I wanna be perfectly honest with you. I’m sick – sick – of the majority of consent conversations out there. I don’t have it in me to tell you you ought to care about the well being of people you engage with, or at a bare minimum offer them the same bodily autonomy you expect for yourself. I’m not interested in hearing if you’ve fallen on the right side of the law or not – laws are what make you not criminal; they say very little about your ethics levels.
We can do better.
We need to do better.
Here’s what I”m still interested in talking about:
How can I be my brother’s keeper?
Being part of a community means being responsible for each other and to each other. So how do we effectively do that? How can we call each other in, ask each other to do better without the isolation and shaming? How can we empower and encourage people to be vocal about their limits at all times? What information to do we need to share with newcomers from both sides of the slash?
Beyond the physical violations, where do emotional and mental violations/incidents fit in?
In the grand scheme of consent, the physical stuff is often the easiest. It’s the easiest to check in on, and the easiest to know when you’ve gone off script. But feeling violated, experiencing scene regret, lies betrayal, broken trust – these require nuanced language that we haven’t even given birth to yet – nevermind gained eloquence in the way the clunky words fall off our tongues.
Whether the feelings of violation come from a physical, emotional and mental source the net result is the same – people are hurting – this is what I care about. How do we talk about this?
How do we create a culture that minimizes harm?
Key word there? Minimize. I’m not some Pollyanna. I don’t think there is every going to be a solution that keeps everyone from experiencing many negative things while exploring Kink and BDSM. But right now? There is a lot we can do, and the most effective thing I think we can do is work towards a cultural shift.
How do we promote healing for all parties?
As individuals and as a community. As topsiders and bottom dwellers. How do we start to forgive ourselves for the times we should have spoken up but didn’t? How do we find the compassion and openness to listen when we can and respectfully state our boundaries when we can’t? How can we promote agency and resilience?
So if you see me out and about and you wanna chat consent with me, I’m still 100% willing. Let’s just raise the bar a bit, okay?
[Side note! I am thrilled that Rochester Kink Society is bringing me down to have this kind of juicy consent conversion. If you’re in the Rochester area on September 13 2014, come join!