The basic premise of the article is that because kink can involve extreme and potentially painful behaviour, consent is extremely important in kink culture. It is absolutely essential that everyone involved knows exactly what the limits are, and that they all have complete veto power at any point during a “scene,” because without consent what is happening would be on par with torture. If you think about this, this is actually sort of obvious. I mean of course, the only thing that makes tying someone down and flogging them moral, let alone legal, is because they said “yes,” when you asked them if they wanted you do it.
I am aware that in reality, even people in the kink community aren’t always perfect when it comes to consent. As Pervocracy says, “While kinksters may not perfect consent and communication…at least we know we’re supposed to.” That, right there, is the big difference between kink culture and mainstream culture when it comes to sex. For some reason, when we discuss consent during vanilla sex, we come up with all sorts of different reasons why getting enthusiastic consent is a problem. And yet, the danger is just as great in vanilla sex versus kinky sex. After all, without consent, vanilla sex is rape.
And yes, I totally get that there are plenty of reasons why people have such a difficult time communicating openly about sex in western society today. But, instead of using those reasons as excuses, let’s find ways to work around them, or better yet, tear them down. After all, kinksters come from the same set of social norms as the rest of us, and yet they have developed a culture which emphasizes the importance of enthusiastic consent. We would do well to incorporate kink philosophies about consent into mainstream culture.
Now, I’m not saying that you have to stop everything every couple of moments during sex and unemotionally ask, “Do you still want to keep going?” I totally get that would not really be all that sexy. But there are certainly sexy ways to keep communication open during sex. I mean, who doesn’t like a little dirty talk now and then? I also totally get that not everyone may be aware of what enthusiastic consent actually means. Well, there’s a great article by Julie Gillis about it, here.
Pervocracy’s article lists a few rules that the kink community has whenever entering a “scene” (and even vanilla sex is a “scene”). Basically it boils down to a few things: be aware of your partner(s) responses to what you’re doing; respect safe words (such as “No,” unless another word is designated), and discuss what you are going to do in advance. In other words, don’t assume that you know what your partner(s) wants to do sexually. Talk about it first, and remember that at any time during sex you and your partner(s) are equally allowed to bring the whole scene to a halt for whatever reason.
Kinky or vanilla, everyone has to be able to say “no” and have that be respected. “No” trumps “yes,” every time.
This was also published at The Good Men Project.