Consent in BDSM in general

CONSENT in BDSM in general

Consent is one of your foundation blocks for BDSM. It is a very important concept for anyone to understand as well as to apply, regardless if you are participating in any BDSM related activities.
So for the next few articles, I am going to concentrate on the different ways consent is and can be applied in different scenarios. BUT it always has to be present.

Our first one is going to be just the basic idea of consent in BDSM itself and why it is so important.

You might have heard a lot about the following terms and will see it crop up time and time again on this website:
SSC: Safe, Sane and Consensual
RACK: Risk Aware Consensual Kink
PRICK: Personal Responsibility Informed Consensual Kink.

In all three these approaches you see that Consent is a very important part of it. Reason for it is simple. We want everyone that is taking part to be willing to take part and have fun. They need to be able to consent, not to be coerced into it, and that they do this of their own free will. Without the consent part what is happening is not consensual anymore and you are in fact abusing a person.

So how does consent look like? It takes many different forms as you get all sorts of different ways you can partake in BDSM. So one method of consent won’t always be the same method for all. But for today we are just going to look at the basic method of consent in a general situation.
For you to take part in any of the activities (regardless if it is just sex or kinky activities without sex or any combination of that):

1. You need to be able to consent: This means that you can’t be drunk, heavily medicated, under the influence of any substance that can alter your decision-making skills. It also means that emotionally you are in a place that you can consent.

Take BDSM itself out for a moment. Think of the following: You have someone that got completely drunk and passed out and you always wanted to do it with that person. Do you think it is okay to have sex with them?

What if this person is starting to come onto you? But they are just too drunk to really know what they are doing?

What if this person just broke up with someone close to them and they are extremely vulnerable?

Now some might argue that in some of these cases it is not black and white. But life is not black and white. It is just mostly shades of grey. But to get consent it NEEDS to be a bit clearer as there is almost more at stake and there can be very serious consequences on either side.
Without Consent, it is abuse.

2. You need to know what you are consenting to: This means knowing exactly what is involved for Tops or Bottoms. What is more or less on for play, and what is not.

It is easy to say you consented to sex but in the end, it landed in anal sex. And what one person thought they consenting to is completely different to what another person meant. This gets back to communicating. Clear communication in a way that all parties know exactly what they are consenting to. See articles on negotiating and the different methods you can use.

3. Agree on safewords: This is a way to make sure consent is always present. Both sides have safewords to either halt play for a bit (see safeword article on more) or to stop play. Use safety signals if you can't use safewords.

If you play without safewords you are getting in a bit more murkier water as you might overstep someone’s boundaries and you might go towards or over the line of not having consent anymore. So be safe and play with safewords.

4. Age of consent: Now this some might say is not part of basic consent and more an ethical or moral or even legal issue. But I am going to put it in here. Yes, some countries have a legal sex age limit but I think if we going to talk about BDSM you need to look even further. A lot of studies have shown that a brain is still developing at age 16 (legal age of a lot of countries) but even at age 20, some brains are still developing. You also still have to deal with a lot of hormone influxes to confuse the situation even more.

Studies have shown that teenagers are more impulsive can take more risks and not think of consequences, where other studies have shown it is less on risk-taking itself but the urgency to learn more about the world. Either way it is something to take under consideration. Different countries will have different age limits for sex or even have a different one for certain type of sexual activities. In regards to this article, I would highly recommend at least age 18. (and in some cases even 21). But always make sure that who you play with is the legal age of consent.

Watch out for the next article in the series of consent.

Quick overview of sub/Dom drop

To a non-BDSM person, the closest way to explain sub/Dom drop is as follows. You train hard for an endurance event. You take part it tires you out but you are happy as you cross the finish line. Sometimes a few min later sometimes the next day as the feel good hormones wear off you suddenly start feeling down as if wondering what is next. This is the same hormonal effect as sub/Dom drop. It does not mean the endurance event abused you. You went into it willingly. It is experienced by many top athletes especially if the season ends or they have an injury which prevents the what next. It is a body's natural high. So far from abuse. It is a well documented medical and psychological effect.

Hard and Soft limits

So you decided you interested to try and dip your toe into the Kinky world. You have seen a BDSM checklist and eagerly going through it to see which activities you might like to try.

Then you get that moment of WOOOOOW. What are all these terms and WHAT exactly do they mean? Then you see the word soft limit and hard limit? But what if you are really new and don’t really know what you would like or what you will not?

The first lesson to learn for today is: DO NOT under any circumstances reply to a potential Dominant that you as a submissive don’t have ANY limits. You will not scare someone away by saying (not the good ones anyway) that you are relatively new and don’t know exactly what your limits are.

So let's get into the nitty-gritty of what exactly we mean by a Hard and Soft Limit.

The hard limit is those activities that are a definite no. You do not want to do it or negotiate it. You might have specific reasons for not wanting it or just outright not like it.

Soft limits can be placed in two categories. First one is activities you have tried in the past but really did not enjoy but with the right partner will give it another go. But it is not an outright automatic yes.

The second one is an activity you haven't tried before but are very unsure about, but you might be willing to negotiate or at least talk about in the future with the right Dominant or in the right circumstances. So it's not an outright no but it is not something you are going to do on a first play scene with someone. It might be an activity that requires you to trust the Dominant a bit more. And that level of trust can only come with time.

Now another thing to remember, limits can change. Things you had on a hard limit list might change to soft or even a play activity. As you get involved with the kink community you might observe a few scenes with the said activity that peaks your interest. Or as you explore your own boundaries you might see that over time they stretch and expand.

You can have different limits with different play partners. Some people might have a higher skill level in certain areas and you might say do a shibari scene with them but with everyone else, Shibari ropework is a hard limit.

This is where the personal responsibility for setting limits come in. You are in charge of setting the limits for yourself and it is something that should be respected. The breach of a hard limit is a serious thing and can end relationships. Please walk away from any Dominant that says a “true submissive has no limits except those of the Dominant.”

Now so far I have spoken about hard and soft limits from a submissives point of view (as I am a submissive), however, Dominants have hard and soft limits as well. Certain activities they would not do at all as well as those ones that they might be willing to negotiate on, in the right circumstances.

Moc will be doing an article on how a Dominant (after some time has passed) might start pushing or negotiating on soft limits with a submissive, and no it's not just to steamroll right over your submissive either.

BDSM

BDSM, In short, it stands for B/D: Bondage and Discipline D/S: Dominant and Submissive S/M for Sadist and Masochist.

One of the strongest foundations for BDSM is consent and safety of all parties concerned. You will hear words like SSC (safe, sane and consensual) and RACK (Risk-aware, consensual kink) thrown a lot around.

Regardless if you eventually identify as a bottom or Top, or the occasional dip your toes in BDSM on either side, or a submissive/Dominant that want to base either their whole sexual side on this or even your relationship. There is a place for you to experience this and be part of a wonderful world of kinksters.

So for the moment, don’t concentrate on too many of the titles or definitions or labels people identify with and just be openminded and respectful.

One thing I can say is that the way YOU experience BDSM would be as unique as you are. There are lots of guidelines and recommendations but it is generally to keep everyone safe while taking part in some activities that have some inherent risk to them. But it is a lifestyle that is allowing you to be you.

So show me a hundred couples involved in BDSM and I will show you a hundred ways you can do it. (You don't have to be a couple to be a part of this kind of lifestyle either)

Opinions and communication

I scrolled back in a KIK chat this morning and a saw a very interesting conversation. I don't often get involved in squabbles, however, I do think in this particular case I need to express my view and concern. I also think this conversation holds a valuable lesson so I am going to be using this as an educating session. As this is a public post I will be anonymizing the names.

It took part between 3 people discussing how hard communication in BSDM is. One person had the view it was easy and that they have discovered they are more in an open relationship. The other two are in poly relationships and were expressing the point that is is not always easy. However one of these parties even took offence to the relaxed attitude of this person towards BDSM not recognizing the hard yards put in by the others.

I have also seen the viewpoint of some people opinions are wrong been branded about in past chats. Yes, I lurk sometimes too. First off all of these people chatting are relatively new to the BDSM lifestyle from a few years to a few months. Now that the background has been set let me express my opinion after nearly 15 years as a Dom.

First and foremost, everyone has an opinion and everyone is entitled to their opinion. You may not agree with the their opinion this however you are free to discuss differences of opinions, however, this at no point means anyone's opinion is less valid than your opinion. I know the case of Hitler often pop's up and yes he was entitled to his opinions however that went from opinion to hate speech and that is an entirely different topic.

Within BDSM communication is key. If we can't express our opinions and talk about them rationally then we need to work on ourselves to be able to get to this point. Yes, that is hard work. Even our partner's and play partners may have different opinions which means guess what hard work and often difficult discussions. The key learning is how do you come out of that discussion. If you both come out black and blue or one is more beaten up than the other this was not a successful conversation and you both need to work on your communication skills.

It is important to be able to look at yourself and see yourself and your emotional point at that time and recognise if it is in a bad place or good place as that will have an effect on the discussion. The most important communication is with yourself most of the time. Then look at how your behaviour is affecting others.

Next on the actual opinion of is it hard or not? Well, all three involved have had different experiences and different relationships. Some are new have not had all the experiences and life events that have happened to the others. Let me assure you after doing this as long as I have I am still learning and I have had easy fun discussions to really hard difficult discussions, as life and where myself and cheeky are emotionally at the time all play a part of these discussions.

This group is a group for learning, learning from others experiences and sharing your experiences. However to tell someone that their experience or attitude is wrong because that is all they have had different experiences is also wrong. The conversation should rather be around sharing your experience and explain why your view is different. It is a simple change of wording from "your approach/attitude to this is wrong/arrogant", to "in my experience, I have found the following". It gets your opinion across while not intimidating or taking away from someone else's opinion or experience.

Again this is my personal opinion I am using my big boy Dom words to express it and if someone has a different view or experience I am willing to have an open honest discussion about their views and experiences.