By LadySneak on October 23, 2012, from the submissiveguide.com
The Importance of Consent in Negotiation
Consent and Negotiation are probably something that we think about but don’t really acknowledge daily. It is important none the less to think about and address in a Dominant/submissive relationship. Why? There are many reasons but the most important one is being safe not only with your partner but more importantly with yourself.
Consent is important because without it you are not playing safe. How can you give of yourself and not consent to what is done to you? You can’t, or perhaps shouldn’t is the better word. It is important to have a talk with your Dominant about the things you will allow to be done to you and what you won’t. This is commonly referred to as the limit talk.
Limits are important to talk about because it establishes the safety net that every submissive should have with their Dominant. I am sure that there are things that you might not consider at first but might be open to trying, depending upon how it is presented. Sometimes we don’t think of everything until the moment it is brought up.
It is important to sit down before doing what I call the fun stuff because you need to know the boundaries of what is going to take place. I’m not talking 100% specifics per say but rather a negotiation of what might take place. Negotiations are important so the boundaries of the scene are defined. A scene can be any thing from an agreed upon spanking to perhaps an agreed upon forced action such as giving a blow job, if that’s something you don’t really care to do.
I do know that some Dominants don’t like to do things such as negotiation but it is important to do so. Why? It goes back to the whole thing of consent. There may be things that take place during a scene that you would like to consent to before hand. Having the option to use a safe word is all fine and dandy but some submissives find it hard to use it for a variety of reasons.
Reasons such as:
• Not wanting to disappoint their Dominant.
• Not wanting to seem like a child for using it.
• Not being in the right mental capacity at the time due to being in sub space.
• Not knowing how to properly use a safe word to begin with.
• Not knowing how to properly express what you are feeling at the time.
Consenting to what happens to your body is vital to a safe relationship with a Dominant. Without consent, it is in my mind, bordering on rape in the sense that it can be something against your will. You don’t want someone to force you to do something you really don’t want to do. Consent is vital because it establishes what you will allow and won’t allow.
Consent can be approving the actions done to you by the other person asking your permission to do it. That is generally how one gives and asks for consent – by asking. It can be something as simple as “Can I kiss you?” just for example. How you respond to such a question gives your consent or non consent to it.
This is a very good article on consent, aimed towards submissives. One key point is the asking.
However, I have had multiple occasions where I have heard statements like the following regarding consent from a dominant view:
1. Things were going so well with the scene that I didn't think she'd mind if I did X to her. So I surprised her.
2. She said she loves oral sex on her profile, so when she went into subspace, the opportunity was there, so I made her suck my cock. It's what she wanted, all in writing, on her profile.
3. I like pushing limits, so at a house party that specifically said no sex, I thought I'd break the rules just because I'm like that, and it's fun to get away with.
Any of these sound vaguely familiar? I bet they do. But did you know that these are cases of assault? Or worse, rape. There, I said the word. Bet the ones that said them certainly didn't think so.
SSC-Safe, Sane and Consensual. We preach that to death. But, sadly, it's aim is towards submissive types more so than the dominant types. There are piles of writing on the type of people to watch out for - the sick, demented bastards out there with knives at the ready to slash and burn that I'm surprised it doesn't make everyone run for the safety of Fort Knox to protect themselves from these evil doers.
But, in reality, these sick, demented bastards we try to look out for look exactly like us. No labels to identify up-and-coming rapist of the year on their forehead, nor a neon-sign above their head flashing "I'm a rule breaker", or even an "I'm inconsiderate and selfish" T-shirt. Or...just plain dumb, forgetful or arrogant to not care about knowing how to behave with strangers.
But perhaps we should aim that preaching at both parties. Let me break down the three I listed above. Assumption is not consent.
1. The bottom needs to understand that saying NO, or Red should stop a scene and is taking the consent away-either temporarily or permanently. There is no shame in that, nor should there be any guilt. We all have our limits, and sometimes, our bodies can't handle something that our mind has agreed to, so it WILL react. No or Red expressed is the signal for the Top to actually stop, LISTEN to what the bottom is attempting to say, and follow it. Using other means to stop play when gagged or unable to communicate properly, ie finger snapping, tapping out, dropping a ball, shaking a leg, etc...all to get the top's attention that there is something wrong with the scene and it needs to be reassessed can be other ways of 'saying red'. There is something that needs attention, and it NEEDS to be addressed.
Surprising a bottom with something that has not been discussed in mid-scene is NOT consensual when it has NOT been discussed with a new partner. I am guilty of that, with some forms of play and know better now, but never with sexual touching, especially when it is not part of a negotiated scene. There's too much shit to get into legally, and frankly, sexual assault is a hard limit for me. I avoid all sexual organs as much as possible and stick to what is agreed to for play. Or I get verbal consent which is very clear...even then I tend to keep my hands to myself. I save the sexual stimulation for my sexual partners, not my play partners.
If a top does not pay attention, by asking questions and listening to their gut, based on what the bottom can or cannot SAY, it should mean the consent for whatever the top is doing MUST stop, until sane consent is given...again. If it isn't clearly stated, the top should stop play, meaning he or she is making a sane decision to stop the play.
There are legal ramifications such as abuse and rape that you are now clearly getting involved in if you ignore this. We all take that risk when we do what we do from a legal standpoint anyways (and will vary depending on where you are), but what are the defining limits to play and abuse? And to boot, if you 'push their limit of taking back consent from you' the bottom won't play with you again, and word WILL get out that you are an unsafe top. Which means you are sitting on the unemployment line of play my friends. Or worse, charges laid against you.
2. Just a note of clarification on this one. Just because someone puts something sexual on their profile, and it is NOT discussed prior to play, don't assume that you can get a free blowjob, ass rimming, tittyfuck. If you have agreed to rope and some flogging, stick with JUST that. Especially with someone you are playing with the first time. Some of us actually save that for sexual partners only and not every random play partner out there. That is playing safe would it not?
If you cross over the lines between consensual play and sexual assault, again...unemployment lines will be looking mighty fine right about now. Considering that charges of assault can be filed against you, and not many employers like their employees having assault charges for some odd reason, people WILL talk. We talk all the time on Fetlife about it, so it's not something new or rare. The good news is, word spreads faster against you, it's not a dirty little secret any more. Be clear in getting consent!
When you don't get charges laid for whatever reasons, what is typical is public shame, and that can take it's toll on most people mentally. Your victim will go through a process of emotions, but you will too. Do you really want to deal with the aftermath of slipping your hand where it doesn't belong? I know I don't. And your victim will no doubt write about it, either in anger, shame or confusion seeking answers as to what they did wrong, etc. And others will talk too. Each time it comes out, you are exposed to the shame. And the knowledge that you have been outed. You really want that on your shoulders? I didn't even mention the physical altercations you may encounter by an angry boyfriend or friend who wants to exact their 'justice' on your ass. So, even if you read about it on their profile, you HAVE to get consent to doing anything sexual, whether intercourse, blow jobs or any form of sexual stimulation or touching. A flogging does not equate to a blow job in every play scene...unless again, it was discussed and clearly consented to.
And now the community suffers. Old memories come flooding back to other victims, anger is felt by everyone over what has occurred yet again. Community leaders struggle to come up with answers. A basic shitstorm of emotions all because you felt it was fun to do something inappropriate so you could get off. Ugh.
3. Pushing someone's personal limits is one thing, and that is challenging enough. Breaking rules is something completely different. Clubs as well as private home owners establish rules for a reason. And those reasons are perfectly valid for them, as well as the safety of others. Posting a speed limit of 30 in a school zone is a valid reason to protect children from speeders who don't have the time to slow down, thus injury or death may occur to a child. Charges WILL be laid against speeders for this rule breaking. A valid reason to have this speed limit wouldn't you agree?
So what happens when someone hosts an event, you get invited and provided with house rules where one of them is no sex allowed, and you decide you want to break it because you are horny and have some naive young thing wanting to please you? For one thing, you are disrespecting the host's rules. Most will not allow you back again to any future events that I can almost guarantee you. You didn't have MY consent to have sex in my house for one thing. Ever think about that? Probably not. And don't think that I won't find out, because I do. Rules are there for a reason. You can question them and no doubt be given a valid reason as to why they are there. But don't be an ass wanting to break them for your own personal thrill. Because when you do, you get your ass banned (be lucky you don't get the shit kicked out of you by some), and we WILL make up more rules, thus ruining everyone else's fun because of your selfishness. Oh, and no doubt, no one else will want to have you attend their parties either, so it will be pretty lonely sitting home alone while everyone else is having consensual fun. If no sex is allowed at my place, go back to your place to do it.
Consent. It's not something that is easy to get for every single little thing that we do, but it does have some lasting after effects when you don't negotiate properly to get it.
(originally posted July 17, 2013)