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Consent and D/s

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Consent is a serious topic and it is a complicated and contentious area in BDSM. For us consent is always present unless a safe word is used, but in reality Sir would never ask me to do something that I didn’t want to. The level of trust we have is huge and it means that consent is not really something that we think about, so for me personally, I take a pretty relaxed view. At work, however, I have to make sure that young people understand the importance of making sure that consent in present at the time. We also make sure that they know what the law surrounding sex and consent means for them. One of the great resources we use compares consent to having a cup of tea and this helps to make the point. So I suppose I want to make it clear that what I am writing about here is about how consent works in our D/s marriage, and to make the point that I don’t advocate this being appropriate for other types of relationship, and that I realise our practices may leave us on the wrong side of the law, if it ever came to that. 

Speaking of the law, I do think that it is wrong that couples engaging in BDSM could be prosecuted for ‘inflicting harm on another person,’ if that activity falls within agreed limits that are consensual. I would argue that whether or not I am left with the bruises and marks from a cane or any other implement, done within the context of our scene, what was carried out was not harmful but part of the way we are showing and celebrating our love.  I also think it is wrong that if someone can punch the life out of someone else in a boxing ring and that sort of harm is condoned as being sport, or that someone can cut through another person’s skin and tissue to carry out unnecessary cosmetic surgery and that is condoned as being a surgical procedure, that what we do would not be given the same legal standing. When there is no legal issue from the harm caused from tattoos or piercings, quite why the bruising on my spanked bottom would cause so much contention, I am not really sure.

However, the law and public opinion aside, consent works differently for us than for some other couples. If I say ‘no!’ then it doesn’t necessarily mean ‘no!’  If I say ‘I don’t want to!’ it doesn’t necessarily mean that ‘I don’t want to!’  If I say ‘stop!’ then it doesn’t necessarily mean ‘stop!’, so I do see why some people feel it is confusing.  The thing is that in BDSM you have to understand the other person, be aware of their needs and wants, and also of their limits.  Add to that the trust that all of this will be communicated, respected and observed and clearly you are dealing with something much more complex than it may at first appear. Obviously there are never any guarantees so I should point out that to protect us both, if I say ‘red’, it will all stop.  This will be immediate and absolute and until a proper discussion has taken place and we have agreed how we are going to move forward, any previous agreement is on hold. As a testament to the way things work in a D/s marriage like ours, calling ‘red’ is not something that I really have to do and have never done it during a scene or kinky play, but it is there as a safety measure nonetheless, and is a key control to have when you are doing things which could ‘inflict harm on another person.’

So why say ‘no’, or ‘don’t’, or ‘stop’ if you don’t mean it?  Well I think there are a couple of reasons for this.  The first is that there is a huge grey area between what the brain wants to limit and what it wants to experience. I suppose it is due to our need to protect ourselves, and we respond to our anxiety in order to do that.  Sometimes you are caught up in the fight or flight reaction when your brain wants to either halt everything by freezing to let the danger pass, or let your body take over and run for your life to escape it.  This is all well and good when the danger is real, but when it is only perceived, I think that we can limit ourselves by responding to it. My own hangups and fears would certainly restrict the choices I made if I let them.  And sometimes, that is exactly what I do.  Sir knows this and so sometimes if I have a little shove, a little bit of reassurance and a bigger purpose (pleasing him), I can push past my own limits to experience something new that I will really enjoy.

The second reason, is that it is fun. A lot Domination and submission, especially in play and scenes, is about theatre.  You know that you are safe, but the fear of the unknown can pump you full of adrenaline which gives the whole thing a bit of  thrill.  To pull against your bonds and realise that you are stuck in a vulnerable position brings excitement; to allow yourself to be played by a mindfuck means that you can experience things in a way that differs to your norm.  Essentially, you can keep it all fresh and new and exciting, and in a sexual sense, to be able to do this in a long term relationship is a little bit like finding the holy grail.  Everything in D/s play is heightened – your senses, your emotions and therefore, consequentially, your experiences.

Essentially a lot of it is illusion which is why I think that many find it so difficult to understand.  The submissive standing naked in the corner knows that her Dominant does not see her as inferior to him. The submissive being told she must endure just five more strikes, knows that she is going to feel pleasure and not pain.  A true Dominant can not be compared to someone who is willingly inflicting pain on someone. He does what he does out of love and with the highest regard for the safety, for the well-being and for the pleasure of the submissive, and this is what is often not seen or understood. Ultimately both parties know that the pain, the humiliation and the fear will translate into pleasure and safety and love.  But often in order to experience these things, you have to let go of the things that hold you back, and giving consent to another person to allow you to do this, is one way that works for a number of people.

It is only within the safety of the consent that is part of D/s, that Sir and I have really been able to explore who we are.  My nature is more cautious and less impulsive than I would sometimes like and, in the past, this has held me back and prevented me from admitting to some of the things I really wanted to experience.  Sir is by nature caring and protective, so for him the same is true as it is only really within the structure of the D/s that he has felt safe to explore and enjoy some of the things that involve his darker more deviant side.  Through all of this we have built an intimacy and closeness that means that we pretty much know what the other needs and wants, so to have to go back to a more conventional interpretation of consent would mean communicating in a completely different way which would be a backwards step for our relationship.

For more on consent and how it works for us please see my earlier post: Consent, Safety and Aftercare, and the follow on post from this: Consensual Non-Consent.

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12 thoughts on “Consent and D/s

  1. Great post! Like you, I am a married submissive. I asked my husband for this lifestyle and he has worked diligently to become a dominant, something that didn’t come naturally to him at first. I identify with what you wrote…we have such a high level of trust established from being together for 14 years, that he would never cross the line into something I couldn’t handle. He does push me though. We did a scene a few weeks ago, something I had asked for, but he took it to the next level. At the time, I was a little upset because it was so damn humiliating…but it certainly put me in that submissive place and it was very intentional on his part. Again…great post!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I think it’s contentious within the BDSM community and even more so without, because many people confuse consent with coercion.

    There is so much information out there now, that it’s easy to get caught up in the social media need to put everything out there in rosy glowing testimonials. Real D/s is a dance that is always changing and growing as long as the consent is not abused. Knowing where that consent tips over into ‘red’ for each dynamic, is a very important edge to settle. That the edge keeps moving, is something that trust and communication creates.

    You explained your consent extremely well, missy, and anyone who regularly reads your posts, understands how you and he dance together so beautifully.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I totally agree with what you say about social media and the fact that the edge of consent is a moving growing thing in D/s. I have certainly ended up moving the limits as I have gone and things that were hard limits at the start have become much softer, or have even ended up on a please can I try list!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. My husband and I have been in a full time D/s Dd marriage for several years. We have never felt the need for safe words and consent is understood but not necessary to give in a formal way. In the past we have written things up or discussed what I would not be okay with though. It’s just not something we need to do anymore. Definitely communication is important. I also completely agree that the laws concerning this are confusing. I hope we are never put into a situation where we have to explain ourselves or justify what we do.

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  4. I thought I had left a comment to you Missy but only see the one to Nora. My wife and I trust each other implicitly. We share all our thoughts and fantasies. Some I haven’t had the courage to really write about on my blog. She pushes me at times but I never worry about her going too far. We haven’t really got a safe word. Sometimes for some spankings I think about one but ultimately I trust her. If I were doing a scene with someone else I would definitely have a safe word. But if such a situation ever transpired, my wife and Queen would be part of it.

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    • I know what you mean about not writing about them. I still feel like I hold back a bit but I am getting better. I just find it hard to articulate sometimes as they can be quite vague and random. 😊

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  5. Consent and D/s in a married relationship is so different than as if we were single submissive’s in a relationship. Our Dom’s/Domme’s are our husband/wife and we are their number one priority the relationship. I have safe words, we have done a soft and hard limits list together and review it often. I am a masochist and love pain, my Sir is not a true sadist but when we scene or play I see the sadist side of Sir come out. When Sir is going to push a hard limit Sir will talk with me about it first hours beforehand. Sir knows me so well that even if I wanted to try to push for more, Sir would not allow it, safety is always priority. Like you said ” A true Dominant can not be compared to someone who is willingly inflicting pain on someone. He does what he does out of love and with the highest regard for the safety, for the well-being and for the pleasure of the submissive, and this is what is often not seen or understood.” Love, Trust, honest communication between a D/s M couple means safety comes first always!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I have no experience of D/s beyond what I have in my married like with Sir but I do know that what we have comes from so much more than the play or the scenes and like you, find that it is the foundations of the relationship that ensure that I am safe. Thank you for sharing 😊

      Liked by 1 person

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