“Silence is Sexy” vs Opt-in Consent & BDSM

I came across a fantastic article the other day that I wanted to signal boost; UN-MEMORIZING THE “SILENCE IS SEXY” DATE SCRIPT

Personally, I think the author is right, women are not given enough opportunity to say yes when it comes to sex.  But  I also think men aren’t given enough opportunity to say no and I think people in general aren’t given enough opportunity to vocalize about what they want in a sexual encounter.  I  get that it’s a big turn out to fantasize about someone who just knows how to hit every fucking button that’ll have to cumming buckets without you having to say a thing (especially among submissive types) but can we have some real talk for a second?  That’s pretty damn improbable.

We’ve gotten the idea from movies and magazines that silence is sexy.  Ultimate romance means fireworks and fairy dust sprinkling down from the heavens and instilling in us some magical intuition where both people suddenly just know what the other wants.  Speaking out loud in full sentences would break the rhythm, ruining the mystical thrill of the spontaneous moment.  And GOD FORBID you ask permission to do anything.  I mean, come on, major boner killer.

Yep – magical intuition.  I’m not saying it doesn’t happen – but I will tell you it’s rare and usually reserved for people who know how to read things like body language, quickness of breath and can interpret the slight difference between a sigh of pleasure and a sigh of stifled boredom.  In other words, people who have their non-verbal communication down-like-whoa.  So actually, not magic at all.

My only quips with with article are small.  First, I wish it was more gender neutral because I think men’s authentic sexual agency is an important topic too.  Second, I wish Kink and power dynamics had been discussed more.

Here’s what the article as to say about saying yes and power dynamics

And it doesn’t have to impact dominance or submission either.  A woman with agency doesn’t necessarily have to kiss someone; she could ask someone to kiss her.  Either way, the positive agency is what is important.

Which I think can be expanded on a lot – so let’s do that.  What does active consent look like in real life?

From a top side you can ensure consent by asking your partner what they want – you can tease and delight them until they confess their desires to you.  Or you can inform them you’re taking their request under advisement and at the end of the day do what you want.  You can pick and choose out of the options they give you to suit your mood and desires in that moment.  There’s lots of space to play with humiliation/erotic embarrassment, tease and denial, reward and punishment.  And never forget that consent is a two way street, your opt-in is just as important as your bottom’s.  Role modelling opportunities galore, people.

I would draw caution to the line between checking consent and coercion when play with phrases like isn’t this what you signed up for? or You said you would submit, isn’t this what you wanted or You deserve this as they can be triggering for people and really boundary pushing.  If your confident in your bottom’s ability to speak up for their boundaries even when stressed then coolio – keep on having fun!  If your less confident, I recommend starting off slowly, talking about how it was after the emotions of the play have mellowed out and then ramping things up as you learn more about your bottom and how they do.  Remember, it’s easy to ramp stuff up next time; it’s hard to take back a misstep.

From the bottom side take a moment to remember that stating a request is not the same as making a demand, and by giving your partner a clear idea of how to play with you, you can make your scenes even hotter.  Plus, when you’re clearly expressing your desire you’re giving your top support by welcoming their actions – they don’t have to worry that you might not be speaking up in a attempt to please them, or get anxious about your enjoyment.  They’ll know exactly where you stand and can allow themselves to get into/focus on their top space further knowing they can trust you when you say yes.

Again – consent flows both ways, it can be especially beneficial to newer tops to check in with them and make sure they’ve comfortable with things instead of pushing themselves to a place they’d rather not go simply to impress you.  Let your top know you care about their boundaries too!

And I’d be willing to bet that if you put some thought into this you could come up with at least 5 other ways you could either speak up, or do a verbal check in your play.

While we’re chatting – let’s talk about enthusiastic consent too.  Often I find people get caught up in the word enthusiastic when it comes to consent and BDSM.  Sometimes – often in power exchange of S/M dynamics full consent isn’t joyfully given.  I can easily think of a number of occasions when my consent was growled or spit out in challenge to the sadist topping me.  I can think of other times when my consent was stammered out in whispers to my lover’s ears.  I can even think of a few times when my consent was tearful resignation to the dynamic I chose with my Sir.

I’d challenge you to consider what active consent looks like outside of enthusiasm –   how do we  (and to be clear, I mean you; play along at home and ask yourself these questions) know what consent looks like in our play and in our dynamics?  How do we keep our sexy stride going while checking in with our partner?  How do we balance consent with our power dynamic to ensure what we do isn’t abuse.

And what do we do when we fuck up?

Hope this has sparked some thinking in you, I’d be thrilled to hear any thoughts you want to share in the comments!

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3 thoughts on ““Silence is Sexy” vs Opt-in Consent & BDSM

  1. yourlesbianfriend says:

    Thank you for this different perspective on my article! I have always assumed that S/M sexual encounters (more than non-S/M encounters) necessarily are discussed in advance to make clear both partners’ boundaries and desires. Was I wrong in that assumption? If there is a conversation, the entire topic of consent as I was discussing it gets thrown for a loop. I have absolutely no knowledge or experience with BDSM, at least not enough to be able to write confidently about it, so that’s why I left it out. But thank you for filling in those gaps!

    1. Heather says:

      Thanks for writing the article in the first place!

      You’re not wrong – people often do discuss things in advance (negotiations) but over all I find that model less useful for a wide variety of situations. It works well for the defined scene; but not everyone plays that way. I’ve found that my boundaries and lines fluctuate – I might have thought I was up for something that suddenly I’m not, or thought I would not be up for something that suddenly I really want. Plus, I don’t like to think negotiations trap you into consenting – after all, if you can revoke consent mid fuck, you can mid scene too.

      Plus, for many people, Kink/BDSM/Power Exchange are almost always included in the way they fuck, which means negotiations happen in a way that looks a lot closer to the example in your article. But this can be extra challenging because in addition to the scripts we get in life you add the ideas we hold around what it means to be Dominant or Submissive. Personally I think the idea that a D-type asking for consent makes them look weak is ridiculous; yet a lot of people hold this as an ideal. Which blows my mind, I think there needs to be a space for people to be Dominant and also be very concerned with their partner’s buy in.

      Also, I think we kinksters need to consider ongoing relationships and consent. I’ve observed that people do the negotiations thing well when it’s a one off scene, but less so once they get into regular play relationships, or dating relationships. Especially since longer term relationships for people can include things like consensual non-consent (either for specific encounters or as a part of their relationship).

      Does that all make sense? let me know if you want me to expand on anything 🙂

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