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Do’s and Don’ts for Coming Out Poly and Kinky

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Tina didn’t think anyone needed to know about her rubber fetish, her basement dungeon, or her open marriage.

Then one day, her mother-in-law came over, crying. It was the hardest thing she’d ever had to do, she said, but Tina deserved to know—Mom had seen her son, Kent, Tina’s husband, going into a hotel room with “a hooker.”

The woman was dressed in thigh-high leather boots, fishnet stockings, and skimpy shorts.

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Tina had never considered telling their parents that they practiced polyamory and BDSM. But she appreciated that poor Mom had summoned up a lot of courage to “do the right thing” when she saw her own son “stepping out.”

In this situation, the only real option was to tell the truth.

So Tina took a deep breath. “Thanks so much for your concern, I know this was hard for you. So you deserve to know—Kent was with our girlfriend. It’s better for you to know the truth than to think that Kent is unfaithful or dishonest. We’re polyamorous and part of the kink community here.”

Here’s how YOU can deal with disclosure.

DO plan ahead what to say if caught unawares.

Talk with your partners about how to address situations that could arise. Your response with family will be different than with co-workers.

DON’T tell everyone and their uncle.

For many people, being poly or kinky or both isn’t a secret. But that doesn’t mean the pizza delivery guy, mail carrier, and chiropractor’s receptionist all need to know.

For myself, a good general rule is: if they don’t know I play tennis and collect vintage photography, they don’t need to know that I have open relationships and love wearing a strap-on.

DON’T overshare.

Similar, but not the same thing. Even people who know you have three slaves still don’t need to know the nitty gritty about what makes you holler.

Think of it this way: you know your employee is married, but you don’t want to hear the details.

Kudos if you’re upfront about poly living with your boss, your kids and mayor. That doesn’t mean they need a blow-by-blow description of your every scene.

DO be honest with those who matter.

If your open marriage simply means that one or both of you will probably have a fling when in Hong Kong on business, it’s probably not necessary to sit the family down for a big discussion. But if you live together with another vampire couple and all dress the part, chances are the folks close to you will be wondering. It’s better to fill them in on the basics so they don’t have to ask around or gossip.

DON’T inadvertently “out” other people.

Remember that when you disclose personal information about your poly lifestyle, you want to check first with your partners about what their boundaries and comforts are.

Poly partners are part of your life, but there is never any reason to talk about other poly people who aren’t, just because you see them at events. Forget telling your beer buddies that your local news anchor has three husbands or that your little league coach likes to dress up in white lingerie. Respect others and their privacy.

Tell us what you think!

Tell us what you think!

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