We all of us sexbloggers live behind various masks, and we do so for a variety of reasons.
We use aliases or screen names, omit our last names, most of us don't post full face pictures, we are careful about revealing details of personal life outside the subjects that we blog about, we set up duplicate websites and personalities. My friend Buddy has even set up a totally separate desktop (or something like that) on his Apple computer, in the hopes that his teenage son won't find out about his various ventures into jdate, other dating websites, porn locations and sex blogs. Before I started blogging, I had a lengthy correspondence with engrailed about being outed and discovered.
We do so because we fear disapproval and/or retribution...from friends, family, neighbors, the work environment. We think that because we think differently from the people that we're hiding from, they'll disapprove, retaliate, punish, not speak to us, fire us from work, disassociate themselves from us, make us targets for stalking or abuse, change our lives forever from what they are to what we don't want them to be. The very first blog I ever read with consistency, by a woman named Rose, a wonderful sub who wrote about her life in general and her time with Jefferson in particular, was outed and seemed to watch her whole world collapse. Other bloggers that I know have had to take their blogs offline at certain points and delete any and all personal details, because there was somewhere a scintilla of doubt as to whether they had been discovered.
Perhaps we reveal ourselves slowly to other bloggers that we become friendly and intimate with, first telling our non blogger names, then perhaps where we live, and then sharing other deemed important details of life. Through forces of geography we rarely meet face to face, although for me living in NYC there are perhaps stronger possibilites here than for others, like the hopeful sub blogger who lives in Alberta and struggles just to find people to interact with.
The first time I was discovered was by a fellow blogger whom I have known for over ten years, although neither of us knew about the other. I may have written about how we discovered each other, but she is the most discreet person I know in the circle of non-blogger friends we mutually have, and we've discussed who among those friends knows who we are. They are few, and they surprise me with their silence, being yentas of the highest order. It is a testament to her that they know and don't say anything. And they're sworn to secrecy about me as well.
The jury is still out on the second time I've been discovered. This blog is not a highly trafficked blog, averaging about 20-30 visits a day, and my sense is that some of them stumble here not from the few people kind enough to blogroll me but by people surfing the web and finding this blog because it has the word SWORDFISH in the name of the blog. While sitting on the beach this week, the brother of a friend (the brother who was visiting from Malibu) let me know in the most oblique and discreet way that he had stumble across the blog, put two and two together, and figured out who the blogger was.
He told me all this sotto voce, in a private conversation, just the two of us at the edge of the ocean. He's a lawyer, prominent in Los Angeles circles, lives three thousand miles away, and would have nothing to gain by outing me to friends and family, and in fact has told me that he won't say anything...ever.
And yet it's very scary for me, very frightening to think that with one conversation that would ripple through my world, he could bring tumbling down everything, and like Rose, my world as I know it would cease to exist.
Earworm-Simon and Garfunkel, Sounds of Silence