Recently someone left two harsh comments on my blog taking me to task for being anonymous. He didn’t understand why a woman who was outspoken about sexuality wouldn’t show her face, and, according to him, the fact that I chose to remain in the shadows made me seem like a fraud.
I replied that I had an ex-husband who would be less than thrilled if he found out about my blog, and as long as custody is an issue, I would rather he not know about it. Then there’s my day job: I work in a conservative field where coming out as a sex blogger could be detrimental. Finally, I have children to consider. At 17 and 12, should they have to tolerate snickers from friends who’ve found out their mother likes having her ass smacked?
I started to wonder how my sex blogging colleagues navigate issues around identity and disclosure. So I asked them to weigh in: why did they choose to blog anonymously? And if they blogged under their real names, had there been repercussions?
“I was best known as the Founder and first Executive Director of a national infertility association. Back in those days, I had an anonymous blog about my “Shameless Journey” as a mid-life woman exploring my body. When I was outted, my Board of Directors demanded that the blog be taken down. Just months later, a lovely press release was sent out letting the world know that I had moved on to “greener pastures.” Having an anonymous blog changed the professional course of my career. I now blog and write under my full name. Being out about sexuality can come with a hefty price. Be sure that you are willing to pay it.”
Sensuality Coach Rebekah Beneteau told me her ex-husband sued for custody (thankfully, he lost) even before she had a blog, when she lived in a communal household that hosted workshops on sexuality.
Bobbie Morgan of A Good Woman’s Dirty Mind said she chose to be anonymous out of respect to those close to her who don’t want to be publicly associated with someone who writes about sex. She also brought up something that hadn’t occurred to me: the potential of attracting stalkers who feel entitled to participate in a sex blogger’s sex life.
The blogger behind The Ecstasy Files had this to say about opting to stay on the down-low:
“I have to do paid work in an industry far removed from kink blogging. Plus, the men I’m dating don’t want to be publicly identified as my Doms. Both love that I’m writing erotica and about BDSM. I’m not insulted by their closeted cheering.”
Not every sex blogger hides behind a pseudonym or a shadowy face. Blogger and sex educator Walker Thornton used to write anonymously but eventually started using her real name as a matter of integrity. She felt she couldn’t honestly encourage women “to embrace their sexuality if I wasn’t willing to publicly do the same.” She’s also found that being “out” is a useful way to weed out potential male partners who balk at her line of work.
Sympathizing with anonymous bloggers, sex-positive therapist Galen Fous says: “Everyone has the right to privacy and to choose the battles they are willing to take on publicly. I am blessed to live, research and write about the darker edges of human sexuality and live my sexual lifestyle of choice with total openness.”
It’s not easy being a sex-positive blogger in a sex-negative world, a world that seems to be sinking into a slut-shaming, vagina-regulating, Hobby Lobby abyss. Perhaps this is the reason why, despite the risks posed by sex blogging, so many people choose to do it: to keep Big Brother out of our bedrooms.
For me, sex blogging is both political and personal. Pushing past the edge of my blogging comfort zone is both scary and exhilarating — much like the experience of having hot sex. At 51, after finally divesting myself of the albatross that is sexual shame, and with the latter part of my life shimmering on the horizon, I’m not about to give up either.
I’d love to hear from more of my sex blogger/sex educator colleagues — as well as any readers who have felt compelled to compartmentalize their sexuality: what’s been your experience being sex-positive in a sex-negative world?