness. BDSM style and themes weave their way into fashion all the time, so what you wear can be a great compromise and way to express your kinky side.

Personally, I find secrets really sexy, so going out in public with a rope harness under my clothes or a plug in my ass, or a collar under my scarf, feel good because it feels naughty. I personally have no desire to express my kink publicly. The fact that it is a secret and a taboo and that so many people in my life have absolutely no idea that this part of me exists, is almost a kink in itself. For folks that want to kink out loud and proud in public spaces, y’all may need to wait awhile until the world catches up. Until then, be safe, have fun with other adults, and keep kink consensual.

Violet Fawkes

Violet Fawkes (she/her) is a freelance writer and sex blogger focusing on pleasure education, erotic fiction, and the intersection of identity, kink and mental health.