Thursday, January 12, 2012

Compartments

One of the themes of my writing has been how I've struggled to live as integrated a life as I can when it comes to my kink. For so many years I hid it away in a dark closet and it only really came out when I snuck around to buy the latest issue of Screw Magazine or DDI and then obsessed on when and where to see which domme I was for the moment enthralled with.

Now, while I certainly don't broadcast to everyone in my social and professional circle that I'm a shoe licking submissive fetishist, most people who know me, both vanilla and scene, know I'm a perv. For myself, I much prefer this less compartmentalized, "one-life-to-live" sort of approach. Sex and what I do, or more accurately what I'd like to do, in the bedroom are private things, not secret shameful things.

But over the course of being more "out" I realize that there are all sorts of lines people draw in their own lives around who knows what about their kink. Or for that matter, how much any given kinkster will reveal to another fellow traveller about their vanilla life. I totally get it and how much anybody choses to share is totally up to them. But even accounting for the need to be discreet because of the "ick factor" of a kinkster lifestyle, I wonder is there something appealing about compartmentalizing for its own sake.

It can be fun to create different persona and be different people in diverse social circles, right? A fantasy role lets you escape the day to day grind of life's mundane responsibilities. It's a mini-vacation or a form of freedom, isn't it? Plus, you get to reveal or protect aspects of your personality as you see fit, which is often a good thing, no?

I suppose I could agonize over where someone's lines in the sand are. Will I offend them? Have I already messed up said something or written something I shouldn't have? Will they ever speak to me again? Can I tip toe through these tulips and not lose my balance?

I try my best to respect other people's boundries and appreciate the compartments of their lives that they feel comfortable sharing with me. And while discretion is said to be the better part of valor, revelation under the right circumstances is an optimistic act of hope.

16 comments:

Her Majesty's Plaything said...

Hi Advo:

Wow! Great post! That last sentence was deeply felt and finely wrought! ;-)

I got into kink early and from a lifestyle approach so I was a bit more open about it. The twenty something crowd I ran with back in the day knew that I played with my girlfriends. We all lived together in different combinations which made it pretty difficult to hide. There was more vanilla sex than kinky sex back then. A lot more. Kink was a flavor added to the regular diet to spice it up a bit more than a main course. Now it's pretty much the main course. That transition happened over time and has to do with biological changes as much as it has to with with my personal preferences.

During my brief stint in the pro scene I did anything but keep it a secret. I was completely smitten with my Mistress and was more apt to scream it from the rooftops than keep it to myself. Hence everyone thought she was asking me to promote her when it was pretty much all me. Not saying she didn't benefit but I really loved writing about our time together and posting it on various bulletin boards.

Recently I find myself hanging back a bit more. Her Majesty knows that I post about our relationship but she is not involved with the blog and doesn't have much interest in it. Still she could check up on what I post at any time. I feel obliged not to air any of our dirty laundry in public because I feel that would be a betrayal of trust.

More at issue for me recently is comparing what is really going on with us to what others post about on the Internet. When I do that in my head it makes me uncomfortable. Some of what I read out there is real. A lot of it is fantasy. Her Majesty and I are not twenty something anymore and we are not in a new relationship. Ours is a love long standing, long fought for and hard won. It doesn't always translate into hot kinky times although often it still does. But the foundation of our love for each other is rock solid none the less.

Recently I feel like when I post about U/us I am comparing my insides to other people's outsides. It's not that I am keeping anything a secret. I just don't feel like broadcasting every little nuance to the world. Could be just a phase I am going through. What we do is what we do and that's fine. I don't need to compare it to what anyone else is doing.

I remember Troy Orleans once sharing that she encourages her clients to save their session memories as something special just for themselves. Those were not her exact words (I have long forgotten those) but that sentiment stuck with me.

advochasty said...

HMP -

I love your phrase about comparing your insides to other people's outsides. It's such a slippery slope. I see my self there so often. Either I get traction up the hill and like the little train "I think I can" - or I slide uncontrollably down the dirty, mucky sludge of self-doubt.

I more I try to enjoy where I am now, the happier I am. Quite the challenge though.

Her Majesty's Plaything said...

I can definitely relate amigo. I can't take credit for that phrase about insides and outsides though. That's "program speak." ;-)

advochasty said...

If you hadn't told me I would have been forever impressed.

I just adopt stuff as my own! Don't they say it's the sincerest form of flattery?

Whizzer said...

Advo,
Great post. Fits quite well into many aspects of my life at the moment.

Compartmentalization can be a wonderful things sometimes. Even when it's just to keep the wolves at bay! Keeping them in their own separate cages can keep us going at times.

Safe travels, my friend.

Best,
Whizzer

advochasty said...

Whizzer -

Keeping wolves in separate cages is a wonderful thing. Lord knows they might get out and turn on ya!

Aarkey said...

Your writing really echoes my thoughts. Especially your remark about it being "private things, not secret shameful things." It took me years to get to that place, but I'm forever grateful that I did.

As to your closing remark, I would add courageous as well as optimistic. Putting your heart out there can be a risky proposition, especially when it's about "private things." See you soon!

Miss Margo said...

Hello, Advo!

Provocative post about very significant subjects (compartmentalization and its attendant issues). I've given a lot of thought to the use of compartmentalization in my own life and in the lives of others (especially other sadomasochists I have known).

It's complicated...as you well know.

I am a world-class compartmentalizer (is that a word?). Have been my entire life. I am secretive to the point of paranoia. I could have been an excellent spy.

What I have come to believe, after a great deal of thought and introspection, is that my reflexive impulse to compartmentalize the roles and relationships in my life is a maladaptive coping mechanism I developed in childhood. Now I have to learn to stop doing it. The price to pay is simply too high.

It's one thing to keep your sexual kinks to yourself in your day-to-day life because you merely want to protect your privacy, or because you are (reasonably) concerned that you will be discriminated against or pathologized by others.

It is another thing to lie about your sexuality to the extent that the people closest to you--including, even, your partners--don't know about it, or are unable to communicate with you about it. This guarding, this secrecy, turns the already-potent sexuality into an obsession. And that's when things get dangerous.

I mean, let's follow the logic of compartmentalization to its inevitable conclusion here. The compartmentalizer doesn't tell anyone or let his/her sex life (imagined or real) 'bleed into' the rest of his/her life. Why not? Because they are afraid. Afraid of what? The answer is obvious: afraid of being rejected.

(Note that the compartmentalizer ASSUMES rejection, ridicule, hostility, whatever. But, this is merely a projection. The compartmentalizer is ashamed or conflicted, and unwilling to be vulnerable or intimate with others.)

The obsession is gratifying because it makes the sexual urge/kink disproportionately important in the compartmentalizer's life. This increases its allure, its potency. The secrecy also protects the compartmentalizer from having to be emotionally intimate and vulnerable with others.

I see this happen all the time. And I've lived it myself.

I meet a guy, and his kink strikes me as something pretty benign. I think: "Gosh--there's nothing bad about this! He could get this from his wife or girlfriend, if they are close. Why doesn't he ask her? Why go to such great length, and such expense, to get his needs met? I don't get it! And it's sad that he thinks he has to lie!"

(Meanwhile, hilariously, I am doing the EXACT SAME THING, and I don't even realize it. Not hypocrisy--just obliviousness. It's called the unconscious for a reason.)

Finally: having a secret life helps to realize the fetish. As you said: it's a form of freedom. If you engage with a pro or someone you meet with purely to act out your fantasies, it's a lot easier to imagine them as the avatar of your fantasy. You don't really know them, so you can suspend disbelief. It's a lot of fun. Nobody wants to picture their !Fantasy Top/Bottom!' with stomach flu, or picking their nose in the checkout line at Duane Read, or whatever. Totally understandable. That's why domesticity, despite its multitudinous benefits, is the death of eroticism. (And I'm generalizing. Of course couples who live together can have good sex.)

Her Majesty's Plaything said...

Hi Miss Margo:

Thanks for sharing that! What an amazing response! Compartmentalization; an obsession that feeds on itself! Reminds me a bit of the 1950's sci-fi epic; "The Blob". Awesome!

I have spent my entire life exploring kink in relationships. I have also dabbled in the pro scene. They are very different experiences. Watching your partner pick their nose may be a buzz kill but it also brings one back to reality. There is play time and "normal" time in most kinky relationships. Most people don't live kink 24/7. But in a pro/client relationship you only ever see that person as a reflection of your perfect fantasy. You never really see them as they are. And because they share what you believe to be your deepest darkest secrets you imbue that person with a great deal of power. They become larger than life in every way! I had a bit of trouble with that myself! ;-)

Great post! I really enjoyed reading that!

Miss Margo said...

TY, HMP (love your name, btw)! I am happy you enjoyed my post.

I agree with everything you wrote.

"And because they share what you believe to be your deepest darkest secrets you imbue that person with a great deal of power. They become larger than life in every way!"

THIS is very important and something I have not given enough thought to in the past. It helps me understand some people's motivations in their actions with me.

Thanks for this.

advochasty said...

Aarkey -

I too am forever grateful that you "got there" as you are one of the people who helped me get there too. It was right around this time of year four years ago that I first ran across your blog. A funny guy who plays golf and likes chastity?? WTF??? They exist??

And yes, putting it out there on an emotional level seeking a connection is a tremendous act of courage.

Great seeing you and the wife. Another first. My wife meets my kinkster friends. It was a really fun evening. See you guys again soon.

advochasty said...

Margo -

Yes, compartmentalizer! Definitely! A word.

Your response is consumately comprehensive and truly insightful. As much thinking and writing and spouting off in therapy as I have done on the subject, your post really helped me crystalize some of my thoughts and feeling about the walling off process I do, and to a lesser extent, still do.

Secret obsession as fuel for disproportionately powerful sexualized urge strikes at the very heart of where my problems lay. A childhood coping mechanism for me as well, no doubt about it.

For me, secrecy was its own urgent fetish. In one post some time ago I chose Johnny Rivers "Secret Agent Man" as my soundtrack. John Stead and Emma Peel anyone?

And while domesticity may be the death knell of eroticism; these days I find myself drawn to the more ho-hum quotidian fare of the daily pervertible. If I can sexualize secrecy why not sexualize opening a car door for her. Or when we go to dinner she rides in the back seat and I play driver. Or she makes me beg to have a bite of food at dinner.

Why does domesticity have to mean the death of the sexual? It may not always be pure adrenal rush, but it could just be more satisfiying.

I think.

advochasty said...

HMP & Margo -

Go you! Chatting on my blog! I love it!

The Lustful Literate said...

Excellent post.

I agree that compartmentalizing can be a positive thing. I don't find it to be an act of hiding (from myself OR others). In fact, sometimes, putting a part of myself away for awhile creates an opportunity to meet myself again, like a long lost friend.

Besides, if I didn't compartmentalize, parts of myself would bleed into other parts of myself ... where, honestly, they don't belong. I don't want to be obsessing about sex when I'm trying to be a mom...or when I'm at work. Not to say that it's always in my control. But, the ability to keep things in check is what keeps me out of trouble...most of the time.

BTW...I totally enjoy reading your blog. Your honesty is refreshing.

advochasty said...

Ms. Lustful -

Thanks so much for dropping by. I like your blog too!

Your idea of "meeting yourself again" really was a new way to look at compartmentalizing for me. It's a very insightful thought.

Certainly separation is necessary. I guess for me my compartment was actually a deep, dark, musty cave. Hidden instead of sensibly separated.

Anyway, don't be a stranger! I'm a total comment whore.

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