Updated: Aug 2, 2019
No BDSM can take place without proper consent, if missing, it’s just abuse. Popular depictions of kink often completely neglect to show this essential step of our activities. Respecting your boundaries and those of others cannot be emphasized enough. You will need to cultivate self-awareness in order to listen to your limits but also be vigilant in requesting permission every time before engaging into interactions.
As per Royal Canadian Mounted Police brochure: Respect Sexual Consent (1)
Consent is feeling…
Consent is not feeling…
Drunk or high
You can find extensive material on sexual consent for free online and I encourage you to watch the videos:
“Tea consent” by Emmeline May and Blue Seat Studio(2)
“The Wheel of Consent” by Betty Martin (3)
A rule of thumb even if it feels trivial or ridiculous is to ask anyway. Don’t fall in the trap of assumptions and you will stay safe. The more you practice actively seeking consent, the better your communication skills will get and eventually your negotiation process will become seamless and natural.
Be happy when receiving a “no” and thank the person for taking care of themselves and for respecting who they are. It’s hard to decline a request specially when you care about someone. Reciprocally, appreciate the diligence of the one asking you for consent.
At first, you may feel awkward asking for permission every step of the way, particularly if you have been in a relationship for a long time. Nevertheless, you still have the responsibility to obtain consent no matter if you have just met or known each other your whole life.
You will be surprised by the transformation power of active consent and how much you will learn on each other using it.