Some months ago, I caught a few minutes of a TV show called Great Canal Journeys [Ed: Doesn’t AM just live the most exciting of lives, Dear Reader!?] in which Timothy West and Prunella Scales explored the waterways of Manchester. Amongst their stops was, perhaps inevitably, Canal Street, the epicentre of gay culture in the city. Both being old-school actors, Tim and Pru have obviously know their share of closeted queens and queers, and mused on how it wasn’t so long ago that “Many men were forced to keep an important part of their lives secret.”

In these enlightened times, it’s not just the LGBTQ community that have benefited – just ask any woman who has sat in Starbucks in the last few years, her panties moistening as she devours tales of a middle aged banker tying up a young woman, beating her relentlessly, and shoving dildos up her arse. Suddenly we are all ok with the idea of women getting off on S&M.

Yet some of us are still firmly in the closet, and wouldn’t dream of outing ourselves.

I wouldn’t dream of telling my friends and family, let alone my Wife, that I’m a kinkster. That my sexuality is intertwined with wearing rubber (about which I seem to be obsessing a little at the moment), or ball stretchers, or chastity cages, or strap-ons, or g-strings, or male pubic waxing, or the online exhibitionism, or … Perversity is still not acceptable for some of us.

The truly perverse thing is, however, that if I were to announce to my Wife that I felt Canal Street was where I belonged, I am certain She would be infinitely more comfortable with the idea of me a sucking off or getting buggered by a rubber clad bear than the idea of sitting on my face or fucking my rubber clad arse herself.

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