I have a dear friend in my local lifestyle. She's the owner of a private BDSM dungeon. She's a master (she doesn't like the term 'mistress') with a devoted slave. She trains and mentors submissives. She bottoms with people she trusts. She's also a professional FemDom with clients who meet with her on a weekly basis. After 20-plus years in the lifestyle, she's as close to an “expert” as anyone – and even she learns something new from time to time.

To say I admire her is a major understatement. When she speaks, others listen. Sometimes they don't like what they hear, but they do listen.

And she really has very little patience for submissives who identify as “littles.” I won't say she hates them, but she doesn't love them.

Why? And why should one woman's opinion matter?

Because in my local area (a major hub of kinkdom as our area is home to Fetish Con and the Florida Power Exchange each year), the littles who hang out with other kinky people always seem to be “on.” And it makes people around them (some, not all) crazy.

  • They speak in baby talk at munches and other vanilla settings.
  • They bring sippy cups, coloring books, pacifiers, and blankets to vanilla settings.
  • They act little (or become little, if you prefer) without their caretaker/Dominant.
  • They complain about having to act big.

This is a problem for many and for good reason.

In a vanilla setting (a local restaurant, coffee shop, or even bar) where kinksters gather, someone else is there, too. Non-kinksters.

Being little in a public setting brings up the question of public consent. Do the people around you – apart from those who know you and understand your little side – consent to witnessing the public display of your kink?

Before you get upset and say that being a little is who you are, and you don't care what other people think (for which I applaud your bravery and backbone), let me remind you that the Daddy Dom/little girl dynamic – and any other gender variation of those roles – is absolutely part of BDSM, which makes it a kink, too. And it should be treated as a kink. I don't get flogged in the middle of Applebee's, and I don't kneel for my Dominant in IHOP. Behaving as a little – in a loud, overt way - isn't much different.

Being Little in Vanilla Settings

Baby talk, little “supplies” - cups, crayons, pacifiers – in vanilla settings mean you're bringing your kink to non-kinky locations. Which means that those who don't understand, approve, or like what you do are forced to witness something without giving their consent. You are also drawing attention to the kinky lifestyle in a way that may make the owners of the location uncomfortable.

Before you tell me that it's a free country and you should be able to do what you want, stop for a second. You are free to do what you want, but you are not free from the consequences of your actions. Consequences like being kicked out of a restaurant or confrontations with angry or confused patrons.

When you refuse to be big in a vanilla setting – especially in a group of fellow kinksters – you're not just outing yourself. You're outing the people around you, too. You've just taken away the entire group's right to privacy. Think about that the next time you head to a munch.

Being Big is Hard


You know what? You're right – being a grown up is damn hard. Really hard. Bills to pay, children to raise, dinner to cook, sick family members to help. I'd love to set it all to the side and sit around in pigtails and knee socks all day long. Sounds like heaven to me.

Reality is different. Just as submissives often have to take the reins of control in their career, with their children, and yes, even in their relationships, littles have to be big a lot of the time. Littles who refuse to act the part of responsible adults, demand to stay in little mode, and expect to be taken care of at all times may find that the rest of the world doesn't sympathize, including your fellow kinksters.

If you are fortunate enough to be in a relationship where your Dominant wants you to stay in little mode all the time and you're able to be around people who aren't uncomfortable with kink and fetish, great! I'm so happy for you.

The rest of us have to slip on the armor of being in control grown-ups. We also have to mix and mingle with the vanilla world without outing ourselves. Sure, we should all be free to enjoy BDSM with no repercussions, but the reality is this – people lose their jobs, their kids, and their loved ones over the fact that they're kinky. Privacy is paramount. Flying under the vanilla radar is crucial.

None of us live in a personal bubble. Wouldn't it be nice if we could? What you do affects other people. It freaks some people out. It annoys others.

I won't ever tell someone not to be who they are, but I will remind you that some things – like babytalk – are better left to the privacy of your own space or spaces apart from the vanilla world. You don't have to be little all the time, and frankly, you shouldn't be, either.

Some of you are probably shocked, appalled, and even a little offended that I'm reminding you to hide your kink from the public. I can almost hear you now. “Of course, I can't be little all the time. Of course, real life intervenes and you have to be big. Duh!”

This one isn't for you. It's for the dozens of (primarily) women I meet in real life and online that refuse to come out of little mode even when it's completely inappropriate and making people around them uncomfortable. I support everyone's right to be kinky. But there is a time and place for everything.