Tuesday, 19 March 2013

On "no" meaning "no"

I have just published an exchange on Uncle Agony with a husband who believes his wife wants him to take the initiative in sex and to control her. You can read the post here. (Do please add any thoughts or advice for my correspondent there.)

It has got me thinking though about the wider issue of consent in sexual play.

In the example J believes his wife wants him to tame her. She is strong and controlling herself but he believes she desires to be tamed, for him to fight for control of her in a sexual context. Clearly if the scenario was agreed and discussed beforehand then this could take place as a play scene and they could have fun with it.

However that would remove the reality from it. She would no longer be being taken as she had already given her consent.

Many women have a "rape fantasy" though none would want ever to be raped. Some couples engage in "rape play" scenarios. These can even be contrived into very sophisticated scenarios. However for some women they are wanting their husband to truly take control and decide when, where and how sex should take place.

In such cases how can consent be assumed? How does one avoid it turning into real rape?

I would be interested in reading general comments here and ones specific to J on the Uncle Agony blog post.

Do any readers have direct experience of this?


tori said...

I do think it is about consent, but 'blanket' consent, so rather than consent being sought every time, its given on the understanding it cannot be revoked.

There are times that im not particularly in the mood for sex, but i dont refuse him and generally i very quickly get in the mood....he knows how to get me going.

Sometimes i like the element of 'force' whereby i start off not wanting it and i may protest initially but when he doesnt back down, and it gets forcefull that in itself turns me on. So its all win win really.

I would say what avoids it turning into real rape is the dominant really knowing his submissive, and that there is no real fear....i would imagine most dominants wouldnt want to damage their submissive mentally or physically intentionally.

Not sure if i explained that well.

Anna May said...

When I started my relationship with my Dom at the time, we discussed a lot, talk about my likes dislikes, my limits, fantasies,every aspect of it. He knew byond a reasonable doubt what I liked and what I did not and how to push me byond some of the boundaries with confidence.

As we both got more comfortable with the situation he would push me more but it was a process...it was him reading me, because he knew enough about me to do so.

My point being that it is not about who has the control while discussing it, it is about being aware to prevent any mishaps that can happen with miscommunication. No means No until it has been discussed, and agreed upon.

Pygar said...

Is it not the case tori that consent can always be revoked? I take your point though that if it is just a matter of choosing when to revoke it on any particular occasion then 'blanket' consent has not truly been given.

Perhaps with this type of 'blanket' consent then the agreement should be that it cannot be revoked on individual occasions but only the whole agreement.

Thanks for your personal reflections on how you get turned on through the fact of him being forceful even though you may not have been in the mood at the start.

I like the way you explain the difference of this from rape is the lack of fear. You are right I hope that most dominants would not want intentionally to damage their submissive, mentally or physically.

Thanks for starting off the discussion so interestingly.

P xx

Pygar said...

Thank you Anna May for your perspective that, "No means No until it has been discussed, and agreed upon."

I think this is a good tenet to hold and ensures safety and prevention of harm. Clearly taking the time to know someone well - their needs, desires and fears - is a part of the building of a good D/s relationship which in turn will engender mutual trust and respect.

I think the difference in the case I discussed here on Uncle Agony though is that it is not be just one aspect of a D/s relationship or part of BDSM play. Rather it is the key part of a relationship where the wife is in many ways dominant but in the one area of sex she wants her husband to take full control and make the decisions. Indeed she wants him to act without her express permission.

Do you think this changes it at all or do you think he needs to have a proper discussion first to get the kind of "blanket consent" that tori discussed above?

P xx

nbs said...

In your reply to Anna May, you asked if a proper discussion had to be had to get the blanket consent before going ahead.
I really think it does have to be discussed first. A blanket consent can be given and then the couple can go ahead.

Sir and I have revisited our bdsm checklist 3 or 4 times in the past 3 years.

We've not found any particular specific change but the conversations that were prompted by rereading the answers from three years ago has been very interesting.

Some things have changed a lot.. I now enjoy canes where once it was too harsh for me to even contemplate. And other things are pretty much where we started out.. but it is always good to talk about different scenarios as our relationship develops.

He most certainly pushes me and I never really know when.. but when all is over, I'm always glad he has gone ahead and done the pushing. I agreed to being pushed as a general idea. I don't know exactly what it might be on any given day or week or month.. {these things can take time ~!}

Interesting conversation and not easy to say exactly how each couple figures out what works for them.

tori said...

Yes i think consent can always be revoked but i think if it gets to that point then there are problems in the overall relationships, doesnt mean there not able to be fixed but its a sign that perhaps more communication and understanding is needed.

As has been said its not something just to be decided on a whim, it really does mean knowing each other well and lots of discussion.

Pygar said...

Thank you nbs for your interesting account of how it works in your relationship. I believe you are right in a bdsm context - that things have to be discussed and agreed in advance, that things change as the relationship develops and that good communication is at the heart of it.

I suppose though that the reason I am continuing to question is that the Uncle Agony discussion was not about a typical bdsm relationship. In that case it was more about a developing dynamic of who was in charge in different circumstances. It might be that the wife took the lead in some aspects of the relationship - but that she was hoping for the husband to do so in others - especially sex.

I think there may be many relationships where couples do not see themselves as having a D/s relationship and certainly have not looked into the bdsm scene. However they are keen to investigate the power exchanges within their relationship.

I think it is in this area that the question of consent can become very difficult.

Does that make any sense????

- P xx

Pygar said...

I agree tori. Communication is the key.

Perhaps if in the example I was creating in the discussion with nbs above that communications had been good then there would be no problem.

The problem arises when each partner in the couple is trying to second guess the other.

Though perhaps that mystery also brings about excitement ...

In the end though, as you say, if the couple do not know each other well and fail to communicate - on whatever level - then problems are bound to occur.

Thanks for your thoughtful comments.

P xx

sinister_ali said...

this is a tough one. I think every couple has there own dynamic. Master Rick initiates sex all the time at odd moments. in the van, hiking, in dressing rooms, when im cleaning house etc. he takes charge and makes it happen. if i don't protest we proceed. if I'm mot feeling it we stop. maybe its my past scars that leads him but hes always really careful to make sure I'm not doing something i don't want too or hes not hurting me in any way. its hard to claim rape when a couple is married but if she is making it clear she isn't in the mood and he doesn't stop, i feel he has issues. we have safe words but iv never had to use them.

Pygar said...

Thanks for your personal perspective ali. It is right that within your relationship Mater Rick is still very cognisant of your mood and your wishes when he initiates activities. Clearly for you as with everyone 'no' should mean 'no'.

P xx