Monday, March 23, 2015

Consent: A play in one act

Scene: A munch, sometime before today.
Your friendly, neighborhood wench
Danny (her main squeeze)
Skippy: A male acquaintance
Skippy—speaking to Danny: “Do you mind if I do something to your wife?”

Danny: “Well, she isn’t my wife, yet, but, regardless, you should really ask her.”

Skippy: “But this thing could get me in trouble.”

Danny: “Again, she is an autonomous being—speak to her.”

Skippy turns to the wench in question and, without speaking to her, grabs her arm, pulls up her sleeve, and pinches her hard enough to leave two bruises.

Wench: “If you ever do that again, I will punch you, hard.”

Wench storms off stage left.

So, yeah, this happened—and sure, a pinch on the arm may not seem like a big deal to some, but it was—and what it says is huge. It says that, to some, my consent in this community means little. It says that if I am partnered with a man that this man must speak for me. It says that there are people out there who think they can grab a woman and cause her pain without any type of permission whatsoever. 

This isn’t the first time I have written about this (exhibit A), but this is the first time I walked away with actual bruises, and every time I think about it, it pisses me off all over again. I am just so tired of having to fight for what I feel should be assumed without question--namely, that I have ultimate control over what happens to my body.  

Yes, we are in a community that engages in power exchange. And sure, a woman may give the power of permission to some other individual—but if you want to know if that dynamic exists, ask her, and recognize that it is she who has given that power.  The default simply HAS to be that consent lies with the individual.

This is an important discussion because these consent violations are not always being committed by those we consider predators. Seriously. This guy is not the creepster that girls need to be warned about. He has sincerely apologized and will most likely not be making the same mistake any time soon. But it doesn’t really matter in the moment if the person who is treating you as less than a fully-functioning human being is misguided or an actual predator—it sucks either way. 

So—let’s make this simple: Don’t. If you do not have permission from or through the person whose body you want to touch--just don’t. That’s it.  Just. Fucking. Don’t.

Monday, March 2, 2015


In the last few months, I have become increasingly aware of the people in my life who are busy discovering totally new aspects of their sexuality or indulging in areas that are either different from that they present to the kink world or different from the part of their personality that I know so well. Straight men exploring bisexuality, tops enjoying a good whipping, bottoms happily and confidently directing their slaves, women enjoying masculinity as they define it, and men enjoying their femininity in the same way.
I have been doing what-it-is-that-we-do for what seems like a very long time, and in that time I have had my perceptions and pre-conceived notions challenged a number of times. Each time I have been deeply grateful that it happened--because every time it opened up this life, my life, in so many ways.
The first time I realized how nuanced BDSM can be, I was tied to a double cross in a hotel somewhere near LaGuardia in the late 90s and there was a man across from me making a lot of noise as he enjoyed a good flogging. I tuned the guy out until my own scene was finished, then I looked up and made eye contact and was startled to discover it was a man whose dominance/sadism had me totally awestruck earlier in the evening. Mind-fricking-blown.
Since that eye-opening moment, I have been through a few of my own gender/orientation bending changes as I have gone from straight to bisexual to pansexual, from submissive to switch to bottom to fairly meh about the whole power-exchange thing, and from neutral to masculine to feminine to who gives a fuck?
So--a couple of decades from that first encounter--I enter into a relationship with a heterosexual, non-power-exchange man, we move in together, we decide to get married, we plan our lives together, and he becomes a man whose status on the kink spectrum is constantly in flux.
I want him to experience all that he wants to experience, even when what he wants scares me. I love the feel of his energy as it reacts to new stimuli and the ways in which his world becomes larger as he discovers long-hidden parts of his nature.
I want, no, I need to be the person who gives him the freedom to explore, who encourages him, who provides safety and a soft place to land when his new vulnerability leads to pain.
And I need exactly the same thing from him, and from every one of my partners.
I need the freedom to be constantly in flux.