Kink is a power exchange.
How do you KNOW as a Top/Dom/Domme/Master/Sir/Mistress etc (collectively “Top”) that you have the consent of your submissive?
As a submissive, how do you come to the decision to choose to relinquish your power safely? How do you choose your Top?
Let’s be honest, as a Top, if you did some of the things that run-of-the-mill kink play routinely involves to a person who had NOT given you their consent, you might very well get charged, arrested, prosecuted and convicted.
Kink is a coin with two sides. It only works if the Top and the Bottom, the Dom and the Sub, the Master and the slave are in alignment and it works best when there is full unconstrained communication.
One of the toughest aspects around the issue of monitoring consent during a scene is that both the Dom and the sub often experience mind-altering states that often makes clear communication difficult.
Kink is intense. It is a must to negotiate the parameters from a place of clarity, and I would argue, with complete authenticity.
There is good reason to discuss what is on the table (bondage, impact play, needles, gags, and/or dildos, for instance) as well as for how long, how intense, and what the limits are.
Do you as a sub, know your limits? Are you wanting to test your limits? As a Dom, are you someone who understands how to stretch limits within the boundaries of hard limits? Do you have an agreement on aftercare?
Hard limits, those things you just won’t do, must be stated and agreed to without reservation.
Kink requires safe words…I like the Yellow/Red combination. What does red mean? Do you end the scene or just move on to some other aspect of play? What about yellow? If I am flogging my sub and she says “yellow” what that means in our dynamic is “back off a bit, but please continue.”
When he/she says “I give you my consent” do you know what that means for him/her, do you understand his/her limits hard and soft? Do you know what he/she is expecting, for how long you have his/her consent? Do you know what his/her safe words are, and the way he/she understands them?
There is an argument, especially in pick-up-play, to be made for ongoing clarifications and requests for consent to be made as the scene progresses in order to keep the participants on the same page. For example, “I am going to spank you now with my bare hand, do I have your consent?” After spanking him/her ask “I am going to increase the intensity, do I have your consent?” And so on.
The most important part of the negotiation is really what happens after play, and what I call “the debriefing”. It is during the discussion about what was done and how it went that you come to agreement about what works and what does not. What is desired and what is designated as off limits, and not to be part of future play.
Ongoing dynamics are negotiated power exchanges that do not generally require repetitive conversations about consent, but in even well-established dynamics, there is a need to make sure that the play evolves keeping both parties fully engaged in the experience.
As a Dom, my view is that for me, a total power exchange is the perfect dynamic. Even in that dynamic, because my submissive has agency, whenever we introduce new experiences in play, there is a conversation before, during and after that addresses how she is doing, is she wanting more of what we are doing, does she want harder impact, should we go on longer etc. The point is that we live in a 24/7 TPE and we enjoy an energetic connection that requires no words, so when we do new things, we speak a lot about how it lands and how she likes it and how I can expand her limits and so on. Consent is an ongoing conversation that we always engage in.
Why do I say that one should be their authentic self when giving or seeking consent or negotiating limits? Think about this, if you are a dreamy sub and have all the feels for the Dom you are negotiating with and he says “I am into knife play” and for you, it’s a hard limit, but you don’t want to disappoint and so you say “It’s a soft limit”, then you go into a play session with a major concerns and you cannot relax and you are worried he is going to pull out a knife and you are worried about being cut and worse. The scene will not go well for you or him. If you were your authentic self, and you said, “that’s a hard limit”, then you would have no concerns about being cut or poked or scratched etc. He might have been disappointed, and he might have made an attempt to negotiate. He might share that his way of engaging in knife play may not be about cutting you, but instead be about getting you to move for him to avoid being cut, for example, and it may be something you come to try and enjoy and look forward to, but since you pretended to be interested in it, your head never got into subspace during the scene….and so I think that it is best to be authentic. Only agree to things you know you can handle on either side of the slash.
If you are new at kink, there is a lot to consider in negotiating with a play partner. First, are you chatting with someone with the same goal? Is this pickup play, are you thinking longer term? Are you clear what the experience level is? Do you have knowledge of the tools planned to be used? Is there attraction? Are you clear in your thinking? Do you have a friend you are in communication with that knows where you are going and who you are with? Are you negotiating about an evening or a weekend or longer? Does the person with whom you are negotiating scratch your itch? Do they understand what you are seeking exactly? Will there be penetration? Do you require condom use? There are so many details to get right. The main thing is to be in communication so that if a detail gets missed, there is a pathway to resolving the issue.
There comes a decision point in any negotiation. A point where, as a Dom, you get to ask the sub to give you her consent. When I was in this situation with a new potential partner, I would have her go off in private to do a task I requested in order to set the stage. After she made the decision to give her consent, in order to demonstrate that she was in fact giving me her consent, the last step to bring the negotiation to an end and to begin the scene, I would give her a butt plug and lube and send her to the bathroom so she could have one more opportunity to consider what came next, and a chance for her to choose to go forward or not in private without any pressure. She was given the choice to go and insert it, with the instruction to bring me her underwear by way of confirming that she was giving me her consent. I have met with prospective subs where they chose to go forward and sometimes, they chose not to go forward. Kink is as intimate as it gets. If a sub chose not to go forward, I would always honor her choice, no questions asked. She must choose to submit from my point of view. Period.
In the case of negotiating around discipline rather than play, when I negotiate with a sub for hard impact play or brutal punishment as in the context of a discipline where accountability is the issue and sexual contact is not at issue. In this case, I require her to give me her consent on video with her spoken words so that if there was a later dispute, that would be time stamped evidence.
Kink is very exciting, It’s very hot. It’s risky and edgy, and it’s super fun. BUT it’s only those things when both sides of the slash are in full agreement without constraint.
Be smart. Negotiate from a place of complete authenticity, and reach agreements that allow you to play unreservedly. Otherwise, how can you give your consent or accept the consent of your play partner?
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