angryjanedoe (angryjanedoe) wrote in feminist_sex,

Consent in SM and Sideways

x-posted from my own journal. 

I met a man in a bar who told me he was in an abusive relationship. His girlfriend was beating him, throwing him down stairs, locking him in the basement, and burning him. He was afraid to go back because he thought that she would kill him.

Then I noticed that while we were talking, he was rubbing his dick and I realized that telling me about the abuse was part of his kinky fantasy. Having me believe the story made his fantasy more pleasurably real, but it also made him a jackass.

This guy broke the most primary rule of SM: he tricked me into entering his playspace without telling me that we were in a realm of fantasy. He used me for sex without my consent.

I love that in SM, everyone agrees on what they're going to do before they do it. Participants agree to give up part of the fantasy in order to make the fantasy possible and safe for all parties. Informed consent is what differentiates kink from assault.

A character in Sideways reminded me of that guy from the bar. Jack is about to get married, but wants to have one last fling. He meets a woman and they have lots of sex. As the affair evolves, Jack spins out a fantasy parallel life where he buys a vinyard with the woman and they live happily ever after. Of course, the woman eventually finds out that Jack's engaged and she beats him up with her motorcycle helmet.

Ironically, Jack gets unwittingly sucked into another couple's fantasy later in the movie and ends up naked and sobbing in a motel room without his wallet and wedding rings. See, Jack? it *hurts* when people play fast and loose with your feelings just to kink up their sex/romance life.

Both of these guys remind me of the man I consider my dating last straw. This man was a former colleague from over a decade before. We had lost touch until he found me on facebook. He threw himself at me. Ardently. He talked about how amazing it was to find me after all these years, about how he'd had a crush on me before, about how we shared this common history, about how he was ready to settle down and thought I was the one.

I believed him, which was why I was so shocked when he bolted with some muttered bullshit about needing to go for a long walk in the desert to gather his thoughts and decide what he wanted to do with his life.

I realized then that he had been spinning out fantasies for himself, experimenting with different futures, trying to figure out what sort of person he wanted to be. That's all fine, but he conned me into participating in his playspace without telling me that it was playspace. He coerced me into intimacy without seeking my consent. Not knowing what he wanted was no excuse.

And I know some of you are going to say, "but Jack and your former colleague didn't *know* what they wanted!" which might be true, but then they should have said so. Even if it comes out clumsily, or all wrong, or whatever, it's better than the alternative.

And I know that taking the time to get consent, working out the logistics, admitting to yourself what you're doing -- that's all scary and puts a damper on this story we like to tell ourselves about passion and fate and love, but you need to do it anyway.

In exchange, you get to enter a playspace with a clear conscience. And no one beats you up with a motorcycle helmet.
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