Consent – What Is It?

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As someone who enjoys BDSM there is an issue that I pay very close attention to; what is consent? What does it mean to consent to sexual activity, whether it’s BDSM or not. If someone kisses you, is that consent? If a woman is dressed sexy, is that consent? Some people claim there’s a lot of grey area and others say it’s black and white. I claim it’s a grey area that needs to be made black and white by the people involved.

The Government of Canada defines consent as “the voluntary agreement of the complainant to engage in the sexual activity in question. Conduct short of a voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity does not constitute consent as a matter of law.” It then goes on to break down this definition but what does it mean in our average sexual relations? Do we have to start getting our partners to sign a contract?

One person may interpret another’s actions very differently. A touch on the hand may mean “go for it” to one person but may just be a kind gesture to another. So when you’re trying to go out and get lucky, how do you know that the other person is into it? How can you be sure? Ask.

I know, I know. It’s not sexy to stop the flirting long enough to ask point blank if the person wants to fuck. It’s a necessary part of the process. However, the conversation doesn’t end there. What’s expected in your magical night of naked bouncy bounce also may have very different expectations on both parts. What about condoms? Rough sex okay? Maybe one of you wants to involve latex and a riding crop.

In BDSM this part of the conversation is called “negotiation.” If sleeping with this person is important to you, then taking this time won’t detract from the actual in and out event at all. It will add to the event by instilling a sense of trust in the other person, that they know your limits and you know theirs. You can relax and enjoy everything once it’s out of the way.

When you negotiate, be sure you’re clear about your expectations and needs. For myself, this means making sure the other person knows never to touch my neck and condoms are a must among other things. But what happens if someone breaks the rules?

For myself, I have two different kinds of rules. Ones that are hard and fast and others that are negotiable. Condoms and not touching my neck are two hard and fast rules. Whereas spanking is a negotiable rule. If someone breaks your hard and fast rule, play should end instantly. Those rules are there for a reason and they don’t have to understand or agree with them but they do have to respect those rules.

Before you go into a situation that may end up with nudity and orgasms, be sure you know what you want and expect. Then be sure you understand your partner as well. You cannot reasonably expect to be mature enough to have sex if you cannot express your desires and understand the desires of your partner or partners.

The last bit of negotiation advice is that you cannot give consent if you are intoxicated. This means if you’re drunk or stoned, you cannot give consent. Don’t drink and fuck is the lesson here. Besides, who wants to deal with whiskey dick, anyway? If your partner is drunk, your horny night will wait.

Consent can be an easy understanding between two or more people. If you’re not sure you have consent, ask or walk away. No still means no and it doesn’t mean keep trying. It means no. However, when two (or more) people say yes, a fun night can be had by all. Fuck responsibly.

BDSM Vs. Abuse

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Chain_BDSM_Corset_WristsLast week I was asked why I would want to be hit. I didn’t have to think about it. I like the sting of the slap on my ass. I like how it feels and the thrill it gives me. The person stared at me in horror and proceeded to threaten their spouse should they ever think to hit them. I wondered about the marriage in question if this person was so quick to threaten them but I said nothing. This person then got angry at me and told me I needed help and should seek psychiatric care and possibly medications. They then turned abusive to me and told me that there was something wrong with me.

I put the brakes on the conversation and asked why they were so angry. Self-righteously I was told that no woman ever wants to get hit. Hitting was abuse and that was that. The subject was so black and white for this person that I no longer talk to them. Which is sad because I truly did enjoy our conversations.

It got me to thinking, though. There is a very clear line between abuse and BDSM and most people don’t understand what it is. So I thought I’d devote this week’s blog to making that line a little clearer. I hope that by doing so more people will understand and, by understanding, they will be more willing to speak up against abuse.

  • Control – In an abusive relationship, the abuser removes all control from the victim. It’s a no-win situation that leads to learned helplessness. We’ve all asked, “why don’t they just leave?” The truth is they can’t. They’ve learned, over time, that no matter what action they take they will end up on the losing end. If you were in a situation that there was simply no happy ending for you, you’d curl up in a ball and give up, too.

    In BDSM, control is never taken from the other person without consent. There is an exchange of power and energy and that’s part of the appeal. As a sub or bottom, I can relinquish my control to my Dom or Top. I often tell people I kneel because I choose to not because I’m forced to. I know I have control even though I’ve given it over because I can always take it back again.

  • Safety – Abusers don’t care about their victim’s safety. Every year many abuse victims wind up in hospitals or the morgue because their abusers just didn’t give a fuck. Many victims suffer long-term damage from the abuse, both physical and emotional. This damage lasts years or is sometimes permanent. Yet, if you ask the abusers, they simply don’t care. Abusers will often launch into excuses as to why it was necessary or why they did it. At no time do they ever think about their victims.

    A Dom’s first concern is his sub’s safety. During a scene you’ll often hear a Dom asking, “are you doing all right?” or “is everything ok?” A Dom will often stop a scene even if his sub says they’re okay just because they’re concerned for safety issues. Good Doms will take time and effort to learn their craft. They talk to others and are very careful about what they’re doing. A whack across the bottom with a cane can be fun but it can do damage if you don’t know what you’re doing. Even a spanking with a hand can do damage if you don’t do it right. That’s why Doms are forever watching their subs and learning their craft.

  • Communication – Abusers don’t care what their victims have to say. As a matter of fact, they go to great lengths to shut them up and remove their voices. Secrecy is an abuser’s greatest weapon. Keeping things in the dark is their greatest ally and if their victims don’t talk, they don’t have to hear what a shithead they’re being. They’re not interested in what their victim has to say.

    Many subs are confident, assertive people outside a scene. They have no problem making their desires known and are very vocal about it. This is what many Doms say attracts them. When working a BDSM scene, it is vital that all participants know they will speak up if there’s a problem. BDSM is edgy play and that’s part of the appeal and the only way it works if everyone participates fully. Think of it like skydiving. It can be dangerous and fun if all the safety rules are followed. Part of that is making sure all the gear is in good working order, that everyone knows what they’re doing and no one does anything stupid. You respect the tools and your partners because it’s stupid and dangerous to do otherwise.

There is a big difference between abuse and BDSM. A little understanding of the difference might make people more willing to speak out against abuse and that can help stop it. BDSM can be fun if both parties take their roles seriously and understand what they need to ensure the experience is a safe and enjoyable one.

 

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