As I write this article, I wonder, is there anything about my sexuality that is private anymore? What happened to the unspoken rule of not discussing one’s sexual life in the open? What happened to the sleazy jokes and the complete silence around sexuality that I remember from the previous generation?
I realise, it doesn’t matter.
Privacy is the notion of being able to be within four walls with a roof above you where no one can peep in, the need for which I understand. However, the next level of preserving privacy is the culture of silence. So, you have a confusing, or perhaps confused sex life, but you won’t speak to anyone about it. Even those who you might speak to, will most likely have no meaningful inputs, because they don’t talk about it either. As radical as it sounds, privacy is about shutting yourself in and it eventually leads you to shut yourself in from your partners as well.
If I were to pull examples from personal life, or the lives of some of my closest friends, I know people who engage in BDSM and their partners are unaware of this. I also know of people who are both into BDSM and yet they both hide or ignore some aspects of their own and the other’s sexuality. I know of people who feel sexually violated by their partner, both men and women, and do not discuss it with their partners.
Personally, for more than a decade, I was unable to express myself for who I was. While I was vocal about my choices related to BDSM, I used to dread the day when my brother and I might bump into each other at a munch (an informal social gathering of people interested in BDSM). That said, what somewhat saved me from stress was also the same notion of privacy. Even if my brother and I bump into a munch, it’s OK, because hey it’s private in the end, right?
However, this dreadful dilemma miraculously vanished, when I finally found it in myself to come out as a BDSM practitioner to my family. At that moment, I made a choice. I knew very well that the books I had written and was writing were going to raise questions for my parents as well as my siblings, and that one of them might even go and read the books or explore online platforms where my writings were published. Well, so be it.
Truth be told, once I decided to not let private things be private, the level of emotional and intellectual intimacy I share with my family shifted phenomenally. Armed with that strength, which I drew from my family, it also became easier for me to talk to potential partners about my quasi-fluid status when it came to polyamory – that sometimes I have periods when I am monogamous, other times polyamorous, and other times serially monogamous, and I never know with certainty which will come when or how long it will last.
In my journey, my key discovery is that there is nothing like privacy as it is. With all my data being gathered by the Googles, Amazons, Tinders, Oyos and Ubers of the world, there is only an illusion of privacy as it is. Trying to wrap it up in silence won’t really help facilitate sexual freedom or empowerment. Radical as it may sound, rejecting the whole paradigm of what is private might perhaps be the key.
Cover Image: Pixabay