Thursday, 23 August 2012
Consent: Not Optional.
Recently consent has been a hot topic in the fetish community. It is, of course, always of significance, but recently there doesn't seem to have been a day without someone else chiming in on the issue. Now for those who are on FetLife, I'm sure I don't need to go into the full background of recent accusations, and that's not what this post is meant to be about - I don't have a great deal to contribute in regard to communities I'm not involved in, and situations I have no knowledge of. Suffice to say I do think these discussions are important and abuses of consent always need to be challenged.
What I want to write about today is the application of consent.
So, you've been on the scene a while (maybe six months, maybe six years, who knows), and you're pretty confident you have it all down. You can debate everything from consent issues, to play styles, to edgier forms of kink with finesse.
And that's great.
But here's the thing. In all those discussions on why you need to ensure consent is given, did you actually sit back and think "Hey, this applies to me!"? Becasuse you damn well should have.
Consent applies to you.
Consent applies to me.
Consent applies to every single one of us.
It doesn't matter if you're especially "well liked" or well respected in the local "scene". It doesn't matter if you run your own parties or just attend. It doesn't matter if you're 18 or 80. It doesn't matter if s/he's your sub, partner or whatever-other-status. It just doesn't.
I'm getting sick of hearing of people brushing off consent violations.
Unwanted touch MATTERS. Breaking limits MATTERS. Using deception or manipulation to gain "consent" MATTERS.
Just promise me this; the next time you're engaged in some kind of act (whether that be you physically performing an act upon someone, having them perform it on you, or commanding them to do something), sit back for a second and make sure you know, beyond reasonable doubt, that s/he wants you to be doing this. If you can, great. If you have doubts, check in and be prepared to stop right that goddamn second.
Trust me when I say being sexually pressured into unwanted acts, or being nonconsentually touched in any way, shape or form, stays with a person. It will colour their view of you, and worst of all, it might make them see themselves differently*.
*No one should ever feel guilty or responsible for that which was forced upon them, but many assualt survivors and those who have been in some way violated, do.