In The Closet – We Learn To Eroticize Secrecy


In The Closet, featured on, written by Finn Deerhart. Full version here.

As we first began to notice that we were attracted to men, many of us gay guys had little choice but to hide those desires from everyone in our outside worlds. We lived fearfully in secret compartments. Coming out of the closet, no matter how easy or difficult, occurs in stages, layers, like breath. I believe I am still coming out all the time, finding ways to integrate my sexuality into my authentically principled ways of being a gay man.  

So much of our formative sexual experiences were secrets, sneaking little pieces of our truths whenever we could scavenge them. We hoarded them inside our minds. We may have made an internal racket of strife while, outwardly, we suffered under the silence of shame. If you are like me, you got really good at being sneaky—casting stealthy sideways glances in a locker rooms or saunas, spying on our brothers or friends, interpreting silent “welcome” signals in public restrooms, covering our tracks, often longing for connection amidst a teeming social network that could not celebrate our truths with us. Consent was not really something we knew how to understand, much less talk about.

When we live in the closet, we learn to keep our desires hidden, even from our own selves. We might have sculpted a sexual appetite for anonymity, for games that express how it felt to spy and keep secrets. Owning our desires to be secretive and practicing them in healing ways can really turn us on and help us find meaning in our fantasies. To some, it can be so exciting to imagine our boyfriends getting fucked by other men. We may fantasize about being cheated on. We might enjoy the shock of our partners’ secret longings even if they are difficult for us to accept. Cuckolding fantasies and scenes are increasingly circulating in queer communities. As, together, we heal and open, we can claim pleasure in celebrating the individual and collective paths we have taken in order to come out into the open. Since we have always been on the margins of our culture, we are also better positioned  to be more openly expressive our sexual shadows in dynamic ways!

This scene can be a really fun role play with boyfriends, fuck buddies, partners, or even in the privacy of your own minds as we self-pleasure! When we consciously engage with these parts of ourselves and our personal stories, we can have fun in a way that respects the boundaries and wishes of everyone involved. Consent is a way of being. 

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