Recently, I have found myself looking around the variety of scene related activities we indulge in, or observe others indulge in. This has caused me to consider whether there is a hierarchy of "acceptability" and, if so, what it is.
The easiest way to articulate the question is to consider yourself in a situation where you had to reveal some personal knowledge of kink to a vanilla audience.
Fetish fashion is an easy reveal. Burlesque wear, corsetry, strappy shoes and dommy jackets are all pretty mainstream now, not just the domain of Agent Provocateur and the Sunday Times Style magazine.
So, really, kinky looking gear is no reveal at all.
Spanking, and particularly the schoolgirl roleplay aspect, is probably a little too close to personal bedroom play for many people. It risks a quick categorisation as "pervy" rather than kinky, and would probably stymie further discussion.
Waxplay. Everyone has played with candles in childhood, and many adults can't resist messing with candle wax when in a restaurant in boring company, or when summoning up the courage to pop some question (isn't that why those restaurants have elaborate candles?). So, for most people, a reveal about wax play would probably result in a "so what" reaction.
Explaining D/s power relationships will seem very non-PC to many. Most men are now expected to be "new age", so revealing an acceptance of power exchange dynamics could be interpreted as voting for reactionary stone age political ideals. This dismissive position overlooks the fact that virtually all relationships contain some element of power exchange. Saying so will move the whole debate away from kink and into the much more fraught domain of politics. Introducing any concept of "domestic service and discipline" will only, by definition, bring the argument closer to "home".
If we try to discuss issues of alternative sexuality or gender assignment, we will probably get the "yes, fine, so what ?" response about same-sex relationships. This is followed by a boring discussion about inheritance tax. At the other extreme, we must refute the assumption that our (shaky) knowledge of the more clinical specifics of gender reassignment must have come from a late night Discovery documentary.
Cosplay, and other dress related behaviour, is very closely mimicked in the vanilla world. From the long standing female impersonator of music hall and pantomime fame to any hen party out for a Saturday night pre-wedding bash, there's not much clothing novelty left that we can claim for ourselves Latex is an advanced form of dress kink, and probably can't be explained without going into the whole discussion of one person's fetish being a complex relationship with a specific sensory trigger. That reveal will precipitate a request as to which obscure Social Science subjects I'm studying.
Needle play, C&BT, Electroplay and chastity restraints are all a bit deep and complex to use as a launch pad for a reveal to vanilla friends, so what am I left with.
Oddly, it's rope.
Shibari and its cousins.
Probably the least mainstream, the least often replicated in "ordinary" life and, oddly, the least open to cries of indecency or violence or general immorality. Superficially its decorative, macrame with humans, and should have a special appeal for the 1960's generation. At a more advanced level it's a circus act. A suspension is a personalised trapeze, not that different from a mountaineer's belay.
When I first discovered my kinky side, I don't believe I was even aware of Shibari. Strange that now, if asked to come out to vanilla friends, rope might be my starting point.
What do you think?