This is a post that is always a work in progress, as I listen to conversations and agree with so many perspectives. It’s also shifted in myself. Consent is something that is on and off screamed about on Fetlife, and trust is something stressed in the kink communities. When the flurry of writings come out, I try to sort out my own perspective and mixed emotions – especially when it came to my own experience of my trust being broken.
For a play person, consent is crucial. Safe words, negotiations, boundaries being respected are all important factors of the dynamic. Sure, there is trust, but the trust is that those consent pieces are respected. I also have a love/hate relationship with safe words – for a play partner, I keep them at the forefront of my mind; in a relationship I don’t think to use them unless it’s been negotiated prior – I want to go further down the rabbit hole and explore the strange curiosities of comfortably uncomfortable. Safe words imply that a boundary may be crossed due to a lack of awareness of a limit (which may be necessary in both play partners and relationships, but less so in a relationship as the person knows limits).
For a relationship, trust is crucial – consent less so. There is a level of trust that must exist in order for me to fully let go; I entrust things to someone else – including my well-being; I leave it up to that person in that moment. Trust is based on the unknown as well as the known – my partner knows me well enough for this relationship; I trust my partner to choose things specifically for me without my knowledge and based on what is best for me.
To think of it another way: when someone asked what you want at a restaurant and you say, “I’ll leave it up to you,” or “surprise me,” they will not order things that they know you despise. If you go on a date with someone, you strive to the next date – not push your own agenda without care for the other person. So too do I expect my partner to take the time to know me deeply, intimately, to know what I will not do, to push gently for that next step together and go at a pace that is conducive for us both.
I too take that same pace with them – I am not a passive participant.
This type of trust is built over time and carefully cultivated – hence the relationship aspect for me, and it is constantly evolving. It’s a delicate dance of patience and nurturing. And serious communication. It allows me to enter into gray areas, push past boundaries, experiment in a safe place.
Consent is black or white, broken or upheld to the highest degree. It hints at a lack of trust. Negotiation is fantastic, and often necessary in the beginning of two people who do not know each other, but there is something far sexier in the wonder of what’s next in a scene unfolding to me.
At a munch, someone asked the group, “how do you know if someone wants this,” and they replied communication, asking. These are simplistic ways, and truly a great thing, but mid scene I do not want to stop, nor am I going to the very limits of what is negotiated or something that they like. If someone gives a list of kinks, I’m not going to go down every one, I’m going to stroke a few carefully and watch for reactions.
Some examples: with The Wanderer:
“I test the waters, unsure of what he’ll allow…he’s a new partner and I want to please him. I am lucky in that I know a bit about him … but I don’t know what level he exerts dominance, what level of passivity or submission he expects from me.
So my fingertips lightly caress, then become bolder with hands, and then move from fabric to removing fabric, then from hands to mouth.
I never once push, ask, nor even communicate through body language that he should fuck me. I respect his boundary, as I am always very respectful and conscientious of any boundary given,” – Developing
Okay, now I play with the boundary in a teasing way for fun, though I would never push for sex – it is the boundary. I’ll still mimic the act of sex, grind myself down on his lap, bend over before he spanks me and bump my bottom against his pelvis – but it is clearly a tease and not trying to get away with something I shouldn’t – I only do things of his nature when he is fully clothed, wearing his chastity belt of pants as it were. Even to be comfortable enough to know that my teasing would be acceptable took patience and tiny trials, starts and stops to see how far our trust in each extended.
With Mr. Texas, we started exploring pain elements with safewords, now it is something that is not needed, nor rarely used unless discussed, so it is something I would not think to use unless discussed:
“I also, especially when I top him, realize that I am dealing with a man not used to coloring at all, so I listen to his body language, his words, his noises, and his actions and proceed cautiously, stopping far before he colors. If I force him to color, I warn him ahead of time that is my intent and do only one action (like bite down) until he remembers to use it.
Again, though, I don’t believe that I should only stop when he uses his safe word. If I am playing to the edge it is with someone I trust and who trusts me, someone that I have played with many times before, someone that will know my tells and listen to my body language the same way that I do theirs.” – Safeword Complication
Mr. Texas and I have extensive trust in each other, and we have certainly baby stepped our way into kink since he was inexperienced and I was untrusting (when he met me). It is this openness of being a strong foundation of exploration that allowed me to relax enough to try anal sex again and impact play has gone far more than any other in more variety of ways.
Before the fallout of my ex husband, he gave me the safe space to explore my sexuality and my world to kink (it was a mutual new experience for us both) without judgment. He pushed my boundaries far past what I thought I would be comfortable with, but it was gently, always (until the end) with the intent that the exploration continue and was comfortable with both of us.
I believe in both consent and trust – but my relationships are less about consent because I do trust them, boundaries are more gray areas, safewords not necessary as we read and know each other (though still there, if need be- a safeword would not be ignored). I cannot consent to a journey unknown.