Lie #25 Consent Is Not Different In BDSM


In my continuing series of excerpts from my 50 Lies Told to New People About BDSM book, this week I’m tackling the murky waters of consent. Note that this piece is edited and expanded from the book entry.

There are a lot of people who think consent is not different in any way. They want to make the issue black and white, but it’s not. There are always variables and extenuating circumstances to take into consideration.

In a nutshell: In June of 2018, a judge in Australia dismissed a very controversial (at least on a couple social websites) assault/rape case.

“The magistrate noted that because violence was intrinsic to the S&M scene, conventional notions of consent did not necessarily apply. He cited video evidence of [redacted]’s previous encounters with one of the alleged victims, which were consensual despite her crying and saying ‘no more please’.”

This is actually an important moment for all Edge players, in this age of buyer’s remorse, with so many people retroactively rescinding consent and the slightest mistake by a top/dom being likened to rape.

There are huge fights in forums, spilling across multiple groups and dozens of writings within a single website. One side wants to enforce vanilla (conventional) standards of consent where they don’t belong, and the other side points out the reality of the situation. 

The reality is that once the agreements regarding aspects of consent (or the removal of it) are made, and the action begins, nilla sensibilities cease to apply in the bdsm context. Of course, “no means no” when you’re just having conversation; when you’re at the party and haven’t agreed to play/have sex; when you’re not in a relationship with someone; when you haven’t made an agreement to suspend the conventional notion of consent in any way. I’m not saying any dude can walk up to any chick (or vice versa) and hump them and say “hey, that’s bdsm!”

That’s not what we’re talking about here.

We’re talking about specific interactions and relationship types in which the participants have agreed to suspend conventional applications of consent. I will illustrate why/how consent is different between certain bdsm situations and non-kink “vanilla” (conventional) situations. 

Those differences are the crux of what makes BDSM “deviance”. Pretending those conventions always apply is a dangerous lie to tell new people.

Look up the synonyms for “conventional” – Conservative, conformist, unadventurous. Does any of that sound like BDSM to you? It sure doesn’t to me. BDSM is about all things NON-conformist and adventurous.

Let’s examine the how/why one hot-button topic at a time. You will have seen me cover many of these in earlier Lies. This time, I am going to cover a different angle.

A: Safe Words

The original purpose was as a code word so that the bottom/sub could scream NO and STOP at the top of their lungs and play would not stop. The bottom could be screaming bloody murder nononononostopstopstop, but so long as they did not say the special code word, the top could keep going.

There is no one standard for all bdsm participants. Using/recognizing no and stop is an individual choice, decided upon between the people in the encounter/relationship. 

The traffic light system, while commonly used at public venues, is not universal either. If the safe word between them is kumquat, the bottom can scream red and the top can ignore it. They may get kicked out of the venue for their choice…but it IS their choice.

Conclusion: If a bottom can say no and stop and, by agreement, play doesn’t stop until they say the correct code word…then consent is different in bdsm than it is in the non-kink “conventional” setting/encounter.

B: Not Using ANY Safe/Stop Word

The bottom agrees to not have a safe word, to have no power whatever to stop the action, whether they like what is happening or not. They agreed it wouldn’t stop until the top/dom decided to stop. 

This is a lot more common that a hell of a lot of people want to admit. They call the top/dom all manner of vile names, and throw accusations of abuse and breaking the law. They call the sub/slave brainwashed, mentally ill, in denial. They can’t fathom that this is something eagerly sought after by some subs/slaves. The second anyone says they don’t have a safe word, the fur starts flying.

Conclusion: If the bottom cannot make things stop at all, no matter what they say, then consent is different than in non-bdsm/kink situations. Conventional concepts of consent do not apply.

C: CNC relationships. 

It gets damned tedious to constantly be asked over and over and over and over if it’s okay to do the same thing you’ve always done together. Blanket Consent, Consensual Non-Consent, takes that tedium out of the equation.  

The sub/slave says “Yes, I consent to not have to give consent again” at some stage of the relationship. This is also a common arrangement.

From then on, if the dom wants sex, the dom bends the sub/slave over and fucks them wherever they happen to be in the home. (Taking into consideration present company, of course.) There is no asking the sub/slave every time the dom wants sex. This is normal in the CNC setting. 

The dom decides they want to issue a flogging or a spanking. They can say “get the fuck over here and brace against the wall so I can beat you.” They don’t have to ask if the sub is in the mood.

The sub/slave complains “that’s too hard” and the dom says “that’s too bad.”  This is normal in a CNC relationship.

The dom wants oral sex. “Do you feel like sucking my dick today?” isn’t a question unless the dom feels like saying “that’s too bad because you’re going to do it anyway.” 

This is not how it’s done in the non-kink/conventional/”vanilla” relationship. In conventional relationsihps, both parties are expected to have equal input to the positive and the negative. 

A d/s relationship is inherently inequal.

In the non-kink/conventional context, coercion is abuse. Coercion and force are common in the bdsm CNC relationship. They are often cited as being the hottest part of the arrangement.

Conclusion: Consent is different in the CNC relationship.

Does all this mean that any dom can demand service from any sub/slave? Only if they are at an event for which those ARE the rules. I don’t think I’ve seen that party advertised yet, unless it was a female dom/male sub tea. Those don’t usually include any form of SM play.

D: Can’t Leave the Relationship

There are a number of subs and slaves who say they cannot leave the relationship. This always brings out the “OH YES YOU CAN TOO!!!” people. Because LAWS!

“Can’t leave” is usually part of the CNC relationship, but I’m going to give it its own explanation.

In a non-bdsm situation, disallowing the partner from leaving is unlawful imprisonment. There are shelters for women to escape to.

In a bdsm relationship situation in which it was agreed upon at the start that the sub/slave is not allowed to end the relationship, making the sub/slave stay when they try to leave is simply the dom enforcing their end of the agreement. 

In every “can’t leave” discussion, there are several subs and slaves who tell their individual stories of what happened when they tried to leave.

What astonishes me is this assumption that because they cannot leave, they must always want to leave. The notion that the sub/slave is content in the relationship, a relationship they intentionally agreed to, never enters into the equation.

Conclusion: Consent is different in this type of bdsm relationship.

There are other aspects in which consent is different. These are the big ones I see most often disputed.

People are always shouting about getting everyone on the same page. Okay, here it is, but it’s not the page a lot of people think it should be because it’s not the vanilla, conventional, version of consent. 

Whether they like it or not, consent IS DIFFERENT in bdsm. 

Understand what you are getting yourself into when you decide to play games with consent.

——–

About the Author

TylerRose is a real-world sadomasochist with over 30 years of relationship experience.

She is known as Dame Tyler in the NYC public SM/Fetish scene. She is an award-winning author who has written two “lifestyle”, four cartoon, and twentysomething fiction books.

FB Fan Page — https://www.facebook.com/TylerRoseGethis/
Read her books on her Amazon page — https://www.amazon.com/TylerRose./e/B00HCPLSP2

And the other 49 Lies Told to New People About BDSM: And read the other 49 lies in her book 50 Lies Told to New People About BDSM: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07HVS2H2T

You can also find more of her OP/ED work in Fetlife: https://fetlife.com/users/305828

She enjoys crocheting and baking, and will no doubt die with a thesaurus open on her thigh.

Comments

  1. Preach sister!

  2. queernproud says:

    essential article and concept

  3. Great read! I think the concept of BDSM is skewed for vanillas. I have people thinking that I’m being manipulated, but it’s far from the truth. Technically, it’s the submissive that has the power as we’re the ones who make the choice to submit and consent. Unfortunately, as you wrote, many people don’t understand that choice and think that we’re brainwashed.

    • DameTylerRose says:

      Dominants make the choice to be in the relationship too. They also have to consent to what is done. They have the right to withdraw their consent too.

      I don’t espouse the power of the golden subby pussy gift is in control.

      If you’re in control, exactly when are you acquiescing to the dom?

  4. DameTylerRose says:

    The dom has the right of consent too. They also choose to be in the relationship. The dom can say no and withdraw consent and end the relationship at any time.

    I don’t espouse submissive-led relationships.

    I don’t support the power of the subby pussy gift is in control. That is one of the lies that brought us to this situation and compelled me to write this article.

    If you want to be in control, be the dom. Dominant bottom is a real thing. I am one myself.

    Of course, that means you also have to be responsible for your own decisions, which is why a lot of women think they want to be submissives. They were told a lie that they’d never have to be responsible for anything anymore. They thought it meant they’d no longer have to adult.

    Well, if you want to be in control, you also have to bear the responsibility.

  5. Even “no limits” has its limits. After all, who is going to commit suicide on command, unles they’re from Jonestown?

    • Dame TylerRose. says:

      The dom also has the right of consent. They can say no. They can withdraw consent. “subby has the power” is a lie. A d/s relationship is inherently imbalanced in that regard.

      This entire piece is about how the submissive does NOT give constant consent. How they can give it once and it covers the entire relationship. This piece specifically says the sub is GIVING UP that control in a number of ways.

      I don’t espouse submissive-led relationships. I don’t support the “power of the golden subby pussy gift is in control”. Being the submissive is specifically about handing over control and acquiescing to the will of the OTHER person.

      If “the sub is in control”, then at what point exactly are they submitting? Answer: They’re not.

      A lot of women were fed this lie that being the submissive in a relationship means no longer having any responsibility for anything. They seem to think it means they no longer have to adult anymore. Yet they’re told they are still in control.

      Well, if you want to control and have dah powah, then you also have to bear the responsibility for your actions, choices, and decisions.

      If you want the control, be the dominant.

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