[M/s 365] Consent is a conversation, not a label

The more I talk to people, the more I come to think of consent as a continuum of personal experiences, expectations, desires and dislikes, and not something that lends itself to these labels that I see people use (or attempt to create) especially with how consent works in an M/s relationship. While consent can (and should) be affected by a binary “yes/no” [1], I have found that the real application on a day to day basis is much more nuanced.To fully describe the nature of our consent a word or phrase, I would have to find something that could describe:

1. The nature of our relationship and how authority transfer works for us.
2. Our experiences, expectations, desires and dislikes, with each other and with previous relationships, as well as the sum of our lives with those 4 things.
3. Our successes and failures at what we’ve done and how those things work for us, or don’t work for us
4. How our interests and tastes change over the years

I look at the quick phrases and the consent conversations that have been happening and I see a theme start to emerge – that we want a blanket definition and a simple way of expressing a concept that has so many different nuances whether I look at it from a legal perspective (defined as binary, but played out nuanced in courts), a psychological perspective or within my relationship – and I’m sure there are many other ways to look at it.

The topic of consent has been ongoing for a long time. When I was first coming out kinky, and reading the old Usenet newsgroup alt.sex.bondage (for you young folks, Usenet was a precursor to forums or message boards.) “TPE” and “consent non-consent” was a huge topic. Unfortunately, the conversation over the past 20 years gets bogged down in similar ways, usually because what is “power exchange” to one person is “authority exchange” to another, or over label definitions and “my way is the only way to consider” and even worse, the head-smacking “So if you give over all consent, then your Master can cut off your arm or order you to be a mass murderer? RIGHT??!! RIGHT??!!”  *sigh* You can guess how I feel about those outlier-discussion-derailers, after 20 years, even! I don’t really see many people going out and seeking out arm-chopping, mass-murder instigator Masters to give their surrender to.

listening-earAnyway… Maybe it’s my age, or expectations, but for me, consent is going to be a conversation.

Today, 10 years of knowing my slave, knowing myself, knowing how our authority/surrender works on a day to day basis, consent looks and operates differently than it did in the beginning. The issue now, to use a Neo/Matrix quote, is “choice.” My choice to hold authority over angie, her choice to accept that complete authority and consent to all that entails. The relationship functions because our way of looking at life and the way authority transfer/consent works for us is compatible and beneficial. She doesn’t say “no” to me, out of her own choice. She consents to all I may ask – trusting full well that I’m not a mass-murderer who’s going to order her to cut her arm off  And that’s the key word – trust. The basis of my authority is the responsibility and the positive life that I provide for my slave in exchange for her surrender. This trust she has in me and the benefits of surrendering to my authority is what makes her making a “no” choice – revoking consent – unlikely in normal life. (Unless I get bit by that instigator bug… because, you know, arm-chopping/mass-murder.)

To explain all that in a phrase … the English language isn’t really set up for that. At least not for me.

I think the point I’m very long-windedly trying to make is that I would much rather encourage people to use the labels they’re comfortable with, to use what they have internalized/learned, and then have that extra conversation to explain/demonstrate their concepts to someone else. I would rather shy away from the quick “30 second definition” and move towards “Hi, I’m Michael, I engage in a authority/surrender Master/slave relationship with my slave angie. If you’re curious about that, I’d love to sit down and talk to you about it.”

What do you think?

[1] Ah, yes, the While it can (and should) be affected by a binary “yes/no” statement – I wanted to highlight that because inevitably, saying something like that leads to the discussion “Can a slave revoke consent”? So, from my perspective, in real world application, the answer is “YES.” Any human being can say “no” in the United States. However, the basis of my authority and the way I pursue my M/s relationship, I hope to create an environment where my slave makes the choice to continue consenting. If my relationship with my slave has broken down to where consent is revoked, then we’ve got far more problems on our hands than just whether or not the slave has a right to say “no.”

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Master Michael S

International Master 2014. Member of: Chicago Leather Club, Chicago Leathermen Group, MAsT: Greater Chicago. Longtime leatherman. One of the Four Horsemen.

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