Which way is it: You discover the world around you and learn language to describe it; or you learn language that allows you to define the world around you? In other words, is the world neutral and experienced universally? Or is it our language that allows us to understand our environment?
According to the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis, it is our language that allows us to understand the world around us. Language is so embedded in our consciousness that it is virtually impossible to think of anything and not put a name to it. In fact, one of the reasons why people often struggle with abstract artwork is that it cannot be adequately described as a thing...it is a concoction of colors or angles or whatever. We need a name for a thing to be able to adequately place it in our mind and manipulate it.
Obviously, things exist prior to our linguistic education. If you didn't know the word for "tree" there would still be millions of trees. But to you, they would just be "things that come up from the ground and make shade." If you wanted to give directions, you'd tell someone "Go down to that big thing sticking up from the ground that makes a lot of shade and turn left." Perhaps they would understand what you meant, but perhaps they would think you meant a building or a street sign or a swing-set.
Once you understand "tree," however, things are different. You can not only differentiate between what is tree and what is not tree, but what different types of trees have in common and how they vary. You could even become a tree expert, and pontificate about the proper uses of trees. You might even become the Lorax, and speak for the trees, the trees, the Truffula trees.
It wouldn't change the nature of the tree one bit. Being called a tree or a birch or an elm or whatever - even if it is a misnaming - doesn't have any impact at all. From the tree's perspective (if it has one - let's say it does), it is just being what it has always been.
So I can say that I am a submissive man with slightly masochistic tendencies. I believe I always have been, but I didn't have the terminology to describe it properly for quite a long time. Even when I gained the terminology, I misnamed myself. But now I know who and what I am and I'm comfortable with it - but to me, it is simply normal. This is how I am. Only the names have changed.
There are a lot of reasons why I misidentified my sexual identity. For one thing, I grew up in a household where sex, of any kind, just wasn't discussed. It was a dirty, filthy, disgusting act that should be saved for the one I loved more than anyone in the universe (except Jesus, of course, who, presumably, got sad when I got an erection, and burst into sobs of grief when I orgasmed).
Even when I got away from that thinking, I was still caught up in the traditional role processes of what is good and proper for a male. So...come up with three good examples of a submissive man in literature, movies, or popular culture where the man is also strong, kind, and fully capable of handling life (Sorry - the "knights of old" weren't submissive to women...they typically swore allegiance to a man, and women were simply property. I'm also going to say that "being a gentleman" is not enough to qualify as "submissive" because manners does not equal orientation.)
So I stumbled into BDSM through porn...where submissive men are simply not portrayed as anything to which I'd aspire to. Part of the problem, of course, is that porn is basically meant to provide visual and auditory stimulation so a person can have an orgasm. It isn't meant to have a plot (other than to explain why these people discovered each other) and it doesn't delve into the contextual complexities that real-live relationships have to (this is as true of "vanilla" porn as it is of BDSM, too).
The upshot of this is that while I now know the lingo to describe my orientation and desires, that language merely describes me; it does not define me. So people with whom I have relationships with where displaying submissiveness would be inappropriate simply have no clue that I am submissive. Why would they? Before I knew I am "kinky" I didn't tell my friends and family when and how I had sex...why would I do that now? I didn't go to sexy parties before I learned the lingo, so why would I go now?
I write about being a submissive man because I realize there are something like seven billion people on earth, and if only one percent of them are submissive males; then there are at least seventy million submissive men out there. From what I can tell, there are precious few role models for them to draw on. There are too many self-destructive paths. Maybe a few of those seventy million will page through Google far enough to find this and say, "Hey, that's the lingo I've been looking for! I'm not a total freak and an asshole and a threat to those around me!"
Because, you see, it isn't a question of being both "kinky" and "normal" - at least not to me. It's a realization that kinky IS normal...and that doesn't change a thing.