There are a few reasons why someone might want to engage in discrete public displays of kink. While everyone wants to be authentic in their sexual identities, some might be concerned with offending the sensibilities of non-kinksters or afraid of triggering negative reactions. Kink-identifying people might be more concerned with social shaming and retaliation from members of the community, friends or family. Sometimes it’s just fun to have a private secret between you and your partner(s). It facilitates a certain kind of closeness and bonding that can result in that rush of adrenaline, dopamine and oxytocin - the brain chemicals of pleasure and love. It's fun sometimes to have a secret handshake.

There are also two approaches to sneaking your kink. One is short term, and centers around the thrill of stepping up to the line of breaking social agreements for public decency. Like, wearing butt plugs or other toys under your clothes. The other approach is long-term, deep undercover kink. These include the subtle behaviors and symbols kinksters use when power exchange dynamics are more permanently established as identities, like wearing a collar masked as a necklace instead of a wedding ring.

Whatever the reason for subverting your subversions of hetero-normalcy, there are endless creative options to satiate your need for kink without fogging up people’s monocles in that fancy shmancy restaurant or making it through yet another family holiday without your sister freaking out about your relationship dynamics. If you like playing with the boundaries of social decency, psychological play, and exhibitionism, covert kink should be on your short list.

Here are a few ways to subvert the status quo with covert kink:

Wear Toys Under Your Clothes

Wearing things under attire appropriate for the occasion is a common kinkster favorite. It can also be about what you're not wearing under your clothing. There are a wide variety of plugs that could be worn by all genders for a few hours with the right preparation. Some of them come with remote controls that your partner can hold and use to summon you from the other room at a party, and make everyone think they can summon you with their mind. Please try this, and never tell your friends. (Read: App-Controlled Sex Toys: A Fun, Modern Twist on Sex Play.)

Wear a Rope Harness

Risk-aware kink requires some study. It’s both an art and a skill. YouTube, or a workshop in your local kink community, can show you how to safely tie a chest harness around your submissive/bottom. The material the rope is made of can be like the difference between wearing a wool turtleneck and a silk nightgown. From hemp to silk, there’s a wide variety of ways to get creative with texture and sensations. Part of the fun of this kink is putting it on and taking it off. The slow drag of rough rope against tender skin can be a real turn-on. After a trip to the grocery store, the tension that has built up from the sensation and secret, the gentle hug of the rope around your chest ... Personally, this kink has induced the calm feeling of belonging. I'm wrapped safely, like a gift, like candy my Dominant will giddily open later - and eat greedily.

Wear a Collar

People who identify sexually as kinksters often wear collars in the same way others might wear a wedding ring. It’s a symbol of commitment and ownership, much like a wedding ring. There are many collars available. There are black leather collars. There are chokers. I like stainless steel, a single ring that locks in the back. If you’re wanting to wear a collar long-term and not alert non-kinksters, I would go more silver ring, and less studded leather. I’ve also worn a cat collar at dinner. Take a second walk down pet aisle with covert kink in mind. It’s often a less expensive. Also the whole kitten/Owner dynamic is super cute, but I have a heart for puppies. Rawr. (Read: The Importance of Collars in BDSM.)

Wear Panties..or Not

Depending on your gender and anatomy, your choice of underwear - or lack thereof - can be a real kink. A submissive and Dominant could negotiate a movie night in which a usually feminine presenting submissive wears tighty whities, or a masculine presenting person wears a lacy g-string.

At Your Heel

A submissive could negotiate that their Dominant attempt to keep them one step behind, and often, a little to the right - historically, the side of favor. If the submissive has social anxieties and wants a buffer between them and other people in public, this “secret handshake” kink can feel therapeutic. Especially if the both the Dominant and the submissive understand the “right hand of favor” aspect that can make this maneuver seem so chivalrous, it can really empower a submissive to feel confident in their purpose and place, while assuring the Dominant their help is always at hand.

Kinky Hand Holding

Alternatively, if a Dominant's submissive wasn’t walking a step behind, they could be holding the submissive by the wrist, allowing to sense their sub's pulse quicken; or by the back of the neck, forcing them to lift their chin to the room proudly; or guiding them a step ahead by the lower back, a move spilled over from “gentlemanly” acts of prior decades. In kink culture, gender roles matter less than power exchange roles. Any gender can be a “gentleman.”

Speech

I might have trouble with this one, but I had a Dominant friend who restricted the speech of their submissive during a party, so that the submissive had to find other ways to communicate. The Dominant confessed that besides mild consensual torture of his submissive, they also wanted to test their own knowledge of their submissive’s preferences. My friend explained that since their submissive could not ask for a drink or food, the Dominant made it their responsibility to know how to care for the submissive without the submissive needing to ask for anything. Sweet and harsh!

Touchdown Spanks

It’s sports day. The teams are sporting. Sports people are moving balls across lines and sporting their sporting hearts out. Our Dominant would like to enjoy the game and snacks with their submissives and all of our friends. Our submissives would love to be barefoot in the kitchen slaving over a crock pot making those snacks. Our submissives will not watch sports consensually. The submissives and Dominants negotiate before the guests arrive that each submissive will receive five spankings (or other impact play) for each touchdown the opposing sporting team scores. If your friend starts getting suspicious why you’re suddenly so interested in the defensive line, you might get found out. Otherwise, this is a pretty fun, innocuous, and covert, kink. Eventually, one is deemed champion sporter, and we cheer for spanks!

Trigger Words

Think of this like the drinking game of kinks. Imagine this. You’re at a restaurant and the waitress has come by every five minutes while you’re explaining to your Dominant why free education will prevent the establishment from using the lower class like cannon fodder in endless capitalist wars or, you know, whatever. Anyway, if the waitress says, “You’ens want more coffee?” one more time, you think you might jam a spoon into your submissive little earhole. So, in the few minutes you have alone to speak, you and your Dom negotiate that for every time the waitress says “You’ens,” you’ll take off an item of clothing. Or mention to her that you write bad erotica. Or whatever personalized twist you agree on to make the moment special and intimate between you, if not slightly blush inducing.

Movement Restriction

A submissive and Dominant could also negotiate that movement in space is restricted. Negotiate no bathroom, and get a sly smile watching the submissive squirm, and squeeze their thighs. As another example of responsible, ethical Dominance using covert kink: if the Dominant knew their submissive was scared of heights, they could ask that the submissive refuse to let friends pressure them to go on roller coasts at the theme park. “No heights today. That’s an order.” Giving a person permission to say no can be incredibly empowering.

There are many ways that you can work some not-so-obvious kinky fun in for otherwise mundane, everyday events. Happy playing!