What BDSM Can Teach Us All About Consent

What about a submissive?

Mistress Clarissa: “The submissive offers the gift of their ‘submission’ to their Mistress or play partner. They may like to serve their Mistress by cooking, cleaning, running errands, driving, or doing admin because they gain pleasure from making their Mistress happy and relaxed. Submission involves a degree of selflessness and gaining pleasure from your Mistress’ pleasure. Over time, an incredibly strong emotional bond can be formed, where the submission and domination are given as expressions of care and, in some cases, love.”

Since Fifty Shades of Grey came into our lives, it seems everyone is clued up on what the previously hush hush concept of BDSM is, and the sales of whips and ties have gone through the roof. But the nuances of what the BDSM communities can teach us about sexual consent are actually a lot more than someone telling someone else what to do while wearing sexy underwear.

Actually, there are a strict set of rules in BDSM that define consent, and those who practice it live by the notion that it can be withdrawn at any time – something the wider world seems to sometime forget given the revelations around #MeToo this past year.

So what can BDSM teach the rest of us about conset? Two Dominatrixes, Mistress Clarissa and Miss Crush, spoke to MTV UK about the importance of BDSM consent and what the Vanilla community can learn from them.

But first, Courtney Act has a few things to say about consent too…

What is being a dominatrix all about?

Mistress Clarissa: “BDSM stands for Bondage Domination Sadism Masochism and a Dominatrix is female or female identifying person who assumes the Dominant role in BDSM activities. It’s practised by women who don’t subscribe to the conventional male-female power dynamic or to societal norms around gender and sexuality. The figure of the Dominatrix is an expression of female sexual power and is not limited as the passive object of male desire. A skilled Mistress uses her slaves’ sexual and emotional desire to control them and cement that control of their psyche. It requires physical strength, discipline, determination, emotional resilience, intelligence, a good grasp of psychology, practical and BDSM skills, some understanding of anatomy, first aid skills, charisma, creativity, beauty and compassion to be a Dominatrix.”







What about a submissive?

Mistress Clarissa: “The submissive offers the gift of their ‘submission’ to their Mistress or play partner. They may like to serve their Mistress by cooking, cleaning, running errands, driving, or doing admin because they gain pleasure from making their Mistress happy and relaxed. Submission involves a degree of selflessness and gaining pleasure from your Mistress’ pleasure. Over time, an incredibly strong emotional bond can be formed, where the submission and domination are given as expressions of care and, in some cases, love.”









How can you be in control if you have someone telling you what to do?

Miss Crush: “In many respects, it is the submissive that dictates BDSM play. They present their interests, their limits, and they decide when play begins and ends. Relinquishing control requires great strength and trust. I do not see my subs as weak, pathetic or vulnerable, but as strong for committing to their interests and respecting themselves.”









What role does consent play in BDSM?

Mistress Clarissa: “Consent is the central pillar of BDSM. Without clear consent between all involved, no play can take place. The BDSM community operates under two widely agreed sets of rules governing what is deemed appropriate and responsible. The first set of rules historically is SSC which stands for safe, sane and consensual. The second set of rules is a little more complex in that it allows for edge play or activities that involve risk. RACK stands for Risk-aware consensual kink or Risk-Accepted Consensual Kink. ‘Risk-aware’ covers both or all partners being well-informed of the risks involved in the proposed activity. ‘Consensual’ means that in light of those risks, both or all partners have, of sound mind, offered preliminary consent to engage in said activity. And ‘Kink is when the said activity can be classified as alternative sex.”









How is consent given and how is it defined?

Mistress Clarissa: “Consent within BDSM is when a participant gives their permission for certain acts or types of relationships. It can only be given by those over 18 and it can only be given by those not under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Consent can only be given by someone who is rational, and who understands what they are agreeing to and the potential risks. It must be informed consent.”

“It’s also important to say that consent can be revoked at any point. For a professional Mistress, consent is given verbally and probably in writing before a session. A session generally starts with a brief conversation to ascertain the submissive’s state of mind, any health issues, or concerns and that they are still wishing to play at that time. In non-professional context it can be much harder to guarantee that informed consent is in place before play takes place, especially if alcohol is involved. Acts undertaken with a lack of consent may be considered abusive and those responsible may well be shunned within the BDSM community. Unfortunately, consent is often not as widely understood as essential by the vanilla community.”









What would you say to people who think BDSM implies the opposite of consent?

Mistress Clarissa: “I would say that they need to look beyond the surface, beyond the iconography of BDSM, beyond the restraints and the toys to see what’s really going on. I don’t think they the have knowledge or understanding of the complex and subtle communication that must take place between a Dominant and a Submissive and that the rules of what we do could really help the wider social picture of consent.”

Miss Crush: “I understand why people feel that way. I think BDSM has been mischaracterised in many ways. Like many communities, there are going to be some toxic and dangerous individuals. For example, there are many rapists in general society, but we do not suggest that sex is to blame for that. Of course though it is important to establish communities within BDSM so that dangerous individuals can be identified and avoided.”

“BDSM is probably more conducive to consensual play than vanilla sex because there is a prescribed list of rules and protocols surrounding it. Of course, masochism (the tendency to derive sexual gratification from one’s own pain or humiliation) is a part and it can be difficult for a Sub or their Domme to know where to draw the line, but this is where communication, trust and honourable intentions come into play.”









What can BDSM culture teach vanilla or non kinky people about consent?

Mistress Clarissa: “BDSM culture can teach the mainstream that consent is critical. That all types of sex require trust and mutual respect and that open honest communication is essential to establish trust and consent. People also need to understand that consent can be withdrawn at any point. Unfortunately consent is often not as widely understood as essential by the vanilla community. Rape and sexual assault are still largely unprosecuted crimes often perpetrated by the boyfriends and husbands of the victims, people who supposedly ‘love’ their partners. BDSM can teach people to be quiet enough in themselves to pay attention to what the other person needs or wants without assuming it’s the same as what they want and the discipline to behave responsibly.”

Miss Crush: “I think BDSM should teach us that consent can be given and withdrawn. It is not about how drunk you were, what you wore, or whether you seemed like you ‘wanted it’. BDSM teaches us that sex and pleasure are about trust and communication. Vanilla sex too often relies on the unspoken and the unsaid, but this is highly problematic. BDSM ironically teaches us that we are the master of our own bodies, and that when consent is given, it is a privilege for the other party, to be respected and taken seriously.”

Find Mistress Clarissa at mistressclarissa.co.uk and Miss Crush at miss-crush.com.

And now let Courtney Act talk you through safer sex…

Source:: MTV — News