Confidentiality In Kink? How Do You Do It?

Someone recently asked in a comment about confidentiality in kink as related to professional mental health care:

I have never heard of confidentiality being discussed in kink as part of informed consent. Do you think there is a place for it? Just curious…

Professional confidentiality? No.

Casual confidentiality? Yes.

To go into detail, what is required of a professional is above and beyond what is required of casual interactions, especially those where confidentiality is not discussed or negotiated.

And, just as the legal system cannot force spouses to testify against each other, I would never expect anyone to withhold personal kink experiences and details from their friends or family, unless specifically discussed.

That said, I do not share information casually.

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“I Don’t Want To Carry Tales.”

And that’s why they didn’t tell me.

That this person had a past. A dark past. One that could affect me and people I love and protect.

Because, “I don’t want to carry tales.”

Because, “Well, I figured it was sour grapes.”

Because, “I was never involved first hand.”

Because, “Well this other person was acting jealous.”

Because, “The victim asked me not to say anything.”

So, they didn’t tell me.

Would it have made a difference?

Maybe. Maybe not.

I would have known that there was something, even if I didn’t believe, I would have known.

I would have had the ability to consent, knowing, instead of consenting with no knowledge whatsoever, thinking everything was peachy-keen.

Until it wasn’t.

One of the greatest hurts of my life was finding out that someone I loved and trusted did not want to carry tales, when knowing what they knew when they knew could have saved me, could have saved my partner at the time…

Or maybe it wouldn’t have made a difference.

But I would have known.

So, what is the answer?

I don’t know, definitively. I know that different people feel differently. I tend to approach it like this:

“Hey, I know something about this person that you may not know. You may want to know it, you may not. It could be considered negative. Would you like me to tell you, even though it’s just [my experience/something I’ve heard/possibly ancient history]?”

Then, they can consent or not. If they do not, I simply say, “Ok. If you ever change your mind, I’m happy to share.”

What do you do? Do you always want to know or do you prefer that they keep it to themselves, so you can form your own opinion from their current words and actions?