Saturday, November 10, 2007

Coming out

A few months ago my best friend T. and I were talking about the process we each went through in discovering our core sexuality (homosexuality for him, spanking for me). At one point we began comparing when this exploration took place and he suddenly exclaimed, "oh wow -- you came out the same time I did!"

I had never really thought of my spanko discernment as "coming out" but as I thought about it some more, there were certainly a lot of parallels to the experience gay people have in processing their sexual orientation. Though to be fair, some of my experience also reflected a combination of situations specific to me. But hey, isn't that the way it is for everybody?

I never really dated growing up. As I considered why this was, my first thought was that I was a very devout Evangelical and very adamant about saving myself for marriage. In addition, I was generally too busy with raising my siblings and church activities and school to have much time for it. And besides, I was fat and guys weren't really all that into me.

Yet I knew plenty of other Evangelicals who were just as adamant as I was about sexual abstinence and somehow they managed to date (though I don't doubt that some of them eventually abandoned their refusal to fornicate). Likewise my sister -- the next one down from me who was supposed to help out with babysitting -- also dated (it helped that she started working fast-food when she was 15 and therefore was out of the house a lot more than I was). And though I was fat, there were guys who were into me. It's just that I wasn't really all that into them.

That lack of connection really is what kept me from dating. Like most teenagers, I certainly fantasized about having a boyfriend and doing all those things girlfriends and boyfriends do (with the exception of sex), but that cultural expectation wasn't enough for me to date guys who were very sweet yet lacked that certain something I wasn't even aware yet I wanted.

And, of course, I fantasized a lot about getting spanked. Mostly by a stern but loving father-figure. Which caused me a great deal of angst because I didn't want to marry a guy in order to obtain the father I didn't grow up with. I wanted to be my future husband's partner. I mean, who wants to be married to someone who is a perpetual child? What sort of intellectual and emotional communion can exist in such a relationship?

Eventually Google came along and I found that I could have both: a loving disciplinarian and a partner. I remember those heady early days of exploring my spanking kink. Meeting all sorts of guys to spank me. Suddenly dating was easy. I finally had my first kiss -- at 27 from the first spanko guy I dated. Before I knew it, I was spanking around. I was a spanking slut, even if there was no sex involved.

Yet I worried what my friends might think. It felt weird hiding a whole part of my life -- and an increasingly important one at that -- from my friends and family. Indeed at one point T. complained that I was withdrawing from him, and he was right. I was so afraid I would accidentally spill the beans about my alternative life and I knew he would be horrified to know I was meeting guys off the Internet to spank me.

T. and I are very close. He was actually my sponsor when I converted to Catholicism and in the Byzantine rite I'd chosen, that made him my godfather. My priest even had to make sure that we wouldn't end up married down the line as it would be "awkward." My soon-to-be godfather hadn't come out yet, but like many fag hag relationships, we'd already explored the possibility of marriage and assured my priest there would be no potential bishopic dispensation needed. Looking back I know I was attracted to T. because he's such a natural disciplinarian. But like him, I hadn't come to terms with my own sexuality enough at the time to know the sort of verbal discipline he was so good at was not at all what I wanted. We did know, though, that there wasn't any chemistry even if we didn't know why yet.

In many ways I think the act of delurking on soc.sexuality.spanking five years ago really was a form of coming out, complete with coming out narrative, as it is for so many people introducing themselves in online forums. And the relief and euphoria that accompany finding other people like you probably is similar in some ways to the excitement T. felt when he first started dating and fucking guys, even if it lacks the pain and profound lifestyle change being gay was for my Arab-Catholic godfather.

It's funny but that above linked post, my spanking memoir, is invariably among the most popular pages -- if not the most popular post -- on this blog each day. This post, I suppose, is now a sort of adjunct to it, made possible by five and a half years of hindsight with which to analyze a bit deeper some of the issues I didn't understand quite yet then. Obviously, it was written before I met A. And I've also clearly decided against saving my hymen for a future husband. But then, how I came to that decision and my thoughts on marriage as an institution would be far more appropriate for an entirely different post. Probably on my non-kink blog.


Jigsaw Analogy said...

Interesting. I often think my adult life has been a long series of coming out processes. Maybe it's a narrative I think about more often, because coming out as a lesbian was about the second "coming out" moment I had (the first being recognizing and owning that religiously, I'm pagan).

I think a lot of the time our inner selves influence the choices we make, but we come up with other explanations for those choices.

Thanks for a thought-provoking post.

Natty said...

You're very welcome!

And I think you're right about our inner selves doing a lot of the action in our lives without our conscious selves always aware.

One of the good things about being sick and spending a lot of time in bed is I get plenty of time to let my conscious self figure it out. ;-)

I suppose in a lot of ways, everybody's life is about coming out or coming to terms with who we are. Some people, of course, do so more than others. But there is something very liberating about connecting ourselves to where we belong.

Abel1234 said...

Only just catching up on blog reading after a busy period, and I'm so very glad I didn't miss this wonderful post. Really well written (as ever!) and I love the thought-provoking "coming out" comparison.

Natty said...

Glad you liked it!

And hey, quit working so much. ;-)

Abel1234 said...

Hi again.

Thought you might like to know that I posted an entry on our blog, inspired by this entry of yours, which has provoked lots of comments. Thanks again for the inspiration (and happy new year, too!)

Anonymous said...

Wow, 27! Talk about a late bloomer, how fat were you?

Natty said...

Was? Who says I'm not still fat? ::grin::