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Consent (Teens and BDSM)

 

Yes Means Yes

 

Several events both recently and not so recently have led me to this topic. I’ll start with the not so recent and you’ll forgive me, but I won’t go into too much detail, for the simple facts that: a) this was at least a decade ago for me, b) it really wasn’t that big a deal, and c) there are many much worse stories out there.

When I was a junior in high school a small situation arose during a biology class, some kind of small group activity. Some sleazy classmate whose name, face, and character I remember vividly sidled up to me and put his arm around me. Ew! Well, like I said, there are worse stories. But my private space was, indeed, violated. That contact with that person at that moment was not welcome.

And more recently, a situation happened with my sister. Again, it could have been worse, but her situation was more traumatizing than mine. A boy she was very close to and who she repeatedly told that she thought of as a brother – in woman speak: not relationship material. Well, he took a first kiss from her, without asking. I told her that if someone takes it from you without your consent,  it doesn’t count as your first. She is still feeling blindsided about what happened, and needless to say, she does not view this boy in the same way anymore. In fact, he probably just lost out on one of the best friends ever.

So this leads into the topic of this post.

Consent. noun.

1. Compliance in or approval of what is done or proposed by another

2.  Agreement as to action or opinion

What I’ve noticed among teens (and even in talking with my sister, my bridge to the youth of today), is that some of them think that once you become sexually active, you lose the right to say “no.” Once you’ve done it,  you have to keep on doing it. Perhaps there are even some adults who feel this way, a sense of duty or obligation to fulfill their partner’s sexual needs.

For those who still think that way, allow me to impart a new concept. You are not responsible for another person’s sexual fulfillment. This is why we can self-pleasure. Even within a relationship, you can have the feeling of not wanting to have sex. If this is an ongoing situation, you probably want to have a chat with your partner (maybe even with a Sex therapist or counselor) about the mismatch in your libidos. But every so often, other things come up. You’re tired, stressed, upset, worried, etc. and getting into the sack with your partner is the farthest thing from your mind. So of course there is consent within a relationship. It’s not always stated every time something sexy is about to happen; after people have been together for a while, they can read each other pretty well. So when a partner says “no,” in general, both they the one they are saying it to, take it to mean “not right now” or “not tonight.” [Please note that I am not talking about abusive relationships where the word “no” is disregarded.]

While there can be situations of implicit consent like within a long-term relationship, in the world of kink and BDSM, consent must be more explicit as well as negotiated before a scene happens. Because a lot of what goes on when playing with BDSM can potentially inflict (permanent) bodily harm, some people in the lifestyle use the acronym R.A.C.K. – Risk Aware Consensual Kink to describe what they practice – they are aware, informed, and play as safely as possible within their boundaries. [Note that this is kind of the “new and improved” version on SSC – Safe Sane Consensual kink.]

In a lot of scenes, people are turned on at the idea of resisting. Part of the desires of the person who is bottoming might be to use the words “no” or “stop” or “help.” In these cases, people opt for something called a Safe Word. This is a word to be used in case something in the scene goes wrong. The person is losing feeling in an arm from rope that got too tight; the spot that is being spanked is getting sensitive and they’d like it to stop; something emotional from their past was triggered and they need the scene to stop. In any case, the Safe Word is a word that would never come up within sex or the scene that is happening, like Aardvark or Massachusetts (for example).  Other people like to use the Red, Yellow, Green system. It’s exactly what you would think: like the stop light system when we are on the road. Green – means everything is fine, keep going; Yellow – can mean slow down, not in that spot, I need to scratch my nose, we need to adjust something, but play can resume; and Red – means this scene needs to end (for any number of reasons). So, you can see this system is much more effective and informative that yelling “No” in a scene where you wanted to resist.

As I mentioned before, these intense scenes are discussed in detail beforehand. You would have a discussion of what you are physically capable of and limitations; what your goal is; and hard limits, which will differ for everyone (for example, You can beat  me with a flogger til I bruise, but don’t dare tickle me).

I will share another personal story. About a month ago, I went to a kink event. I came home bruised and happy from a little scene I was fortunate to be apart of. The interesting thing was this bruise kind of exploded over the next couple days. [I was fine, it was just scary looking if you’re not used to that.] Well, because I am a considerate individual, I didn’t want to flaunt it around my family and was very careful about it. Later that week, I kind of forgot about it, and happened to be changing and my sister glanced over. Well, she definitely gave me a piece of her mind (not very positive). But this allowed me to defend my position. The events which led to that mark, were between consensual adults, and nothing I did is shameful or wrong. By the same token, I explained to her that this is something that I  am into but she  does not have to be into. It’s a “live and let live” situation. I’m sure when I was her age, I would have had a similarly aghast reaction to the situation.

To sum up (because I know I got a little tangential in this post), as individuals we each have the right to our own bodies and sexuality. No one has the right to force anything upon you or violate your space. I think this should start at a very young age. When children are beginning to learn the names for their body parts, they should learn about “Good touch and Bad touch.” We should all have the right to say No to touch that is unwanted. Know your own body and what you like.  Become informed.

5 Comments

  1. kittydeluxxe

    Interesting article. And interesting experiences you have.

    Reply
  2. Meita

    It is in reality a nice and helpful piece of info. I’m happy that you shared this useful info with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  3. lissa16b

    Thank you for suggesting this article. I applaud you, very well done. It hits some very good points. Communication is key in my opinion to a happy, and healthy sex life. One of the biggest problems particularly with very young people having sex, is that they haven’t developed a strong set of communication skills to have the kind of mature conversations needed before becoming intimate. This can leave many having confusing and mixed feelings about their early sexual encounters. Not only does one have the right to say no, but also they have the right to say what they want to fulfill them sexually as well, and many teenagers are not comfortable with discussing that either. It’s a very complicated topic for sure. I’m glad I read your article.
    Till next time.
    Melissa

    Reply
  4. The Sexual Operator

    I like the poster. The university from which I graduated has recently begun to address its out-of-hand rape issue. Their campaign has a dove with a branch and the words “sexual assault will not be tolerated”. Its embarrassingly ineffective. I am intrigued by other school’s efforts to discourage rape and encourage communication. While at the Institute, do yall ever talk about how to create a successful anti-rape campaign?

    Reply
    1. vixenne87

      Thanks for your comment! The graphic is not mine. It was circulating around my friends and colleagues Facebook pages a few months back and decided to “borrow” for this post. As far as I know, the Institute has not spoken about creating an anti-rape campaign. If they have, it was before I was there. Ours is a very small school, with much of the workload conducted from home; classes are in session for about 3 weeks 3 times a year. So for us, I’d say it’s not an issue, as far as I am aware.

      Reply

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