I think that everyone who has strayed outside the bounds of “normal” sexuality has had to deal with shame at some point. I certainly have, especially early-on, as I was learning to accept myself as a dominant.
Exploring one's own BDSM sexuality for the first time can be fraught with pitfalls. Often, something will feel great in the moment, but hours or days afterward, there will be a shame spike – a horrible feeling of ‘I’m a bad person because I liked doing this deviant thing.’
Shame can be a very powerful and corrosive force. My personal definition of ‘shame’ is that it is believing you are a bad thing. Shame is very different from ‘guilt’, which is believing that you did a bad thing. Part of the problem with shame is that it can feel very painful, so people will do some fairly insane and horrific things to transfer their sense of shame onto someone else.
The ridiculous thing in all of this is that all shame is based on a lie. Nobody is a fundamentally bad person, certainly not in the sense that we all feel when we are struggling with a powerful sense of personal shame. I believe that shame and guilt are human evolutionary social mechanisms for reinforcing behavior that is beneficial to the group. As such, shame and guilt can be useful. The problem is that we humans are too smart and complex, so we twist this stuff up and tie it into knots.
The simplest way I know of cutting through these knots of shame is to simply speak the truth. That's what's great about finding friends at a munch. If you have a friend who shares your BDSM interest, then you can give that friend a call and say, “I really love it when my partner and I do ______” Anybody who is in BDSM is going to say, “That's awesome!” Then, poof! The shame disappears. Shame simply does not survive in the light of day, because the underlying lie is revealed.
Guilt, on the other hand, survives the light of day, because doing a bad thing that hurts other people is real. Hopefully, an apology or some more substantial way of making amends is sufficient to repair the damage.
The key is knowing, ‘did I really hurt someone, or did I simply break a societal rule’? If you’re not certain whether or not you hurt another person, ask them. If they say, ‘no, I really liked it,’ then what you’re feeling is shame, not guilt. Talk about it with them or with another friend you trust. Shame does not survive exposure to truth – I strongly believe that simply liking a different form of sexuality does not turn someone into a bad person.