I’m always loathe to use the phrase “coming out” to refer to things that aren’t actually, you know, coming out.

It feels very appropriating, especially when used in the context of a kink or fetish rather than a physical condition — the reality is that wearing diapers for fun and plewp_e, while not exactly socially approved, is certainly not the same sort of uphill struggle that open homosexuality has historically been.

But all that said, there usually are times when a diaper lover or an adult baby needs to let someone who’s not part of the “scene” know about his or her predilections, and that can be a tough, awkward conversation.

Here’s what I’ve learned from my years of wearing diapers:

1. Be Honest with Yourself about Who Needs to Know

A rule of thumb that has always served me well is this: if it will require specific effort to hide my diaper-wearing from an individual, I’m better off telling that individual.

That’s both courtesy to them (honesty = good) and less mental stress for you (deception = work). You don’t want to have to be constantly worrying that you’ve left a used diaper somewhere, or that your stash will be discovered, or that a bit of plastic will poke out of your waistband at the wrong moment. It just wears you down and makes you feel awful.

So take a good stock of the people in your life who are going to find out anyway, and who might be affected by it. Your co-workers don’t all need to know, for example, since it doesn’t have much impact on them, but you probably want to discreetly inform your boss so that he or she is prepared in advance if anyone does notice and is rude enough to mention it “up the chain.”

Similarly, anyone you’re sharing a house with — parents, roommates, spouses, whatever — definitely needs to know. You’re sharing bathrooms, trash cans, and other real, practical things that your diaper-wearing affects.

Make your own calls — but make them honestly. Don’t try to wriggle out by telling yourself that so-and-so probably won’t ever notice. If you’re in their life a lot, or vice versa, they should probably be in the loop.

2. Don’t Make a Show of It

People respond to cues. If you call everyone together and tell them you have a shocking revelation that might upset them, they’re going to be primed to be upset. Avoid the “family meeting” or “relationship counseling” sort of solemn-faced, grim-voiced scenario.

Instead, just pull the person you need to tell quietly aside during some everyday interaction and say “Hey, let me grab you for a moment.”

Then, lead off with “This isn’t really a big deal, but I thought you should probably know…” and segue into your explanation. Treat it with a little gentle humility, but don’t act like you’re letting them in on a huge, life-changing secret. You’re really not.

The more ordinary you make your explanation, the more likely it is that your listener will accept your diaper wearing as just that — ordinary.

3. Avoid Detailed Explanations

You don’t have to tell everyone your motivation for wearing diapers. In fact, if the motivation is primarily sexual, it’s pretty rude to. They don’t want to hear that, any more than you want to know what gets their naughty bits tingling!

A good explanation should go something like “Since you’re going to be seeing me around a lot anyway, I just thought you should know: I wear diapers, and they do show from time to time. Don’t be shocked if my pants look a little thick or I’ve got some plastic sticking out over my waistband or whatever.”

They may ask “why,” though most people won’t. Even then you’re allowed to keep it vague: “It’s something I’ve needed to do for a while now. I’m not getting sick or anything, I just need diapers under my clothing.”

Avoid getting into nuances of medical conditions, incontinence, psychological issues, or anything else along those lines. “I need them and I wear them” is more than enough.

And that’s all there is to it — it’s not always a fun conversation to have, and it can be especially hard with family members, but at the end of the day it takes about fifteen minutes of mild embarrassment  Compare that to the hurt feelings that will inevitably occur if someone finds out and realizes that you didn’t trust him or her with the information, and it’s well worth the brief awkwardness.