I needed to give a few days of deep thought to this question and it is still a very difficult one for me to advise on but I will do my best as it’s something I really want to have an answer for.
Firstly, it breaks my heart that this ever even happens but it is a reality to engaging in what society looks at as “deviant behavior.” It’s hard to advise you on how to change YOUR behavior when it’s really society that needs to change its way of thinking. Sexuality, in general, is very hush-hush in our communities. I think talking about sexuality is healthy but most people are very uncomfortable even thinking about it, ESPECIALLY if it swings far from the old standard of missionary between a man and woman. But, puritanical values are hard to fight as a whole so we must change people’s way of thinking one at a time.
The best thing we can do to start a change is to educate. That’s part of why I engage in public forum discussions of BDSM and sexuality such as this blog.
As for my personal advice for your problem; In my mind there are two ways you can approach this problem to avoid it happening again in the future.
One is to not tell people. Not out of shame or guilt but if this is something purely sexual for you then it’s really no one’s business what you engage in in your bedroom. Roommates don’t always NEED to know these things.
However, I understand wanting to be able to be completely honest with people. I, personally, am upfront about what I do for a living and my family and friends all know. I think I have a leg-up on my approach to telling people, however, because for me it’s also a business. I think people are more understanding because they consider it something I just do to get by and often try not to think about the fact that I engage in the same stuff in the bedroom.
So, my advice on your alternate option to silence is this; If you must tell people about your interest in BDSM then be sure to humanize yourself. Remind them that you’re the same person they’ve always known, that you haven’t changed. Remind them that you’re still the person who likes to have dinner with them, go to the beach and amusement parks and other normal fun things. Help them to realize this isn’t some thing always lurking in you behind the scenes, that it’s not always on your mind. BDSM is just one activity you enjoy participating in from time to time. It doesn’t define you and it DOES NOT change your relationship with your friend. In fact, it really doesn’t affect them at all if they’re not engaged with you as a sex or play partner. They don’t need to witness it or engage in it.
And remind them that you tell them this because you trust them as a friend and you know they accept you for who you are and you want to be able to be completely honest around them, about yourself and everything. This could help them to feel special, confided in and more likely to be understanding.
You may also wish to reassure them that you’re not hurting yourself or others. Many people equate BDSM with violence and it’s a good thing to distinguish it from uncontrolled brutality (as it is too often shown in the media.) Try explaining that there are many facets to the play that are often sensual (such as tickling, foot worship etc.)
You could also explain, if you want to be very personal in the discussion, that it helps you experience a release. I think that most people that engage in BDSM do it for the release of serotonin and other feel-good chemicals in the brain and body. Many people also use it as a release of pent up negative feelings, such as a way to vent and cry and feel emotion in a scenario where it’s okay to be vulnerable and someone trusted is nearby to guide you through those feelings and to comfort you afterwards.
And pain is often looked on as acceptable in many other normal activities. Everyone has heard “no pain, no gain.” Exercising until it hurts is all but admired! Pain, when it’s not doing damage, can be a very powerful therapy to the body AND mind.
If the person your speaking with does become aggressive and negative with their opinions be sure to counter them calmly and rationally. If they say things like you mentioned about how you could be “cured” then remind them that it’s not a sickness. BDSM play is calm and controlled. The motto of the scene is “safe, sane and consensual.” Negotiations before a scene are there for a reason, because this is play guided by trust and becomes all about reading one anothers body language. It is actually very intimate even in the most heavy play.
By always remaining calm and rational in the discussion and not allowing yourself to become emotional you hold the upper hand and show your seriousness and knowledge in the matter.
That is my best advice and thoughts on how to change your future approaches on the subject of BDSM. But I also would like to address your current living situation. I think you should ask your roommate to have dinner with you at home some night soon. Sit down in a private, neutral area (a common area) so that you may talk frankly but also so either of you could leave if the conversation becomes toxic.
I know this will be extra hard since there is already tension between the two of you but get him to commit to sit down and talk with you. I suggest dinner because it presents the situation as more friendly than just a “we need to talk” which can sound like the set-up to a lecture. Besides, there is some merit to the proverbial “breaking of bread” in that negotiations and socializing have been done over food for a long, long time. Something about sharing a meal draws two people closer and extends a mood of peace.
So, maybe make him dinner or order something in or even just make tea or coffee and sit him down with you. Come at him with an air of apology first to put him in a receptive mood. Explain that you don’t like the way the last conversation went and you want to mend it with some frank discussion. Tell him first (like I mentioned earlier) that you brought it up because you wanted to confide in him and trust him as a friend and want to feel you can share anything together. Then let him know that you’d like to answer any questions he has on the subject and to clear the air about any confusion and let him have the floor. He may come off as frustrated and angry first but let him speak and wait your turn. Let him know you understand if he feels confused or conflicted and it’s okay that you both had strong reactions due to the surprise but that you want him to see that you’re still the same person you always were, you’re still his friend and that it would mean the world to you if he could accept this facet of you but that if he doesn’t want to discuss it after this that’s okay.
I hope this helps, truly. Best of luck and I’d love to hear back, privately or otherwise, on how this all goes for you. Thank you for sharing your problem, I’m sure you being brave enough to voice it has helped many other people in your same position. Good luck with everything.
Keep calm, keep kinky.
<3 Dear Dominatrix