Ssshhh! It’s A Secret…


Food For Thought Friday - #F4TFridayI’ve had a few chats about anonymity in the context of our community of late. It seems we occupy a very polarised section of reality.

There are some bloggers, who are pretty much “out”. I’m thinking along the lines of people like Molly Moore and Tabitha Rayne. Whether or not they use their real names or pen names, their identities are pretty much known. They show their faces, and other bits. They are out and proud.

Then there are the “halfways”. This time I’m thinking May More and Helen Scott. They use what may (or may not) be their real names. They blog openly about subjects that affect/interest them personally. They participate in (potentially) revealing memes like #SinfulSunday. And yet, for all that we know that both have cracking breasts, we don’t really know who they are; we never see their faces.

Finally, there are the “anons”. People like Girl on The Net and myself (not that I’m holding myself out as being in her league). For all that we frankly discuss the aspects of sex and sexuality that interest and/or concern us, we remain hidden behind pseudonyms, our identities hidden to all but a trusted few who have met and know us.

Now this, sadly, is quite understandable. While the activities we in the community discuss so freely are “normal”, so called polite society does not deem them suitable for public consumption. There are many people who would not approve of me if they knew I was a sex blogger.  I would almost certainly suffer professionally, despite the fact that the topics I write about are well within the bounds of what is considered to be normal human behaviour. It’s simply that, I write about a part of human behaviour that is conducted, for the most part, behind closed doors, and which, it seems, the majority of people would prefer not to be discussed at all.

Share Our ShitNow, because I participate in #SinfulSunday, and occasionally post more explicit images on tumblr, it is, I guess, perceivable that my real identity could be gleaned by some sharp-eyed viewer. This is a risk I accept. Similarly, I enjoy meeting members of the community in real life and try to do so wherever my work travels take me. It is, after all, always nice to put a face to the boobs and/or arses I see every week. But every time I do so, I am entrusting them with my most precious secret, the real me. Of course, they are placing the same trust in me. There is, I guess you could say, an element of Mutually Assured Destruction in place.

Partially in jest, I once commented to Exposing40 that one of the bizarre things about our community is that often, the face is the last bit of each other that we see. It’s kind of inevitable I guess; It wouldn’t exactly be appropriate for us to meet up in a public location and try and identify each other by our naughty bits after all. That said, given that we would likely be the only people present with said naughty bits on display might make it a bit easier.

I fully accept and understand why those of us who blog openly about sex need to be protective of our identities, I just wish that now, in the 21st Century, such secrecy wasn’t required.

Which, finally, brings me to the point of this rambling post. This community is what it is because of the wonderful people who contribute to it; the writers, the reviewers, the photographers, the bloggers, the readers, the commenters and the lurkers. We need to look out for each other. The more observant among you may have noticed this post is slightly more link heavy than usual and the reason for that is that we need to “Share our Shit!

KW

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34 thoughts on “Ssshhh! It’s A Secret…

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  1. It’s a fine line and the decision on whether or not to cross it, and by how much should we choose to do so, is one that we all have to make according to our own values and circumstances.

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  2. All of the points GOTN and KW mention regarding the subject of our blogs hold true. Why should the discussion of something which the bulk of the population of the world enjoys and takes part in cause such embarrassment? It really shouldn’t.

    I started to post a long comment here and it turned into a post all of its own which you will find on my own site.

    I suppose if someone was really determined they might be able to find us out, but I hope they would have trouble disseminating that information once they’d done so. It will always be a hazard of blogging and we’d manage somehow if it happened.

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  3. I know I’m late to this party but just wanted to say thanks for writing this… I wrote about why I’m anonymous a while ago but I’ve had my own brushes with being “found out”, especially recently (as you may know if you read my blog). I too wish things were different in that my sexuality wouldn’t make anyone blink an eye… But preserving the anonymity of my lovers and the people I write about. I’d almost hate it more if *they* were found out via my blog, because at least I take accountability for my actions and decisions. They are mere players in my play.

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    1. And that is a very good point, we aren’t just sharing our own live online, we are sharing those of our partners in as much as they are a part of what we write about. As such, we have a “duty of care” to protect their identities too.

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  4. i love your comment about the face being the last bit we see of each other, because it is true and such a privlege when we are able to and really is an experience that we have in our community. very thoughtful post.

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  5. Interesting post. My blog is broadly anonymous, although if you knew me and happened across it my chance it’s pretty obviously me. My blog is very specifically about body positivity and while sex comes into that I don’t write erotica or about my own experiences in detail. Because a lot of my real life friends are involved in this project I do police some of the images I share. There are photos that partners and I have taken that I would happily share within the community that night make my friends uncomfortable. Also, because this is a collaboration j am aware that the blog could be revealed (one friend put it on her Facebook) so I’m careful that my photos and words, although naked ones, aren’t too explicit and if I were ‘outed’ it wouldn’t compromise relationships or work. Luckily I work in a sector where the purpose of my blog would be welcome and understood and valued.

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    1. We all blog for different reasons and on different topics and yet we all get lumped together in the same pot. It’s fortunate that you have a certain amount of “safety” in your situation.

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  6. I hate being hidden away but for now it is likely to stay that way. I’m not ashamed of who I am and if people ask me about my sexuality I am honest with them. Friends know about my blog but not my name, there are images on my blog friends just don’t need to see!

    I wrote in the past that if I’m discovered then so be it. As time goes on, the more I’m not bothered about it but right now I prefer not to show my face, my pictures look a lot better without my face in them to be honest! If I do become less ‘anonymous’ I will continue to be known as Bee, she is a huge part of who I am and not somebody that can just be put back into the box she spent too many years in.

    I also maintain that although I write my blog, it is a joint blog. If I’m out then so is he. So for the foreseeable future I will keep the mystery and intrigue that goes along with a secret identity.

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  7. I once met up with a few fellow anonymous twitter accounts, all kinky, we realised that we’d all seen each other from the neck down, but that this was not much use in trying to match up naked pics with dressed bodies and faces… reverse of facebook ‘reality’… and yes MAD applies well here, but there is a gender element too, I find society more accepting of male ‘slutt-ery’ than female, but less tolerant of male ‘kinksters’ (woeful stereotypes of all male knitters (oh I love this typo) kinksters as Domly-Doms-of-Dom-Mania), in the latter case women are seen as ‘misguided’ or weak but not demonised…

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  8. OK, so first thing’s first – I’m completely with you on the whole ‘it’s a shame we can’t talk as openly about sex as we’d like’ thing: if I ran the world, no company would be able to fire someone for running a fun sex blog or talking openly about their sexual fantasies. But I find it odd when we discuss the issue of anonymity that this is the main thing we usually concentrate on. when I first started sex blogging, it was the main reason why I stayed anonymous. Now that I’ve been blogging for a while, there are a huge number of other reasons to consider. Here are a few:

    – compartmentalising your life – sometimes it’s easier if certain conservative friends or family members don’t know that I like to be throatfucked. Not because I am ashamed, or because they’d hate me, just because it’s not something they want to know. My grandad in particular is incredibly supportive of my work, and very curious about what I write, but he’d be gutted to read through some of the more extreme things I write because it’s not something you necessarily want to know in detail about your granddaughter.

    – safety. I rarely see male sex bloggers mention this, but I get some *terrifying* emails from people – promises that they’ll fulfil fantasies I have by ‘finding me and just doing it’ and much more. I don’t know how many other people get this, but it’s definitely a consideration.

    – respect for those I’m writing about. If I stay anonymous (although I always have to warn people that I may well be outed one day) then the guys I write about get a certain level of protection. I also often fudge specific stories so people don’t know *exactly* which dude they’re about – again, in case I’m ever outed and they want to deny that a particular thing was them.

    – brand – I almost left this off because it’ll make me sound like a dick but I am sometimes a dick so full disclosure: I am more interesting to people because they don’t know who I am. I’m neither stunningly beautiful, frequently naked, nor exciting in any of those ways, so if I just become Jane Doe, girl next door who has some really dirty fucks sometimes, I become much less interesting.

    – crossover. Kind of linked to the one above, if I become Jane Doe (or my real name, you see what I mean) I also, potentially, get put under a lot of pressure to express the kind of strong sexual opinions that I do as GOTN, but on my normal channels. Being a sex blogger can be quite draining sometimes, especially when as GOTN I can hardly say anything without it seeming like an innuendo (I’m not complaining about this btw). If I were outed I’d potentially have to maintain that ‘persona’ even in places (like my real-name facebook) where what I want to do is just chat shit and not have to be sexy.

    Those are just a few, off the top of my head. So yeah, I agree with you that there are some really fucked-up and shitty reasons why people often need to remain anonymous – we live in a society that is still squeamish about sex and kink, and that’s a real shame. But I’d also say we can never know someone’s reasons for being anonymous.

    Final point, I think, is that I think ‘anonymity’ is a slightly odd term for what we’ve got. Massively successful bloggers like Cara and Molly, who are still partly pseudonymous, could not really be considered ‘anonymous’ as they have a level of notoriety. Likewise with me – my *actual* name, in the sex blogging world, is totally unknown, whereas ‘GOTN’ is known to a certain extent. Under this name I’m accountable for my opinions, actions, and the way I treat others – all that stuff. I’m not anonymous like one of those twitter eggs – I’m just going under a different name. And, as I say to the pub when people ask me “but what’s your REAL name, though?” – why does it matter? It matters massively to *me* that I can interact with people under a name I feel comfortable with, but if I turn round when they call that name, I am quite baffled as to why it matters to them. It’s like those people in the audience trying to look up the magician’s sleeve: we all know it’s a trick – it’s an open secret that ‘GOTN’ isn’t my real name, so if you find out you’ll only be disappointed.

    I say all this under the full knowledge that one day I’m sure I’ll be outed. And the reaction from anyone who cares (which I think will be only a few people anyway) will be a big fat ‘meh’ =)

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    1. I should just have got you to write this blog for me, you’ve said it all so much better than I could.

      I know the dangers of being outed, it happened to my previous “incarnation”. You’d think I’d have learned my lesson, but I actually missed it too much; so after a period of downtime, KW was born and I headed out, possibly more tentatively at first, back out into the blogging world. It’s possibly ironic, but this is more daring than my previous persona was.

      I agree about “anonymity” being the wrong term. As I said on Twitter, to those who follow us, GOTN and KW are every bit as real as our real life selves are to our real life friends/family/aquaintances. KW is still me. The people who have met me, still know me as KW online even though they also know the “real” me; nothing changes.

      As you say, it’s about compartmentalising, and that is something I do every day. My work life and my home life are completely distinct. The work me and the home me and KW are all me; different facets of me, but still me nonetheless.

      Oh, and on behalf of my gender (whom, for the most part, I hold in varying levels of contempt), I apologise for those emails. It seems there are far too many Y-chromosomers who think the fact that they have a dick gives them a right to behave like one.

      Ho hum, don’t you just love the human condition?

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      1. Ouch – I didn’t realise you’d been outed in a previous incarnation. Sorry to hear that, and now I’m a bit curious as to which it was! I won’t ask, obviously =) Also please don’t apologise on behalf of your gender: you don’t hold responsibility for other people’s actions. I think the only link really when it comes to gender is that people of the same gender often find it easier to empathise with things similar people have been through. For instance, I very rarely (possibly never?) get women saying ‘why are you anonymous?’ – they are more likely to understand the kind of shit that you can receive, because they’re more likely to have received it.

        Likewise I suspect I get a certain amount of privilege when it comes to things that are more pervy. Some of the extreme submission stuff I write about would, I think, get a much harsher reception if I were posting it from a male Dom point of view. And with regards to anonymity, if it came out that I was a teacher (I’m not) I think I’d get off much more lightly in terms of criticism than a male teacher who was posting the same kind of stuff. Different privileges + perspectives, all based on the same bullshit gendered assumptions, etc. The world has a lot of changing to do =) Thanks for this post!

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        1. This is where “anonymity” becomes a double-edged sword. I don’t know who outed me, but I suspect it was someone who followed the twitter account I used at the time, who somehow knew me, but was themselves hiding behind the anonymity provided by Twitter.

          Ah well, come the revolution…

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  9. We are getting more and more open and detailed about who we are and every new person we meet this last year now knows about the blog. Professionally I can’t be known, and it is sad that people can’t separate intimacy and profession. It’s the same strange separation that people do when it’s more acceptable to read erotica (thank you 50 Shades), and yet you can’t write it still.

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  10. For the most part I am open about who I am and what I do. I have friends who regularly visit my site. I also have friends who are aware of it but do not know my pseudonym or enough information to be able to find me. When people ask to see my site I am very clear with them about what I write and post, that there are intimate pictures and such they may not want to see. I am not concerned about hiding so much as having them be aware of what they will find and then not be uncomfortable about it.

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  11. It really is too bad. But it certainly is a consideration. The things that are needed to stay reasonably anon are a bit of a pain, and could easily go awry if not followed. Hopefully things will evolve more and eventually it won’t be an issue, but it seems like when I see a glimmer of hope that things are moving forward a bit, then I talk with or see someone else that is so far in the other direction… and just have to groan.

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  12. Thanks for the mention. When I started blogging I was super anonymous but over the years that has gradually slipped away. The only reason I don’t use my real name now is mainly that all my work has been built up using my pen name, also it allows my children some separation in their lives too but it is really only an illusion. If someone wanted to find me they could which is why I have armed them with all the knowledge they need so that no one can out them.

    Mollyx

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    1. I think you have a very healthy and pragmatic approach to it. You also touch on a very pertinent point that, as sex bloggers, it’s not only ourselves we have to look out for, we also owe a “duty of consideration” to out families and loved ones too.

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  13. I am semi out there. I use my first name, and there are a few photos with my face showing. Professionally it would be a bad thing if I was found out, but as I get older and near retirement from work I find I care a little less. I have to stop myself therefore from committing career suicide before it is actually time to go. Great post xx

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    1. There is, I think, a very real danger sometimes of familiarity potentially breeding complacency. Not helped by the fact something as ubiquitous as our mobile phone, could out us at any time without us even realising.

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  14. Oooh really interesting spin on #SoSS! I also blog anonymously (just under my first name) because I don’t know how the people around me would react if they found out I was blogging. Which leaves us at a huge disadvantage because I’m sure their comments on our blogs etc would be really insightful! I hope one day I have the courage to just be me 🙂

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    1. That is an excellent point. It’s odd how (in some circumstances) we could probably talk quite openly about these same topics with our close friends, but we wouldn’t want them knowing we blogged about them.

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