Creating A Safety Net – Revisiting Consent

Hello again, my lovely readers! Due to some recent consent violations that have been coming up in the local kink community as well as online and around other kink communities, I’ve decided to revisit the topic of consent. Again, it is a simple concept that can seem complicated but doesn’t have to be. There are gray areas that pop up and it can get messy, but the fix can be relatively simple – ask! But what all can you do to clarify and stay within the boundaries of consent, even when mistakes occur?

I still stand by the idea that it is a simple concept because it’s the use of “yes!” and “sure!” and “heck yes!” versus the use of “no” and “I’m not sure” and “oh my goodness nonononooo!”. Consent comes down to whether a person agrees to something and consent violations occur when someone else either willingly crosses that line that’s been drawn or ignorantly crosses a boundary without checking in first before going full steam ahead. A good example of how that can end poorly is butt stuff. When someone wants it, the muscles are relaxed and pleasure ensues! However, if it’s not something they want or something they’re not prepared for it can be awkward at best but can also be painful and even damaging. No surprise butt stuff! Unless that’s been negotiated, of course. Same goes for other surprises and boundaries. The consequences can range from a “hey, I really didn’t appreciate that” to the end of a relationship to legal trouble.

Now, with all of that said, gray areas can and do happen! It’s very easy to get caught up in the moment which is why tops also have the ability to call yellow or red (if using the traffic signal method) in order to regulate themselves or stop things before it gets too unclear, messy, risky, or whatever else. They also have the responsibility of not going beyond what they have discussed or negotiated and be able to maintain the control to avoid doing so. Reckless does not pair well with tops. Madness can suit many people! Reckless does not. Bottoms also can speak up when things maybe don’t turn out the way they expected and change their mind rather than bearing it or if they can feel themselves entering subspace and know they lose the ability to communicate but didn’t prepare for that or want to express caution. In relationships where there is more rapport and trust, those discussions may not need to happen as much or as in depth because you know each others desires and cautions and hard limits and hopefully respect those!

However, things happen. As a community, we are dealing with emotions and intensity and passion and energy exchange and sex and relationships and love and fun and exploration and so much more! That is where the complexity comes in. Not everyone is comfortable speaking up, bottom or top or whatever you identify as. Not everyone realizes that the discomfort they are feeling is too much for them to process in the moment. Maybe they are in a state of shock and freeze or flee instead rather than fight back or at least speak up. Maybe in the moment all of the good feelings make the bad ones feel fuzzy and it’s when it all settles down again later, minutes, hours, days after that they can process things and realize “Hey, that’s not what I agreed to” or “wait did that really happen?”. Because of the vulnerability involved in kink, no matter how small, it relies on trust between partners be it casual or serious but also can put you in a position where you may not know how to react or even be able to like if someone suddenly brings out the big scary toy while you’re so deep in subspace all you want is more of what you’re feeling. It can seem black and white, but as relationships build more gray seems to come in. Sometimes, the lack of a relationship can make things pretty darn gray too!

Now, does it all mean it’s a big, serious event? It depends. Each person has their thresholds and what might be a consent violation to one person could be something another person can brush off. What matters is communication before, during, and after! Feedback is important for all parties in involved even if it’s as simple as a “that was great! Thanks for the fun!” or more towards “it wasn’t quite what I expected. This went well but that wasn’t what I had imagined” and so on and so forth. Sometimes just having the space to talk things out and get on the same page can help lessen some of the rough emotions going on when things don’t go as planned. Much smoother than if those words don’t come out and the emotions swirl into something bigger or darker. It can also help with sub drop or top drop, too, because of the reassurance for those that need it or maybe didn’t realize they needed it.

Emotions are not logical or straightforward and can be quite unpredictable. Being able to process them or at least have the space opened up to do so can be a big help even if it’s by checking in and offering a quick reassurance in minor situations before they part ways to continue processing. Additionally, things can change because emotions are so unpredictable. Perhaps you find an invisible trigger and switches on a freeze response mid scene. Perhaps you’re trying out a fantasy and it feels much better as a fantasy than a reality. Maybe they’ve had a rough week and that stroke was just the right one to unleash all of the stress from the week and they lose their composure. Maybe nature decided that it’s the perfect time to be that time of the month and anyone be damned if they make a sensitive area ache more! Life is messy, unpredictable, and brings together so many things just as much as it can be fun, passionate, wild, and thrilling. We’re also not mind readers. When life gets messy and decides to break open the dam of stress during a scene or trigger a panic attack because of something that happened a different time in a different place with a different person, it’s just as much our responsibility to let our play partners know as it is theirs to check in and make sure they’re clear about what we want and can handle when it comes to play.

Unless we are doing kink on our own, there is never a way to fully tell how our lives will impact a scene or others let alone ourselves. Then again, that’s just life in general. Its using our words and doing our best to listen and discuss and get on the same page that can help keep things fun. And when mistakes are made or an unpleasant surprise accidentally occurs, it’s using our words and doing our best to listen and discuss and get on the same page that will help validate the experience and learn, grow be it by making a mental note of a newfound limit or realizing an incompatibility or just needing a small break to step back and rebuild trust to play again. I say this often but ultimately the goal of exploring our kinks is to have fun and enjoy ourselves and communication helps make that easier!

Now, I do want to make one more note. Unfortunately, severe consent violations do happen. It can take more courage to speak up especially if there’s other factors at play like gaslighting. Talking things out may or may not help. But it can provide closure and can also maybe add to a chain of events that can prevent the same from happening to someone else either by making the perpetrator aware or making others aware. In situations like rape or assault, no amount of talking might prevent that egregious consent violation. Some predators will not and do not want to change. But talking to someone, even if it’s not them but a close friend or mentor or whomever you can trust with this, it can help whether it be just having someone who knows what happened and that can provide support when the pangs of what happen hurt a little too much or going further and involving community leaders to take steps to minimize the possibility of another occurrence. No matter what step you take, it’s a step filled with bravery in the face of pain and anguish and will make a difference. You don’t have to be alone.

No matter the situation, you have a voice and it matters. Anyone who says otherwise does not deserve to share in the words from your lips and the thoughts from your mind, especially the deepest and darkest parts of you.

Take care of yourself. Take care of each other. We’re a community. And, ultimately, have fun!

Love always,

Miss Lunissa ❤

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