I Can Consent To This
This is an excellent analysis, and long overdue.
As someone who enjoys consensual and loving “rough sex” and play that many non-kinky people would potentially consider abusive, it’s so important to me that it is made unarguably clear that I absolutely CAN consent to the sex I have.
I can consent to being hit. With implements I’ve agreed to, being used by someone who knows how to bruise and mark, in specific areas of my body, without breaking the skin. It does not mean I’ve consented to mindless violence.
I can consent to being choked. By someone who knows that it’s blood flow they’re constricting, and not my airways. Who understands that the power in the situation is in my hands. It does not mean I’ve consented to being strangled.
I can consent to being restrained. By someone who keeps a pair of scissors handy to cut any ropes that pull too tight. Who knows which knots are quick release. It does not mean I’ve consented to being tied in a way that traps nerves or cuts off feeling to extremities.
I consent to “rough sex” that has been discussed, adjusted, tried and tested. I consent to giving up control to someone for a finite amount of time. I consent to being hurt in a way that I genuinely enjoy because it releases endorphins and dopamine in a way nothing else does.
Research like this is so important for demonstrating that what we consent to in the BDSM community isn’t anything that leads to a horrific, violent death. We can’t consent to that.
The law is currently such a grey area around BDSM activities. Which is why I laid out so clearly the nuance of what I am and am not consenting to when it comes to play.
As kink becomes ever more mainstream, it’s more important than ever that we speak out about the agency we have to consent to specific things, knowingly and safely. At some point, the law is going to have to shift to reflect that a significant portion of society wants to play outside the box of “vanilla” sex, and stop brushing it under the carpet as something that “odd” people do.
I think it falls under a similar umbrella to things like marijuana being illegal. People are going to do it anyway, so we need ensure that they can access support if they need it, guides on staying safe, and how to use it in a positive way and what the warning signs are for calling quits on it. The usual case of “saying it’s not allowed is not going to stop people doing it”.
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