Consent Non-Consent

This topic rears its head more often lately, and I was specifically asked about it today on a Facebook post. I thought I would share my views here as well. To avoid TL;DR, I’ll state it here: I go back to a long held belief – 2+ adults consent to do something, as long as it doesn’t harm each other, I hold none in judgement of what they do with their limits. CNC for me is about someone giving consent/authority to another to go beyond their limits, without requiring permission or ongoing, active consent to continue. (From a relationship consent, not from a legal authority standpoint.)

The phrase consent-non-consent seems to have been around as long as I’ve been involved in the BDSM and kink communities – so set your clocks to 1995. When I first starting looking around the BBSs and then the strange thing called “the Internet”, there were discussions on ye-olde-Usenet that centered around the acronyms “TPE”, “IE” and “CNC.” Ah, JJ and his interpretations and pronouncements of what was and was not “TPE” back then. The discussion about all of that was good stuff, with a lot of very smart, bright and thoughtful people asking good questions. So, it feels very much like “back to the future” as folks new to kink as very similar questions as I was reading twenty years ago.

backtothefuture
Wait, stop me, I think I’ve heard this one before…

Consent-Non-Consent, in my mind, boils down to this – the idea that you consent to whatever is going to happen, trusting that the person you’ve given that consent to isn’t a psychopathic asshole who is going to end up harming/abusing you.

Now I use those words harm/abuse very deliberately, because I think that those activities of “harm” and “abuse” are ones that aren’t designed for consensual activities. I *also* believe that although activities may not be harmful or abusive from a legal standpoint, they could be harmful/abusive from a personal standpoint. This means that CNC becomes a personal, contextual definition, which brings in that whole messy “relativism” question. What is harmful/abusive to some might be a Saturday night foreplay session for me. And vice versa.

From a legal standpoint, abuse/harmful are also subjective, but we have a pretty good idea of what our local police and prosecutors are going to see as abuse/harm. That whole can of worms has been with us for a long time and will continue to be, but I believe the people I consider “safe” (in that they will not be harmful/abusive) pretty much know how to walk that edge.

So… if CNC is relative/contextual to the relationship and people within it, then how do we define it and have a discussion about it? Well, that’s the catch and that’s where an Internet debate is going to quickly boil down to “I do it this way and it works for me…” and rinse/relather/repeat.

So, that’s why all I can offer is my opinion, which is that I go back to a long held belief – 2+ adults consent to do something, as long as it doesn’t harm each other, I hold none in judgement of what they do with their limits. CNC for me is about someone giving consent/authority to another to go beyond their limits, without requiring permission or ongoing, active consent to continue. (From a relationship consent, not from a legal authority standpoint.)

Can someone “consent” to have their limits exceeded? Yes. Ask basejumpers if they are consenting to exceeding their limits. Almost every time, they ride the edge. Same for test pilots. Same for anyone doing possibly harmful things. They’re adults. They hopefully are tall enough to ride the ride and to understand that the edge cuts both ways and has a price. If not, they’re going to learn really damn quick.

BASE_Jumping_from_Sapphire_Tower_in_Istanbul
Yep, the NOPE is strong in this picture.

As a Master, i work on mental CNC, to where I attempt to create a mental/emotional response in Angie so that she cannot do anything but submit. It’s that edge that we walk as practitioners of an authority based power dynamic. To be honest, in such a case, I can’t see how we’re not doing CNC. I’m OK with that… I know I’m not harming/abusing slave Angie and she quite readily would agree with that.

(Image from here: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=119175&picture=red-yield-road-sign )

When Real Life Happens

wefearchange

It’s been an interesting few months since we took a break from our travels and presenting, giving ourselves a much needed rest. A number of things have happened, we’ve had some interesting experiences with dealing with change, and we just had a really good MAsT meeting this past weekend where we talked about changes and how relationships go through times of evolution and change.

relationship-triangleI’ve seen a number of M/s relationships fail because they were set up with such a rigid structure and rigid expectations that when real life and change did happen, the relationship couldn’t absorb it. One of the things that I heard recently from someone was that you can measure relationships by where it falls in a spectrum on  a triangle like the one to the right here. Sexual/Romantic/Service. I found it a very useful way of looking at things. If the relationship is completely in, say, service and one of the people in the relationship starts to want to go into the Romantic or Sexual, that might mean a change that the relationship isn’t set up – a Master may want the rigidity of a Service-only, no-love, no-sex, and the slave is starting to want to date, or to open the relationship to the possibility of a sexual element.

This also is true for when changes happen to a relationship which require one or the other to step outside their roles and assume the responsibilities of the other. Like for me, doing the dishes, and house cleaning, and child care, while slave Angie was recovering from a procedure. I think having the flexibility to refocus our energies into the other areas, while keeping the protocols and dynamic in place, allows us to have M/s in times when one of those sides can’t be fully explored.

And let me tell you, I discovered new areas of things that I want a certain way now. *grin* The dishes get loaded now immediately, laundry is done in a certain schedule… the things I relearned having to do it myself.

I think that it is possible to have a relationship that fully engages on one side, and as long as both parties are open to moving to other points of the triangle, or as long as that’s made clear up front – yes, we can consider going into other elements, or no, it has to firmly stay here, because that is all both of us want or agree to. I personally find it hard not to incorporate all aspects into a Master/Companion-slave relationship, but I definitely would be able to limit it to one or two aspects for a shorter term, or focused relationship, like I’ve had with some explorations of people being in short-term service to me.

And yes, there is a reason why sex is at the top… I may be almost fifty, but I’m still a dirty man…

A most epic drop

I think one of the unwritten effects of stepping-aside of being heavily focused on kink/leather events and presenting is that the stress it creates on a body and psych. There is a huge reward in doing something we were called to do, but the amount of home-body-ism that we’re both feeling, the illnesses we’ve suddenly been dealing with and the almost nesting we’re doing seems to fit a rubber band effect of having stretched ourselves very far, then suddenly, it’s over.

In the end, we’re doing OK, but this has been a bit of a rougher landing than we anticipated. I’m very much home-bodying on painting my little figures, playing games and just enjoying some down time. Slave Angie has been doing much the same, while preparing for her upcoming surgery.

During this ebb, we’ve been sharing a lot of how we’re doing, with some scrapes and glitches. Transitions are not easy and we’re feeling our way through this one. I can feel a sort of “leveling out” happening, as we get to figuring out what this feels like. Plus, the month of May always brings IML (International Mr. Leather) to our lovely city of Chicago.

(Picture – that’s what that drop feels like – from http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=3127&picture=top-of-highest-cliffs-in-the-world )

Not dead yet!

So it’s been a few days. OK, a few weeks since we last updated.

That whole bit about we’re going to have down time? Hahahahahahaha!!!! At least they waited two weeks before asking us a huge question to take on a huge responsibility. More is coming soon about that, but that has taken up a lot of our brain cells, the contemplation of this undertaking. In some ways, it feels bigger than us being titleholders.

Mix into that some family things going on, me being assigned to a brand new position within my company, me being sick for almost 10 days, a gaming convention, Easter… it’s been a whirlwind. So much for down time, huh?

Through it all, we’re anchored and strong. We are missing some down time/play time – and we might take advantage of going to Leather HEAT in Los Angeles next weekend to have just that… a hotel room without kids, interruptions or the press of what has to be done? Oh yea!

Coming back to Earth

With our stepping aside as the current International Master/slave, the drop has been quite sudden and a little more steep than either of us thought. On top of that, my work has ratcheted up a few notches and let me know that the flexibility we’ve enjoyed with the title year is now over. THUD. Back to earth. Adulting sucks sometimes!

On top of that, a member of our leather family is ill and in the hospital after a suicide attempt. THUD THUD.

Add on top of that, we’ve had busy nights each night this week. Not a lot of connection time as I had hoped. THUD THUD THUD.

Add in some financial realities which have reared their heads, on top of the normal stress and it just makes for a “What the hell… can I go back to 2014!?!”

In all seriousness, this too shall pass. The Sun comes up tomorrow. We’ll get through it. We’ll move on. Some of these things, we saw on the horizon, and it’s just now that we can devote the full attention and energy to them.

This is the part of the whole deal that they can’t prepare you for. That sudden end of the year, that sudden drop, that the spotlight moves on (for better and for worse) and it’s now up to you to say “OK, what next?” and to take care of yourselves.

Of of the things that our title adventure has done has been to put us through reforging our relationship again. Toughen it up, hone the edges and show us just what we’re capable of. There’s a different feeling in us these days, a feeling of “fuck yea, we did it, we got this, we can get through just about anything” that comes with having done it. That’s the bonds of a long term relationship, the foundation and the bedrock that is solid and has gotten even more solid through these experiences. It’s those things that we’ll use as we adjust to the changes going forward.