The Secret Society
A philosophical introduction to a collection of short stories that explore desire and consent in a nonjudgmental manner.
There is a world hidden from most people: one that, in order to see it, you must kill your ego, withhold judgment, let go of notions of what you believe is right and wrong, and understand that there is a difference between amoral and immoral behavior, and in this Secret Society that exists within a hidden world, the line that makes that differentiation is consent.
One that comes after extensive negotiation; a consent that acknowledges everyone in this hidden world has agency; no one is powerless; even those who identify as submissive (Subs) do so with the understanding that their power is on par with that of a dominant (Doms). Those who exist in this hidden world will communicate their submissiveness or dominance through body language and/or tone of voice, rather than making declarations, indicating that they are not a part of this world.
It is also important to recognize that with this consent should come an understanding of its limitations, which are not bound by ideas of amoral versus immoral or right versus wrong. The limitations are understood by possessing the most essential skill of understanding body language: that just as the words “yes” leave one’s mouth, their body—the way it moves—speaks the truth: no is no.
This understanding lies at the heart of what it is to have agency and serves as the foundation for personal power. As such, even if they say “yes” but their body says “no,” a member of the Secret Society understands that they must stop. They understand that the opposite is also true: even if the word “no” is said, if their body says “yes”—the way they’re playfully smiling, the opening of welcoming arms, their sparking eyes that flicker—then there is permission to keep going1.
And to believe that they don’t have that, especially with women, is to imply that they are children with no agency or understanding of what they’re communicating, both through words and body language, which, to me, is misogynistic.
“Square” people in the conventional “Vanilla” world would label this as problematic, but these same people are also declaring they could never be a part of this Secret Society because they lack sexual experience; they don’t understand human nature, especially among women who are most at risk of being judged, which could lead to gossip and the destruction of their reputations, and in worst-case scenarios, lead to violence at the hands of closed-minded partners. Women need plausible deniability in order to express their desires fully and healthily with partners who have the skill and capacity to live and function in this Secret Society. This way, they would feel safe.
The first rule of the Secret Society is that you don’t talk about it unless, like me, you want to write interesting stories that present a different view of the world than Vanilla notions while conveying the philosophy at the heart of it all; otherwise, I wouldn’t be talking about it. I would remain in the shadows, naturally drawn to and attracting others who share my vision of the hidden world and are happy members of this Secret Society.
And after talking with a number of young people over the years who have struggled with depression as a result of their fears of being shamed for the healthy expression of their sexual proclivities, I realized it was time to provide some insight, based on my own personal experiences, to help them navigate the labyrinth of their complex desires and cravings that bubble up from deep within.
I want to share my insights, not in the way a philosopher would with abstract, passive language, but as a novelist who shows concepts in action—how shame is used by people who, because of their anti-seductive tendencies or their inability to see beyond themselves, can never be a part of this secret society. Hence, the need to kill the ego and the idiotic need to be right, which can make one come off as pedantic, the absolute opposite of seductive. Squares must not be so quick to label things that don’t serve them or the Group Think as “toxic” or “problematic.”
The stories are also meant to ask the questions that need to be asked and explored, such as:
Assumptions about consent.
Interpretation of Non-Verbal Cues: How much of this is relative and subject to interpretation?
Nuances of Agency: The constant defining of ethical boundaries, and who does the definition serve? The people within the dynamic, or those outside of it? Those who are unable to be a part of the Secret Society will try to destroy what they refuse to understand by wielding shame through the quick labeling of consenting adults as “toxic” or “problematic.”
Redefining Infidelity: In the Secret Society, there’s no such thing as cheating as long as there’s permission or an understanding in place (which includes discretion, tact, and understanding not to rub it in your partner’s face).
Here’s a list of short stories I’ve written so far that will eventually be published through my publishing company, Marfa Lights Press:
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Author’s note: My target audience is comprised of adults who understand nuance and would not need to be reminded “not to eat paint,” meaning I’m not writing for the lowest common denominator. I am grateful for your capacity for understanding nuance as well as your continued support, and I thank you for making the choice to read this post.