SWIPE-Waukesha – Recap of “The Darkest Corners: Shame & Kink” – Sept 27

WAUKESHA, Wisc. – Thank you to everyone who came out to the SWIPE-Waukesha discussion on “The Darkest Corners: Shame & Kink” on Sunday, September 27th! Thank you to @barefootgal for facilitating this lively and heartfelt discussion.

Thanks to everyone who shared their personal stories! Those stories are really what make the meetings worth coming to along with the laughter and camaraderie! We will not recount the personal stories here. Thanks to @girlofmyst for taking notes! If some key points of the discussion were missed or you want to add some additional thoughts, please feel free to do.

Additional Resources –

  • Brene Brown TED Talks:


  • Shame Resiliency:

Building Your Resilience to Shame
Brene Brown ITIWJ reading guide
Brene Brown GOI Work Reader

  • Books

Healing the Shame That Binds You – John Bradshaw
Shame and Guilt: Masters of Disguise – Jane Middleton-Moz
Letting Go of Shame – Ronald Potter-Effron
— Any book by Brene Brown

“Shame is like masturbation … if you say you don’t do it, you are lying.”

What Is Shame?

  • Self-loathing – in your head you loath yourself.
  • When you are bad even though you have not actually done anything wrong.
  • Shame is the ”absence of fertile ground”.
  • The opposite of hope.
  • Takes away the distinction between actions and self.
  • Objectifying the bad feelings.
  • The feeling that results from enjoying something that you were taught is wrong (example: hitting my wife is wrong…. But she enjoys it).
  • The result of not being able to talk about what you enjoy.

Where Does Shame Come From?

  • “Should” messages can cause shame (example: woman should be strong but being a sub makes them weak).
  • Labels can cause shame (example: subs are labeled weak; Doms are labeled evil).
  • Is public opinion the cause of shame or is our cautious reactions to public opinion the cause of shame?
  • Shame comes from the constraints society puts on you.
  • Shame is thrust upon us by our environment.
  • Living up to the ‘labels’ can cause shame.
  • The misinformation on the internet can feed shame.
  • The more taboo the higher likelihood for shame.

Is It Worth It To Disclose What We Feel Shameful About?

  • You need to assess the sharing of information – does it change the situation if you share?
  • Does the non-disclosure feed the shame cycle?
  • How we disclose is extremely important.
  • You are in the light, but you are choosing to share the light by disclosing. You might be scared that the light at the end of the tunnel of shame might be a train instead of the end of the tunnel.
  • We perpetuate the negative views society has by keeping our secret and not disclosing.
  • Some people don’t disclose because they know that the people they are talking to won’t understand.
  • Putting up the “I won’t tell anyone” wall is extremely hurtful and feeds shame.
  • Some people will tell their kids about their lifestyle to feel less, or no, shame. Other people will not tell their kids because of shame.

Feminism, Kink, and Shame:

  • Kink and feminism have a difficult relationship.
  • Poly and gay are seen by society as less shameful than BDSM.
  • Submission is not weakness, rather a choice.

Labels and Shame:

  • Does shame come from putting someone in boxes/labeling them?
  • Putting people in boxes happens in every community.
  • Labels are what you make them.
  • It goes back to not living up to other people’s/society’s expectations, and by not living up to these expectations it results in shame.
  • Don’t assign labels to people because people are fluid.

Why Do We Have Such Difficulty Dealing With Shame?

  • Shame and grief are simply not taught when we are young.
  • Basic emotions are taught: mad, sad, glad, and afraid.
  • Because we didn’t learn beyond the basics, we don’t know how to deal with more complex emotions like shame.
  • People want shame to be tangible so they can get rid of it, but even getting rid of this object doesn’t get rid of the shame. At its core, shame is about our likes (feelings) not things (objects).
  • Are we ok with the things we do even when society doesn’t like them? Some say yes, some say no.
  • In your mind, the voices are louder and more negative than reality.

Dealing With and Overcoming Shame

  • It might make it easier to share your thoughts with others. Find like-minded first.
  • The voices get quiet when you identify that it is shame.
  • You need to identify your feelings “I feel ____” – use grown up words.
  • People can help by listening; we muddy the waters by trying to fix.
  • Shame fades with acceptance; grows with lack of trust.
  • Look yourself in the eyes and say “I matter”.
  • You need other people, empathetic people, to help talk louder than the voices in your head.
  • Know that you are not alone.
  • Get in your head with the right voices (mindfulness).
  • To have self-esteem/self-worth it has nothing to do with arrogance but helps us with positivity.

Our next Waukesha meeting – Sunday, October 25th @ 6:30pm – Labels – What do you call yourself? What do you call your relationship(s)? What do they mean to you? How do you describe yourself or your relationship to others?

Our next Madison meeting – Friday, November 13th @ 7pm – Back by popular demand – D/s and Illness/Disability – How do you experience D/s or kink when you are ill or disabled? Whether a short-term illness or disability, what did you learn to do differently to be successful in your D/s relationship? What did you do differently to play?