Consent and its Place in SM Sex
At first the sting of the whip, and the reddening of her ass felt wonderful, but
Carrie knew that the pain would soon become unbearable, despite her stating
“refrigerator,” her “safe” word. . .


Carrie’s example shows us how important consent is in SM, or rather sado-
masochism sex play. The most obvious reason consent is important in SM play is
the risk of injury and the potential for unwanted danger is avoided. In addition,
with understood consent, trust is developed, making the experience more
enjoyable to the participants. Reasons for non-consenting play do exist, however
these occur only under certain circumstances. When dealing with SM, there is a
greater risk of injury and of danger than missionary position sex, simply
because of the dynamics of it. When an individual is being tied up the way in
which the ropes are tied, how a person is suspended, and whether or not the
person has revealed confidential information to be used in the scene all aid to
create a potentially dangerous situation. When in bondage, the struggles and
wriggles of your partner desperately trying to escape your teasing might tighten
a rope of poor quality and/or singularly tied around a wrist, creating major
veins to stop circulating . The danger might not even seem obvious until it is
too late. It is possible though highly unlikely that one could lose the usage of
one’s hands. Often in SM sex, extremely intimate information is given to your
partner, for example a fantasy. If the fantasy involves play that mainstream
American society might not find acceptable, a deeper level of trust would most
likely be necessary. Many human beings have rape fantasies. Do they want to
actually be raped? The answer to me is very clear, absolutely not. The fantasy,
is not about the violent act that rape actually is. It is about control, that
control given to another, the feeling that there is no choice. The most
significant difference I know of between an SM rape scene and the real thing is
there is trust be it even if it is peoples unknown to each other and a third
party has set up the scene. There is a conscious giving of consent. A SM rape
scene, must have a great deal of consent. Many men (and some women) seek out
professional Mistresses, Masters, submissives, or someone who has revealed a
want or need to experience what they themselves enjoy. Someone whom they are
pretty much assured that there will not be trust problems, for example a
revealing of identities, as in the case of a high profile person. Also the play
is generally a place of comfort to experience what they truly enjoy and possibly
can not in their “real” life. With this type of relationship the trust often
needs to comes close to intuition coupled with a little time sharing what each
will and won’t do. Consent to some degree is already given, yet even here it
needs to be established. The real difference is that play is often so removed
from participant’s lives that it no longer affects their normal life. They are
not laughed at for wanting to choke on a beautiful women’s high heel, whereas
their spouse would not hesitate in calling a mental hospital at the mere mention
of the thought. Disaster can still occur, for a “scene” cannot be written with
a signed approval (it can but the enjoyment that can only be found in
spontaneity, would definitely be lost). Yet, this very factor creates the
potential for millions of things to go in a direction unsafe for the people not
directing the action.

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In any sexual engagement, my ultimate satisfaction comes from bringing my
partner to a most gratified state. To have him or her look at me with their eyes
begging for more without sound is indescribable. Knowing that they are there
for me; knowing that what I need for the scene to be great is a pushing of
thresholds more than ever thought possible and “going there”; knowing that what
I need for the session to go well has been taken care of; these are a few of my
needs. Checking that I and anyone involved is in a good place is very important
for me. This includes an age check. Laws have been established in this country
to protect children from harm for they cannot “give” consent. Yet there are
many adults who, although they are well into adulthood, are unable to figure out
and accept the responsibility of personal consent. If Carrie had a partner who
was aware of her needs and the established “safety” word she would not dread
another scene in which she was disrespected. Each a bottom and top hold
powerful positions to control what occurs in a given scene. Yet if a top, the
dominant one, does not heed the warning from their trusting subject than they
might find themselves without a partner very soon. Safe words are used to add
to the scene by having all those involved know that there is complete freedom to
go any where until that word is stated. I have even heard of different levels
and meanings representing different things , such as slow down instead of stop.

This again allows individuals to explore and expand their area of play. To
unknown proportions, often only in retrospect have I personally thought I could
be taken “there”, taken one step beyond which, as I stated is the ultimate
experience. Possibly this is the exact reason so much of SM parties is merely
observing other’s technique style and expertises, aside from the purely erotic
side of watching others, which brings me to another area. Many people I have
known involved in the scene find it important to join a leather, SM, gay and /or
lesbian club, organization, or group. Possibly it is a need to be surrounded by
others that would not judge as harshly. These clubs and groups are often places
to meet others that you can play with. There are a lot of people that bring
someone merely curious about the scene. What truly permeates these meetings is
the presence of trust ant the understanding of consent. Without these factors,
meetings would deteriorate into rape and torture festivals. Consent, in play
with someone as stated, gives privileges. It also encompasses a greater trust,
one involving life and death or, at least, a risk of disease. If an individual
is using equipment used in a scene that involved blood and sexual aids, such as
dildos, medical devises, and an enormous and ever expanding list of other items,
there is a tremendous responsibility of those playing to wash clean and/or throw
away items that pose any threat. Because the partners’ consent stems from trust,
there should be an understanding of guidelines involving physical safety.

There are some cases when non-consenting SM play could have advantages or could
be unavoidable. Advantages could occur when one plays with a new player or
possibly with someone they have not been with before. Either each person would
give a detailed questionnaire, or, in a more casual setting, one might just be
taken by physique and begin with not many words at all. The individual on top
then needs to continually watch for what is “O.K” , but the excitement is in the
exploration. All people involved should know that they have a way to give all
or, as I like, do anything to please, yet retain the right to refuse. When
date-rape came to the public’s attention colleges across the country scrambled
to figure out codes to establish how far was too far. But in SM play can this
happen? Time shared, spent experiencing every nuance and possibly entertaining
extremely limited play are ways of not crossing a boundary. What we would be
left with would be a very sterile boring time. To some people in the SM scene
new partners and experiences with your partner need to allow for occasional
non-consenting . Is it possible to establish a SM scene that is acceptable to
those involved? I hope the answer is yes. I know that to achieve this, effort
and/or time might help. The greatest enjoyment will be reached if this effort is
given. Difficulties arise with such a tremendously large amount of nuances to a
field in which hardly any time has been given to . We do not know why Joe up the
street likes to flash young boys, or why Mary has sex once a week with her
husband and does not know how to reach an orgasm except by masturbating, and we
definitely do not know why Carrie keeps coming back for more, hoping her
partner does start to understand what she needs and wants. What we do know is
that in all these situations consent is an almost mandatory factor. Consent is
what makes combining whips, needles, electricity, and the human body safe.


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