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To Expose or Not to Expose?

December 18, 2009

In theatre, too much exposition is a sign of a bad play. It takes you out of the moment, out of the experience, and makes you aware that what you are watching is not “real”, but staged. When telling a story, you have to set up some boundaries, you have to set up a context so the audience will understand what it happening, but it should be intuitive. A good playwright will show the audience instead of telling the audience about the characters that are unfolding in front of their eyes.

I think the same can be said about the ways in which we choose to communicate with others in our daily lives. It is especially true when meeting someone for the first time, whether you’re on a first date, making a new friend or even on a job interview, you suddenly become aware of what you should and how much you should reveal about yourself. 

Laura Roberts, fellow blogger and editor-in-chief of Black Heart Magazine, recently (uh, back in September, that’s recent, right?) wrote about a similar topic on her personal blog Button Tapper. The article in question, Don Draper vs Anaïs Nin on blogging, transparency and trust, posed some interesting questions regarding how much a person should expose about themselves, using the mystery that is Don Draper versus the open diary that is Anaïs Nin as a backdrop for questions about self-exposure. 

I know a lot of you (dear readers) are also bloggers, quite of few of you from the sex blogging community and as far as the subject of sex and sexuality is concerned many of us in this field are pretty comfortable with self-exposure. It goes with the territory. There are people that consider the exposition of such private subjects crass in its nature and there are those that would consider that to hold such a view is a sign of repression. Luckily most people aren’t set in one camp or another, but instead feel out each communication and situation as it arises, making the choice of just how much to reveal as they go along. 

This is what I was thinking about while eating breakfast this morning and I would be really interested in knowing what you all think about it. How much are you willing to expose (sexually, physically,  mentally, emotionally) about yourself to each new person in your life? How much are you willing to be exposed to? In the end, how much about yourself do you reveal and what do you want to know about each person you interact with? And how does this relate to your lives, public and private, and how you relate to yourself as an individual? 

5 Comments leave one →
  1. blackdove permalink
    December 18, 2009 7:32 pm

    It’s funny, I’ve been thinking about this very thing recently. I find that while I expose a LOT of myself (shit, I have “porn Fridays” on my blog), there’s really nothing personal on there. If you were to read it, you might disagree, because it all seems very personal, but really, people can read my blog all day long and still know nothing about me. It’s interesting.

    My “Is that all there is?” post is the closest I’ve come to really being open, and another blog like that is coming, because my boyfriend (#2) and I just broke up, and I wanna talk about it. As a primarily “poly” writer I think it’s fair that my readers know the whole story, so it’s pushing me into new “exposure” territory. It’s scary, I prefer to remain relatively elusive, but how does one do that while trying to develop an audience?

  2. December 18, 2009 8:03 pm

    See, that’s why I find this so interesting…There are several different levels of exposure and although, like you said, you expose a lot of yourself (in a way) on your blog an entire other side of you is still kept private.

    Different people find different aspects more difficult to expose while others are do so with relative ease. And depending on the medium used to express yourself or to whom you are expressing yourself your comfort zones change all over again. I find that fascinating.

  3. December 18, 2009 9:10 pm

    In my blogs I’m often quite personal, especially in my sex and BDSM blog The Musings of a Cougar. Almost all the posts there relate to my own experiences. The latest post might have been a bit too private to share. In my blog Gender Switch I try to be less personal, but in the posts that concerns my M2F transitions I naturally become more private.

    Besides being a function of the blogs nature there is also a smidgeon of reason behind it. The readers of a sex/BDSM blog are hopefully there because the subject interest them. And if they in some other context tries to use my openness against me and talk about immorality and smut I simply ask them why they were reading the blog in the first place. So in that blog I don’t think about protecting myself or the readers.

    The other blog is supposed to be about my transition and also about gender and lesbian issues in general. Sometimes a story finds it way there or a recollection of club nights. As it’s a blog with a broader target audience I try to keep the BDSM and more explicit sex postings in the appropriate blog. Partly because that’s not what the readers want in that blog and partly because I don’t want people with closed or dirty minds get an insight in my sex life, past and present.

  4. December 18, 2009 9:35 pm

    That makes sense. I’m relatively new to this whole ball game (Cuntlove has been up for three months now) and so far I’ve been lucky in terms of receiving any negative backlash, which is to say that I haven’t received any at all…except for one person who questioned the reason that motivates people to be so explicit (and crass, to some) in such an open manner and even that question was valid and raised in a polite and civil manner. I keep waiting for the bomb to drop though…

    I post all of my links on facebook and twitter and at first, since I have a lot of family members on facebook, I had created a separate list and those people (family etc) didn’t have access to my links, but picking in choosing who in my life would have access to all of this was kind of tiresome and really the motives behind it all kind of bothered me. The reason, I wanted to keep it away from certain people was based on a fear of being judged, right? And then, I just decided the hell with it and laid it all out on the table for everyone to see. I try not to think about it too much or at least not let it affect what I choose to write about, but that’s not always so easy to maintain. There are two subjects in particular that I have not written about, precisely because I’m not comfortable with certain people knowing about it, which I find kind of limiting, but hopefully I’ll find a way to work through that.

    So far, I haven’t heard any negative comments from any of my friends or my relatives. The people closest to me have been really great supporters and as for the rest of the world, if anyone as had any issue with what I’m writing they certainly haven’t shared it with me.

    I try to function the same way in my day to day life, that is, being open and direct about things, and it seems to be working out FAIRLY well. I can live with that.

  5. naturegirl permalink
    December 24, 2009 9:51 am

    Interesting……I think blogs like this can empower people to be more open & frank.
    There are things I’ve experienced that only one very close friend is privy to (and Phil, my husband of course), I just would not want to talk about what I’ve done with ANY of my other friends or family!! However I feel perfectly able to discuss them here on Cuntlove & one or two other blogs I participate in, probably because there is an element of anonimity even though I have decided to show my face with my profile photo!
    I find revealing stuff about myself here quite cathartic sometimes, it also appeals to the exhibitionist streak in me. I can be something of a daredevil, so being open with the readers here is something I enjoy.
    Just keep up the good work!
    Happy festivities to everyone here.

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