Coming out of the closet

From the book: 100 Days of Madness

The bible is a radical pro-slavery book. Slave owners waved bibles over their heads to justify slavery in the Civil War. It doesn’t tell Christians not to have slaves: It has entire books in it that describe how to have slaves. Now every time you see someone holding a bible while yelling at gay people, just remember that. The bible got it wrong on slavery, and it got it wrong on sexuality as well.

Discrimination bothers me, more than many other things. I have said elsewhere in this book and also out in my personal interactions, many times, how much I despise this kind of behavior. And recently a friend asked “If you don’t really care about many things about the world, if you are disconnected, as you say, why do you care so much about this one issue?”

In fact I don’t care too much about people as a species. I explained earlier in this book why I think so. But that doesn’t mean I am not sensitive to what happens around me. I laugh when I hear a good joke, I tear up at the emotional highs of a good movie, I love people in an individual basis, some people I love a lot more than everyone else. I smile when I see a kitten!

When I see someone being mean to other people, I feel bad about it. People can be so bad to each other and there are so many ways to do so. Violence may come to mind first, but to me violence is a symptom rather than a cause. Violence is always just a physical manifestation of something wrong at a deeper level.

I never got a very serious beating. I faced dangers and nearly lethal situations, but being here writing this is proof that, so far, nobody succeeded to improve the DNA pool by removing me from it. I also never faced much discrimination of any kind. So why is it that discrimination gets under my skin so easily?

Oh, of course. Because I have been in the giving end of it!

When I was in middle school there was a little Japanese boy in our class. His family had moved very recently from Japan and, I presume, they enrolled their son into regular school so he would learn the language and assimilate as fast as possible. I can’t remember his name, and I can’t remember him ever saying anything. One reason is that at the time he only spoke Japanese. A second reason is that he was very shy, which is probably result of a combination of being in a strange land and not knowing a word yet. But the third reason is that the other kids bullied him relentlessly. We used to ridicule him, make fun of him when he was away and also right in front of him. Sometimes he got beaten and when he cried we made even more fun. We were brutal.

It was a religious, private school and there were, out of thousands of students, just 5 or 6 black ones. One of these black kids was in my class, and we were friends. I wasn’t a rich kid, my family was about lower middle class, so I could afford to have a black friend. A rich kid wouldn’t. He wasn’t too small, he wasn’t shy, and anyone who tried to beat him would be gambling dangerously. He could stand his ground and he had a fantastic sense of humor that I am sure helped him cope with all the discrimination he suffered. Discrimination that I helped inflict and didn’t know I was doing it at the time.

He once invited a couple friends to go to his house and it was literally the last house on the edge of town, in a very poor neighborhood. We always made fun of that, and now it is hard to imagine that those comments, coming from kids that came from wealthier families, must have hurt every time.

I only became aware of how bad it was at the end of 8th grade. There was going to be a graduation party at the best club in town and to us kids it was a major thing. When I arrived he was at the door with a few of our friends and I was told that he wasn’t allowed to enter the club, because he is not white. I made some comment about how stupid that was, but that was it. I didn’t do anything to correct that situation or protest it. Neither did anybody else. We attended the party and he didn’t.

I once watched kids from our school getting a royal beating in front of a club, by kids from a poor neighborhood. I was one of the lucky ones that ran away after just a few blows, but I remember looking back when I was some 30 yards away and watching one of my friends on the ground, being kicked and punched by several other kids. I kept running.

My closest friend between 6th grade and high-school had a very strict mother. A religious fundamentalist that pushed him to excel in school with an iron fist. By the time I finished high-school he was committed to a mental institution. He never completely recovered from it. Until today he is a religious robot himself and doesn’t talk or act like the cool, fun, creative and amazing kid he used to be. That hurts very much, to see your best friend, see his body, and know that the person you grew up with is not there inside anymore.

At that time, making fun of people we perceived as homosexuals was common practice and socially acceptable. If a boy was small, timid, or effeminate the teasing and bullying was relentless. One of my closest friends was not gay, apparently, but he was a skinny boy, slightly effeminate, and he was definitely a geek. I don’t know what was worse at that time, to be a called a fag or a geek. During 7th grade one day he took all his mother’s pills and died, leaving behind a note telling how much he hated his parents for pushing him so hard to have perfect grades, and how much he hated his church because he was never accepted (I don’t know the reason), and how much he hated school because it was the one place where he knew he never had any real friends. Throughout the letter he made it clear that he was living in total hell, and he felt like there was nowhere to turn to for support.

Once I connected the dots between my youth and what happens around me now, I can’t stop seeing the connection. It is so easy to see people crumbling under the pressure of judgmental parents, gay kids being bullied in school, not being able to tell their parents for [justified] fear of being kicked out and cut away from their siblings. Not being able to go to their church to find comfort in their faith because it is exactly there that some of the most radical criticism and attack comes from. That is the reason for the despair: No matter where you turn to, you only find more bullying.

Being sure that I am not going to be the one to treat people badly because of their race, sexual orientation, religion, gender identification, or nationality, doesn’t seem to be enough. It is not enough to apologize for all the crappy attitudes I had when I was young and stupid. It seems to me that only by being vulnerable, casual about my own weirdness and being open to the potential of discrimination and ridicule I can feel congruent again. I feel that the only way to honor and respect the courage and struggles of those that faced the consequences of coming out, is to come out of a closet of my own. So here we go:

The earliest recollection I have of anything sexually kinky is from a bible I saw when I was 12 years old. Yes, the bible. My mother received as a gift one of those huge and expensive bibles, where every page has the scripture in one side, and a reproduction of a famous painting on the other. Gorgeous art, mostly from the Renaissance. In addition, the images chosen were usually related to the scripture they were placed next to.

So when I was going through those awful chapters that talk about hell and damnation and all the horrible things that will happen to you for eternity if you don’t love God above all others, or if you commit adultery, or if you are queer, or drink milk from the carton, or whatever… there were some painting showing people in hell and among them there were beautiful women, chained to the walls, often naked, and demons terrorizing or abusing them. That was so hot!

What is seen can never be unseen, so since then I have fantasized about women being sexually vulnerable, and fantasized of me being dominant. Soon there was a strong sexual link between that and pleasure in my mind. The problem is that, as it usually happens to teens where it comes to sexual things, it came to me wrapped in guilt and shame. That was further complicated by the simple fact that I was raised by strong, independent women, and later married a strong, independent one, and all my greatest relationships have been with very smart, independent, strong, and resourceful women. Very early in life I valued equality and always admired great women. It is only sexually that I like to experience polarity instead of equality.

A few years later, when I would buy porn at the dirty store, and later search for good videos at those same stores, it was clear that my choices where driven by those early impressions. That was always followed by burning or trashing those magazines and videos due to a mixture of shame for thinking something so inappropriate, or fear that someone would ever discover my “secret” and that would be even more shameful.

So for all my teenage years, sexuality, domination, and pleasure were a mix of fantasy, excitement, and lots of guilt and confusion.

In my early sexual experiences that was never evident. From the first girls I had sex with at brothels, where my sex life began, and later the first few girlfriends, I was kind of common and tried to fit in. It was pretty much regular sex, while the kinkiness stayed safe, hidden inside my head.
In the early 90s I was studying electronics and I learned to hack cell phones and listen to the conversations of random strangers. It wasn’t difficult to scan the calls at night and stumble upon some steamy conversations. I would spend hours listening to sex talk and that excited me more than watching porn. And how revealing that was! I learned so much about the range of interests and sexual experiences of real people by hearing what they had to say when they believed nobody else (other than their friend or lover) was listening. During the several months that I was a fly on the wall listening to lovers talking to each other, or friends telling about their recent experiences, or couples arguing about their infidelities, I learned that the range of sexual experiences and viewpoints is much wider than I used to imagine. That was the unadulterated truth.

(To respect the privacy of the innocent, as well as the guilty, I will from now on refer to several women that I have met as if they were just one, and here in this chapter I will call this woman Hillary.)

I met Hillary many times between the year 2000 and 2008 or so. Common interests and clever online dating strategies helped us find each other. For a while we talked online about everything, and it wasn’t long before we were talking about sex, about our fantasies and, especially, about the kind of sex we would have together.

It was mostly the anonymity of being on an internet chat that made it easy for us to start saying what we really liked without inhibitions. I remember the first time I told her how kinky I am and some of the ways I think about dominance and submission, and she reacted in a completely positive way, excited and happy that I liked the same things that she always wanted, but never had the opportunity to experience it.

We met many times, in many different cities and in several different countries, and we had fantastic times together. We brought to reality everything we talked about online and much more. Together we went to swinger clubs and kinky parties. We visited sex shops and bought everything we wanted to play with, but most of all we explored the universe of kink sex together.

The great breakthrough for me is that up to that point I used to associate kinkiness with disfunction. In my imagination, since I was a teen, I had this belief that “normal” people didn’t do it. There was always some residual guilt from wanting those things, and I always wondered if one day I would find a woman who wanted the same kinds of experiences. There was always this thought that kinky women, especially sexually submissive women would always be troubled, abused, depressed, or somehow undone.

But when I met Hillary the reality in front of me was completely different. First of all, she is a deeply intelligent and highly educated woman. She is successful, and very independent. She is smart, happy, strong, in every way I could imagine, the opposite of what I thought a kinky woman would be. She doesn’t talk like the girls in the movies, she doesn’t look like them. She is far better.

For a few years I ran a very successful agency for adult talent, mostly pornstars. That business gave me access to the wildest after- parties in Vegas and Los Angeles. I found myself hanging out with pornstars, playing with some of them as well as escorts, dancers, professional kinksters, etc. During those years I had my first threesomes, the first orgies, the first experiences with intense rough sex, tantric sex, shibari, and erotic hypnosis.

Another great thing about that phase is that it gave me the opportunity of talking honestly to hundreds of people about their sexual experiences. You can’t just ask your friends about their sexual experiences out of context, without knowing they are up to it, but if your friends are in adult business that is par for the course. I could ask escorts about how their clients played. I discovered how most pornstars go about their sex life in private. I watched all sorts of kinky people doing things that defied my beliefs and would defy your imagination. I learned more about what people do in real life than I could have ever dreamed of.

There was a significant transformation since 2010. During that year I managed to leave the adult business and found other ways of making money. I also started to socialize and interact with lots of people that were not in any kind of adult business. It was complicated in the beginning because it was so far out of my comfort zone, but that was a challenge I welcomed. I had to learn a lot more about non verbal communication, psychology, behavior, culture, arts, and language. After a couple of years of practice and studying I was able to connect and have relationships better and faster than I ever dreamed. I also had to overcome the problem that I was getting older and I still wanted to play with younger women. Attracting and maintaining relationships across large age differences requires refined skills that one doesn’t learn in books and money is not a good substitute for them.

Most of all, this has been the time in my life in which I know exactly what I want, and became very good at getting it. I have connected to several wonderful, smart, sexy, young women that I love. Most of them had their first kinky experiences with me. The trust, respect, and intimacy we developed go beyond what most couples will ever do.

So what’s the problem? You may be wondering. The problem is, all that scares most people. Hence the closet. We live in a world where concepts like polyamory, kinky play, and swinging are still viewed as being on the fringes of society. Everyone is under great social pressure to follow the herd and marry and be monogamous and straight and all the other parts of the standard script. People are also very emotionally invested in that line of thinking. Coming out as kinky will force me to deal with prejudices and fears that have very little connection with what I am or what I do, but will affect my life and my relationships forever.

So why do it? What is the purpose of it?

I am coming out as kinky for the same reason I think gay people should come out as gay. As you go about living your life and casually talking to people, you get noticed. Not long ago I got a message from a very young man who knows me from my first transcon and during a conversation at the bar, with a bunch of hashers, he caught up that I am kinky and he asked me some questions later, online. Through his emails it is very clear that he is relieved to have discovered that there are other people like him out there. He was living in that closed world of despair, believing that he was broken, unworthy or wrong. He couldn’t talk to his parents about it, he couldn’t talk to anyone in his church, and the only girlfriend he ever told about what he really wanted to do in bed called him a freak and dumped him immediately. He was also scared away from the kinky web sites and most of what he had found online because he couldn’t see the gradual connection between what he was and what they are. He felt very lonely in his [apparent] rare form of expressing his sensuality.

The kinky world is one of specialized interests. If all you want to do is to get laid, then life is simple, but when you are only interested in doing it in very specific ways, or in very well defined contexts, it can be a lonely out there.

I accepted that my niche is small, and that my range of interests is very narrow. I know now that to me one night stands don’t make any sense if I don’t see the possibility of driving the experience towards my kinky ways starting from night number two. And I know that what keeps most people happy and satisfied (at least in theory) does not rock my boat at all.

So if you are reading this and you are having to hide your real sexuality and suffered because you believed you may be broken, simply wrong, sinful, or out of place, then I wish this chapter will help you realize that you are not alone, and that it will get better as you learn more about yourself, forgive and tolerate those that are judgmental towards your choices and preferences, and connect with those that understand you.