If it's not "yes", it's a no.
We've discussed what BDSM stands for, and maybe you've found a partner and you're already to embark on your new kinky adventure? Great! Before you do though, do you have their consent?
We go through our lives giving consent, often without really thinking about what we're doing or agreeing to . From cookies on your intnernet browser to letting somebody jump in front of us in the line, there are numerous ways that we give consent to others every day. When it comes to BDSM though, consent is even more important.
BDSM VS Abuse
It is often said that in BDSM, one word can stop a BDSM scene, but a thousand words won't stop abuse. This is because we use safewords, and in doing so, we consent to the BDSM scene going ahead while knowing that we have a safeword we can use if we need to stop. You could use tens, hundreds or even thousands of words to an abuser, but it won't stop them fropm abusing you. If anything, it'll spur them on.
What If My Partner Says No?
Then they've said no, simple. Yes it might suck, sure you may want to cry about it, but it's really not okay to shout at them or try to manipulate them into changing their minds. Even if you don't hit them, if you shout at them or plead with them then you are manipulating their consent, and that's abuse.
Making Consent Sexy
One of the biggest challenges that many couples face is how to negotiate consent without making it sound like you're buying a new house or car. If this is you, then rest assured that from my own experience, I can safely tell you that there are ways you can obtain consent without making it dull. For example, you could say:
- "I'd like to tie you to the bed, would you like that?"
- "If I called you a dirty slut, how would that make you feel?"
- "I've been thinking about butt plugs, would you like to try one?"
- "I've thought about breath play, does that interest you?"
- "Do you want me to spank you?"
- I would like to start our BDSM session right now, are you ready?"
- "Are you enjoying this?"
- "Would you like me to go faster/harder?"
- "Are you okay?"
- "How do you feel right now?"
Of course, in a BDSM scene then you can add petnames to keep consent engaging and sexy. In fact, your partner may even be more consenting if you do!
Hard Limits & Soft Limits
The BDSM checklist lays out many, many different acivities for you to try, or at least consider. If you think of the checklist a bit like a menu, then you absolutely don't need or have or try everything on the list. If there is something that you really don't want to try or do, then this is a hard limit.
But is there something you don't think you'd enjoy, but might be willling to try once (or do occasionally) for your partner? Those are soft limits.
When it comes to consent, then a Dominant will always respect your limits, and while they might push your soft limits, they will always respect the hard ones. The difference between an Dominant and an abusive partner is that an abusive person will not respect your limits, hard or soft.
What Is Consensual Non-Consent? How Does That Work?
Is it consent? Or isn't it? That's a good question, and while consensual non-consent might seem confusing, there is still consent involved.
Consensual non-consent is a kink that involves acts like rape play or kidnap and interrogation scenes. In these sessions, it is important to understand that consent is given beforehand, sometimes even days or weeks before. Moreover, a safeword is still used.
I Saw Something That Looked Abusive At A BDSM Club, Should I Report it?
The truth is, not always. It is important to realise and understand that all BDSM scenes are based on consent, and while it might not look like something that you'd enjoy, it may be an incredibly hot scene for those involved. I've seen things in my time that I wouldn't enjoy - including needle play and cutting - and while it's not for me, it's important to understand that those who practice these kinks are probably thoroughly enjoying themselves.
If somebody seems genuinely distressed or you're concerned that a scene might not be safe, then you can have a quiet word with a Dungeon Master, but never, ever interrupt with somebody else's scene. If you wouldn't want somebody else intterupting your kinky play, please don't do it to others.
We hope you find this post helpful in negotiating consent for your kinky play. Don't forget, if you don't have consent, don't continue!
Until next time,
Stay safe & have fun,
Helen & Matt xx