How does one talk about consensual non-consent (CNC), a form of play which, frankly, goes against all the tenets learned upon entering the scene? CNC by design is generally opposed to SSC (safe, sane, and consensual) and goes into areas many consider dangerous, risky, and flat-out unacceptable. Quite frankly, it’s the sort of thing many outside of the scene will use to condemn those in it.
So what is CNC exactly? It’s kinky-improv, a no-holds-barred, generally impact-free scene between two like-minded individuals with seemingly little regard for consent or safewording. Often enough it’s referred to as “rape play” and the trappings can indeed mimic sexual assault to someone watching who’s not cognizant of what’s actually going on.
Of course, CNC play does involve both safewords and consent, but not necessarily in the way that we tend to be taught upon entering the scene. It takes a tremendous amount of trust and understanding between partners yet, surprisingly (IME) little actual negotiation. More on that in a minute.
It’s my experience that many who are brand new to the scene (and young to boot, often under 25) gravitate almost immediately to CNC play. And that seems crazy and irresponsible; CNC is hardcore, advanced play, the sort of thing which should only be engaged in by those with lots of experience, who know what they want and accept the rather extensive possible risks.
And, of course, you find the right partner; someone with whom you have absolute chemistry, who groks what you want, and you grok similarly with them. Yet finding and recognizing that person tends to involve lots of experience, at least on one side of the equation.
As always, I can only speak from my personal experience. Your mileage may vary (YMMV).
The concept of CNC had long appealed to me, ever since I’d first gone to a presentation in the deep, dark days of 2009. What they were doing seemed wrong, even as it was incredibly hot. The couple in question obviously were completely in sync, but how had they gotten there?
It was something I consequently brought up with my next two partners. Both loved the concept; we discussed and negotiated many times. Yet even as we seemed otherwise in sync, somehow we couldn’t make it work.
It seemed full of artifice, overly rehearsed; certainly there were guidelines, limits, and safewords. But once the scene began it felt as if we were going through a script, filming a movie. It was fun for sure, but not really what we’d both hoped for.
Enter my new girl.
The first time I tied her up, she immediately began fighting back, as if she didn’t want to be there. She was terrified, angry, and struggling, trying to pull away from me; even as I would grab the bonds, manhandling her roughly.
She repeatedly said “No,” “Stop it,” “Let me go!” and similar pronouncements. When I went to add a ballgag she fought back just the right amount before letting me buckle it on, at which point she angrily gagtalked while trying to push it out.
In short, she was doing almost exactly what I wanted, even though we’d never really discussed this in any detail. I would periodically whisper stage directions into her ear; more intense here, struggle to get away now, pretend you don’t want me to touch your pussy, don’t let me grab your nipple. Each time she seemed to exactly intuit what I wanted and performed perfectly.
Because, to a large degree, that’s what CNC is, a performance, kinky improv for two people. It’s not necessarily something which can be negotiated or taught. It’s something which needs to be felt.
And that, honestly, is rare.
In the end, I can’t recommend that you dive into CNC without doing a great deal of research, preferably with real people, in meatspace, said people having a fair amount of experience.
When it’s great, it can be fantastic, transcendent even.
But when it’s bad, it can be dangerous and traumatic, triggering.
Be careful with this one friends; it can fuck you up.