Consent

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, it means to give assent or approval: agree. It is giving permission to do something and/or for something to happen. Consent is giving authorization to someone. It seems like a simple term, but it is far from a simple topic once people start discussing it.

Consent is essential. It is freely given, revocable, informed, comfortable, enthusiastic, and specific. It is given by someone who is not in an altered level of consciousness. This includes not only due to drugs and alcohol, but also during a scene. There are several types of consent that I am going to discuss here. All of them are important to people on both sides of the slash.

Implied Consent

Yes, it is a legal form of consent, but not one that should be used in this lifestyle outside of the medical definition of it: implied consent is the consent to touch when a person is unconscious or unable to respond. It is the consent to act in an emergency/life-threatening situation for the best interest of the person.

Consent is a huge part of submission; however, submission in and of itself does not imply consent. In Hazel vs State it says: submission to a compelling force, or as a result of fear, is not consent. If a submissive/bottom feels pressured into doing something, it is not consent. If they do something because they are afraid to say no, it is not consent. As I have heard it put before, if it is not an enthusiastic yes, then it is a hell no.

Informed Consent

This is when permission is granted with sufficient knowledge and understanding of what is going to happen and the potential consequences of those actions. This is at the heart of other definitions I will be talking about later.

I know this can be difficult when playing with someone who has never had a scene before, but all items that the Top wants to use needs to be discussed with the bottom (regardless of title used) and any conceivable consequences should be talked about also. Let them hold and feel the objects outside of a scene. If the item can leave bruises tell them. If it can break the skin, make sure they are aware. This may feel like a tedious process to both parties, but do it.

And let’s be clear, consent is specific. Seeking consent during a scene to do something more than originally agreed to should never be done. During a scene the bottom may agree to anything due to being in sub space. Also, I believe that if a bottom gets so deep into subspace that they can no longer answer questions or give their safe word/signal, the scene should be stopped. They are no longer able to revoke consent, so consent is not active at that point.

Temporary Consent

This is a type of consent used during a one time scene. Negotiations are done for that scene and for how long. Limits are established on what is agreed upon, i.e. you can hit me like this but not like that, etc. If a bottom agrees to play with a Top at a play party today, that does not mean that that Top can assume he/she has that same consent at a later date. It is just what it says, temporary. And it should be happily given. A bottom may be nervous, especially if they are new, but they are still exited about what is going to happen. Safe words must be made clear and honored.

Indefinite/Long-Term Consent

This is a type of consent normally given in a long-term dynamic/relationship. It is normally established in a verbal or written contract. Outside of hard and soft limits being established, consent is established for certain things in this contract. That means that A, B, and C has been agreed upon. If the Top wants to introduce D, then that is outside of the contract and it must be discussed and informed consent given.

Also, just because long-term consent has been given, it doesn’t mean that the bottom can’t use their established safe word. These contracts can and do change over time, but it is with consent of both parties. If one party retracts consent, then it should no longer be done. And yes, Tops can retract their consent at any time also. That is what a contract is- people agreeing (consenting) to what is established in said contract.

Consensual Non-consent

CNC is also referred to as blanket consent. This type of consent is supported by some in the lifestyle and discouraged by others. I believe the main reason it is discouraged is because it is often abused by people that hide behind our lifestyle and use it as an excuse to abuse and take advantage of someone. I will say again, that is just my humble opinion.

CNC is mainly limited to Owner/property and Master/slave dynamics. In simple terms, it is the property/slave giving up all rights to say no to their Owner/Master. Saying no can mean the end of the relationship. This should only be used between people that know each other really well and know that their wants, needs, and limits are similar. Although no dynamic should be jumped into (Just like any relationship), a M/s or O/p is something that should develop over time.

In recent years, Consensual Non-consent has been seen most often in discussions about rape and/or abduction scenes. Even in this type of play, informed consent is received. It is understood completely and agreed upon by the bottom. They may not know the when or where, but rules are established. If the bottom wants and agrees to one of these scenes with their Top, the Top cannot do anything that was not negotiated. For example, a bottom has agreed to a rape scene with their Top and nothing was said about adding other men to the scene. The Top should not bring other men in , knowing that their bottom would not agree to it. And I would advise strongly not only having safe words, but signals also because you don’t know how a bottom is going to react to this type of scene until you are in one. It could be a trigger if the bottom has a traumatic history.

Regardless of how you view consensual non-consent – whether you define it as the consent between a M/s or O/p, or a rape/abduction scene- the heart of CNC is CONSENT. It is Informed Consent that is given freely and with full knowledge and understanding of what is going to be expected.

In closing, I would like to leave you with the following that I must credit Planned Parenthood for, although it is essential in BDSM also–
Consent is easy as fries:
Freely given
Reversible
Informed
Enthusiastic
Specific

Know Yourself and Communicate (A Sunday Morning Ramble)

This is something that I feel needs to be said. I see more and more new subs coming into the lifestyle waving the “I am new and I want a Dom” flag, and then wonder why the sharks circle and why they end up in dynamics that don’t meet their needs or they feel that their feelings don’t matter.

First, it is good to make it clear that you are new, but until you have researched and ask questions, your main goal should be wanting to learn as much as possible. Never put yourself in the situation where you come looking for advice about your dynamic and one of the first things you say is ‘all I know about the lifestyle is what he has told me’. Fakes, abusers, and predators look for someone that is willing to jump in a dynamic without any idea of how it is supposed to work.

No one (hopefully) would jump into a marriage with someone they have only spoken to once or twice. You want to get to know each other and make sure you are compatible before entering a committed relationship. Why should the lifestyle be any different?

Take the time to really get to know what the potential Dominant is looking for in a dynamic. Ask questions – lots of questions. If the Dominant doesn’t want to answer them, or refuses to do so, move on. It is not going to improve over time. Make sure you have a connection with your Top and feel you can trust them; by giving
them this control, you are trusting them with a lot, perhaps even your life.

You are a person with your own mind and body, your own physical, emotional, and mental needs and limitations. It is crucial that you learn about yourself and be able to talk about these things, to give appropriate input to your Top. Be very honest about everything:
What you want to do
What you are willing to do
What you prefer not to do (but might be willing to try)
What you do not want to do under any circumstances

A Dominant wants and needs to know these things. They have wants, needs, and limits also. Make sure that when you are discussing these things, they are compatible. Accepting a dynamic without knowing these things about each other cannot end well. Think about it. If you are wanting a Daddy to treat you like a princess, take care of your every want and need, who will be tolerant of a brat, then that is what you have to make clear. Not being upfront with this information will only lead to heartache.

I will also add that if you don’t think you can handle a poly dynamic, then avoid someone that is already in one or makes it clear they are poly. I have seen statements made where a new person to a dynamic is wanting advice on how to get rid of the Dominant’s other sub because ” everything would be perfect if she was gone”. Wait for a monogamous Dominant instead. They are out there. And if a dominant (lower case on purpose) tries forcing you to accept someone else in the dynamic because “It is his right” leave the dynamic. Yes it will hurt, but better to move on and find what you want and need, than try to figure out how to deal with this situation and be completely miserable. And if you are interested in playing with an occasional partner- state it as that. There is

a huge difference in having occasional play partners and being poly. And if you want to play with others, you have to be willing to let your partner play too. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. It is different if you are fine with being monogamous while your partner is not. But it must be YOUR decision, not one that is forced on you.

And for the big kicker….if you find that your wants and needs change, but it goes against your partner’s wants and needs, don’t kick him or her for not meeting your needs. Own the fact that you have changed. You would not want someone to force you to accept something – show the same respect. For example, I entered my dynamic knowing my Owner is poly. If the day would ever come that I changed and needed a monogamous relationship, I would not try to force that on him, nor would I ever speak poorly of him. He is honest with me about his needs and I would be honest with him. As much as it would hurt me, I would ask for release so that I could search for what I need. He would still be the wonderful man that I see him as now. I would never speak down about him and would give him a wonderful reference if another sub contacted me.

I guess the point of this Sunday morning rambling is….know yourself before offering yourself to anyone else. Know what you want and need and state it clearly from the start. Your happiness is in your hands. If you don’t know what you want and need, how can anyone ever meet them. If you do not speak firmly and clearly about what you are looking for, how can anyone know? Dominants are not perfect (gasp), nor mind readers. Take ownership of your happiness and Communicate, Communicate, Communicate.

Safe Words- What are They Really?

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So many times you hear people make the statement that slaves should not have safewords because they are not supposed to say “No” to their Master. Or you will hear others claim that it is topping from the bottom.  I am not sure where this came from, but both statements are wrong – if a safe word is used in its proper context. I will say that if a sub/slave uses a safe word to just get out of doing something that is not fun and kinky, then they are wrong. If a sub/slave uses a safe word to try and control their Dominant, they are wrong. That is abusing something that is put in place to protect the Dominant’s property.

Safe words are strictly for the safety and well-being of a submissive. (I am going to just use Dominant and submissive, but this applies to Tops and bottoms along with Masters and slaves.) They are used to let the Dominant know that something is not right. It may be that the submissive needs something adjusted. For example, while being restrained, the submissive starts feeling tingling in an extremity. The submissive can use the safe word to pause the scene so that the Dominant can adjust the restraints and then continue with the scene. Or the Dominant could be pushing the submissive’s limits (agreed upon by the submissive). Once the submissive has gone as far as they can, they use the safe word to let the Dominant know, and he/she can stop the scene and begin aftercare. The Dominant should not be upset at this. Instead the Dominant should be proud of what the submissive has accomplished in pushing boundaries.

A safe word can also be used to let the Dominant know that there is some other problem that needs his immediate attention. Many people have medical issues that could come into play during a scene. The submissive should feel safe enough to use their safe word to let the Dominant know so that the submissive can be taken care of. A submissive should never fear being released because they use a safe word to let the Dominant know there is a problem.  Dominants are not mind readers and he should want to be alerted that something is wrong before serious damage – either mentally or physically – is done to the submissive.

Here is a good example of what safe words are. All vehicles come with warning lights in the dash. The driver of the vehicle is the Dominant. The submissive is the car and the warning lights are safe words.  You may have a warning light come on, and it is something that can quickly be corrected and you are able to continue on your way.  However, if you choose to ignore it, it could end up costing you down the road. An example of this is the low air alarm. You stop and put air in your tire and continue on your way with no damage to the tire or the vehicle.  This is like the yellow (or whatever word you use to pause a scene).

Then you have warning lights on your vehicle that tells you that you need to stop the car immediately. A good example of this is your gauge or light that lets you know your car is running hot. You can continue on if you choose, but where is that going to leave you when you crack a head on the vehicle? This would be Red (or whatever word you choose to stop a scene).

In both of the scenarios I just gave, who is in charge – the driver or the vehicle? The driver is still in control of the vehicle. The vehicle just let them know that there is an issue that needs the driver to take care of as a good owner. Now you could remove the fuses that work your warning lights and just take your chances on nothing ever going wrong. But is that taking care of your property? Is that proving that you value your vehicle and what it brings to you?

Now I know there are people that will refuse to use safe words, and if both parties agree to that, then that is fine. But do not remove them from a dynamic based on the misguided idea that by having them the submissive is saying “No” or trying to Top from the bottom.  They are something the Dominant wants their submissive to use to protect what belongs to him/her.

And on an end note, submissives, if you have safe words, do not refuse to use them because you feel like you are failing your Dominant. You are only failing your Dominant when you refuse to let him know that something is wrong and you allow his/her property to be damaged. It is your job to take care of and protect your Dominant’s most treasured possession. You are also telling him/her that you do not trust them when they tell you they will not be disappointed or upset that you let them know something is wrong.

Trust Comes Before Obedience

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Trust comes before obedience….
Something that shouldn’t need to be said, but it does.

When you are getting to know a “Dominant” you are equals. Don’t forget that. You may be a submissive, but you are not his submissive until he has earned your trust.

Ask all the questions that you need to as you are getting to know each other. A real Dominant will expect it. A fake or a predator will tell you that you have no right to question a Dom or Master. Do not fall for that.

If you are unsure of what kind of questions that you need to be asking a potential Top/Dom/Master – google it. Google is your best friend. Look up BDSM Negotiations. Look up Questions to ask during BDSM Negotiations. Remember this is your safety – your life that you are talking about.

Ask what they are looking for, what they want and need. Be firm on what you are looking for in a Dominant. If he tell you that you don’t need to know that – run. You need to have a firm idea of what i going to be expected of you Before entering into a Ls relationship.

There are a lot of bad apples out there that use this lifestyle to abuse and worse. There are many that use it just to have a side piece because they see so many subs willing to jump into relationships with someone without knowing anything about them. Lack of knowledge, lack of personal responsibility for your own safety makes you an easy target for these type.

Also remember that even if they are a real Dominant, it doesn’t mean that you are compatible. Taking the time to get to know they really well will give you the answer of whether their wants and needs are compatible with your wants and needs.

Ask yourself if you would get married to someone you only knew a day or two? Then why would you put your life in the hands of someone that you do not know?

If your gut is telling you that something is wrong – even if they answer all of your questions perfectly – listen to it. It is better to miss out on that Dom than to ignore your gut and end up seriously hurt or worse.

Trust comes before obedience and trust must be earned.

BDSM is Not a Shortcut to Happiness

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This is something that has bothered me for quite a while. I have seen so many people that are lonely hop into BDSM relationships with both feet without having a clue about what the lifestyle truly is. They do not take the time to learn the basics of the lifestyle, nor even to figure out what it is that they want and need in the lifestyle. Thanks to a certain movie/book series, they think that a Dom is just going to walk into their life and if he says he is a Dom then he must be and they should follow without question. Some of them also think they can enter into a D/s relationship, agree with what the Dominant tells them they need, and then get them to give it up because they don’t like it/want it/need it. I  am sorry but all of this is just wrong. I am going to discuss many of the situations that i have seen in the past few years, why it is wrong/dangerous, and my opinion of these situations. Remember, this is MY opinion.

The person that has not had a relationship in 10-15 years, suddenly realizes they are submissive.
I am not sure what made them realize this, so i am not going to assume to know. I will take their word for it. However, they make the mistake of agreeing to submit to the first person that comes along and demands their submission. I know, I know, this should be a red flag right there, but because they did not take the time to research and learn what the lifestyle is, they think this is the way it is done. They are involved with someone who abuses them mentally and even physically, but they don’t want to lose the relationship because it is the first one they have had in many years. All they want to know is what they can do to be a better submissive so that they do not make their Dominant mad. No matter what advice is given to them, no matter what is pointed out as being abusive/red flags, their only focus is not losing this relationship. These people will pull away from the ones trying to help them because having someone, anyone in their life is more important than their safety.

The person that discovers the lifestyle while being in an unhappy marriage.
There are usually two ways that this one goes. The person either tries to make their spouse change, they look for a relationship outside of the marriage or they leave their spouse because the spouse has failed them. Wait, failed them? How have they failed? Did the spouse change? Did the spouse’s wants and needs change to something that the person could not meet? If the  unchanged spouse is the same person that the newly discovered lifestyler married, then how have they failed? They haven’t. Stop saying they have. You changed. Your wants and needs changed (or you think they have because how do you truly know if you have never experienced the lifestyle?)

You have the person that discovers they are either Dominant or submissive and wants to change their partner. I have not dealt much with the newly discovered Dominant who wants to make their spouse submit to them, because lets face it, especially with a man wanting to make his wife submit, they would be ran out of about everywhere. There would not be many supporters of a man wanting to tie up his wife and beat her or make her kneel at his feet and serve him. He would be labeled an abuser right from the start. Probably the same thing for a wife wanting to make her husband submit, or a gay or lesbian couple, but i would definitely say so for a man wanting to make his wife submit.

However, when a woman starts asking how to make their husband be their Dom, most people start having sympathy for her unhappy situation and begin telling her ways to make him do what she wants. Ummmm wait a minute, isn’t that Topping from the bottom? Isn’t that just as abusive as a Dominant trying to make their spouse submit? Yes it is. This newly discovered submissive is usually given the advice that if the spouse won’t submit to their will and be their Dom, then they should 1. leave them or 2. find them a Dominant outside of the marriage.  And  yes i said if the spouse won’t submit to the submissive’s will because that is what is going on. The new submissive thinks that kink is going to be what changes their life and make them happy and the spouse MUST change or they are wrong/a bad spouse.

I have seen where new Dominants and submissives make statements like ” my spouse would not submit/be my Dom so i lost all respect for them”. To me, this is some messed up thinking.  You changed and started wanting something that many people outside of the lifestyle see as sick/deviant behavior, and YOU lost respect/fell out of love with your spouse. First of all i want to say, stop disrespecting the lifestyle that means so much to me by blaming it for you falling out of love/losing respect for your spouse. You did that on your own. If your spouse suddenly wanted to have an open marriage and you didn’t agree with it, would you feel like it was fair for them to blame you for them falling out of love with you? If your spouse cannot embrace this lifestyle – it is because it is not something they want or need. And to fully embrace this lifestyle it HAS to be something that you need in your life.

I  will say to you, if your spouse is the same person that you married, if they are still a good provider, good to you and your children if you have them, then do not blame them because you changed.  That is just wrong. You would not want anyone to go against your  limits, but yet you are so willing to go against your spouse’s limits. And by trying to force them to do something that does not appeal to them, that is what you are doing. Period.

My final thoughts….
This lifestyle that i love so very much is not the answer to being alone or being lonely. You cannot submit to the first person that claims to be a Dominant and live happily ever after. Nor can you take the first submissive that you run across and  everything be perfection. There is not a magical BDSM fairy that waves their wand and happiness is yours. D/s and M/s is still a relationship.  It is harder to find that right person than in a vanilla relationship in my humble opinion because there are fewer of us.

This lifestyle that i love so much is not the answer to an unhappy, unsatisfying marriage. Sorry to tell you, but if you are unhappy or unsatisfied in your marriage, kink will not fix it no more than an affair would. Now i am not saying that if you speak to your partner about engaging in some kink – and they are willing- that it will not spice up your marriage because it probably will. Anytime you bring something new to your marriage it will do that. But if you have fallen out of love with your spouse, they could become the most perfect Dominant or submissive and after the newness of the experience has worn off, you still will not love your spouse. And truth be told, they could be the best Dominant or submissive in the world, and they still would not make you happy. Why? Because you were unhappy to start with.

Let me say that i am not saying that everyone that has discovered they are Dominant or submissive after being married for a long time is just looking for some excitement in their life because i am not. Many people do not realize what they want and need until later on in their life. And if after doing your research and learning what it is you feel in your heart that you need,  you feel you need to explore the lifestyle to be happy, then that is what you need. Just be sure to put the responsibility where it needs to be – on you. I will not say “the blame” because no one is to blame in this circumstance. Just don’t blame your spouse because you changed and they didn’t. Don’t blame your spouse because you feel the need to explore something that does not appeal to them. Respect them for holding true to their beliefs, wants, and needs. Respect them even more if they try to give you what you want and need, but fail because it is not what they want and need.

Before anyone says that i must not understand what if feels like to be lonely, alone, or in an unhappy marriage – let me clear that up. I realized many years ago that i was no longer in love with my spouse. However, i stayed in the marriage for many reasons. He did not change, i did. He loves me, supports me in my life and career, and is a wonderful father. I love him for all of that. I respect him for all of that. The reason for my unhappiness and realizing i did not love him the way a spouse should had absolutely nothing to do with me being submissive. Me discovering the lifestyle came many years later. And i know that even if he would be willing to explore the lifestyle – which he would probably have me committed to a mental institution for – would not make me fall in love with him again. It just wouldn’t. I changed.

 

 

 

Spousal Privilege

Respectfully Submitted

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I was raised in a different environment than most of my peers.  It was an anachronistic upbringing in a very modern world.  I was always told that “to those whom much is given, much is expected.”  The women I grew up watching were very different from the ones today and the one I have become.  They taught me to persevere and that there was no substitute for hard work.

As I look back, I saw several generations of women in my community.  The older generation was born in a time where a baby girl did as her parents told her until she was married and then did as her husband told her until she died.  They saw their husbands as infallible, even if they were boorish specimens that were poor in character.  I have seen a woman defend her husband in the face of many affairs.  “Men will be men…

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Consensual Non-Consent

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This is a topic of controversy in the BDSM community. It also has different meanings to different people. Make sure that when you discuss CNC with your  partner that both of you are on the same page.  It could save both of you a lot of heartache down the road.

For some, CNC is the ultimate in commitment in a Master/slave relationship. It goes beyond the slave not using the word “no” but also removes the use of safe words from the equation. The slave is completely and totally at the Master’s will, no matter what. i personally, see this as being unsafe because a safe word is not used to control the scene, but to allow the submissive – whether sub or slave -to let the Dominant know when they have reached their limits if trying something new, or they are having an issue of some sort that needs attention. Anyone that sees using a safe word as controlling a scene, or controlling the Dominant, really needs to take a step back and do more research. They have obviously skipped over a vital part that could be the difference in playing and permanent damage.

I myself have always seen CNC play as being a part of rape play, kidnapping scenes, etc. It is something that has been fully discussed and each party is well aware of the risks that they are taking in this kind of play. It can be a serious trigger for someone that has suffered through abuse or rape. The person you are having a CNC scene with must be able to tell that you have been triggered and that it is not part of the scene so that they can stop and take care of you. It is also why i feel it is vital to have a safeword or signal if you feel that this type of play is beginning to trigger suppressed or repressed memories.

CNC should ONLY be done with someone that you KNOW will never ever push past  a hard limit. No matter what they are going to do, they will still honor the limits that you have set in the beginning of your relationship. Dominants – you should only do a CNC scene with someone that you know really well and know their triggers and limits. Doing one of these scenes with someone that you are unfamiliar with can lead to jail time for you. They can and have used the fact that they were telling you no during the scene that you raped and assaulted them. This is a risk with any BDSM scene, but even more so with a CNC scene.

I am not trying to talk anyone out of doing CNC scenes. On the contrary – if it is what brings both of you pleasure, go for it. What i am trying to do is point out that there is even more risk with these type scenes and for both parties to protect themselves emotionally and physically – and for the Dominants, legally. Yes there is a legal issue with any type of BDSM play in most places, but it is especially an issue with CNC play.