Coming out is a principle of Erotic Integrity. The full gay slang term is “coming out of the closet,” which has become a commonly used metaphor for living one’s sexuality openly.
It can be an internal process or a public declaration, a verbal statement, a rite of passage, or, unfortunately, an ordeal.
It can be motivated by shame or pride or can engender a social stigma. You can be “out” or “in the closet.”
I’m using the term “coming out” to mean openly declaring something about yourself as a sexual being that you have previously kept hidden. It doesn’t pertain only to sexual orientation and gender issues; it can apply to any aspect of one’s sexuality that may not fit the norm, thus triggering trepidation and fear of rejection.
Being gay is an obvious example. Others might include coming out as having a particular fetish (leather, bondage, feet), exhibiting certain sexual proclivities (spanking, exhibitionism, a predilection for sex toys), experiencing sexual limitations (being preorgasmic, cumming too soon, difficulty lubricating), or desire to drop a chaste public image (being a sex worker, getting a visible piercing or tattoo).
Today is National Coming Out Day (NCOD), which is an annual civil awareness day observed internationally to recognize members of the LGBTQ+ community. I’m broadening the scope of that celebration.
When you are in Erotic Integrity, you are willing to be seen and known for who you are as a sexual being. This involves honesty and openness yet may require that you be judicious regarding whom you reveal yourself to, and that you consider what the cost might be and the relationships it might enhance.
If you’re a guy who’s married and you like to cross-dress, coming out and owning your Erotic Integrity may involve telling your wife—if you forgot to mention it before you married or hadn’t discovered it yet.
If you like to practice flogging, you might want to join a local BDSM club and put the word out to find similarly intentioned submissives. (BDSM stands for “bondage and discipline, sadism and masochism” and the wide range of sexual behaviors that involve power play and the exchange of such energy.)
This is about coming out with parameters that make you feel safe and that keep you in alignment with your own integrity. You don’t need to take out an announcement in the paper. Some people cannot come out to their families as gay, for example, because they fear they will be rejected.
A guideline I offer is to come out to those people you want to be known by, and where you feel that there is room for authenticity. I’m not suggesting this will always, or ever, be easy. When your sexuality deviates from the culturally accepted norm, it’s scary because there’s an inherent risk that you’ll be rejected.
If you’d like to read more about Erotic Integrity, check out my book.