Online now
Online now

Determining informed consent

A Cloud​(sub female)
9 months ago • Nov 28, 2021

Determining informed consent

A Cloud​(sub female) • Nov 28, 2021
We all know the acronym SSC (there is also RACK which some prefer) and that it is essential for BDSM practice but dig a little deeper and things aren't so clear. I have concern that people may only think and discuss SSC/RACK on a surface level and neglect to address those rather grey areas. My questions about informed consent are:

1. How do you ensure informed consent is given and adhered to in play, in a new dynamic and in an existing dynamic?

2. How do you establish your boundaries of consent before playing and when entering a dynamic?

Particular areas of concern include:
- newbies (likely to lack knowledge, awareness and experience)
- coercive language and behaviour (including subtle and socially permissible)
- properly informed of physical and emotional risks
- imbalance/abuse of power - wanting vs willing vs pressured vs pleasing
- subfrenzy and subspace
- proper practice and ability to use safe words
- withdrawing consent during a scene or within a dynamic
- education and support within the community or for those who remain outside
MisterAshmodai​(dom male)
9 months ago • Nov 29, 2021
MisterAshmodai​(dom male) • Nov 29, 2021
Talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk
After that, discuss.

The sad reality of the situation is that you can never guarantee that informed consent is given, adhered to, or even fully understood.
You can do your best to ensure that you know what you are doing; taking it slow, doing your homework, getting any help you need, avoiding throwing caution to the wind.
You can do your best to provide whatever information you have and to remain accessible as a resource to your potential partner.
In the end, you are relying heavily on the communication skills of that partner to ensure that everyone is on the same page.

I would say the key here is taking your time. The more time you take, the more on point both parties will be, simply through shared experience, especially with newbies. Especially with the media portrayal (the most likely exposure any newbie has) that a Dom who says all the buzzwords, sweeps you off your feet, and takes on all responsibility is seen as the most desirable.
A reputable partner (either side of the slash) will build slowly and patiently, allowing for the foundation conducive to the greatest potential for informed consent.
    The most loved post in topic
A Cloud​(sub female)
9 months ago • Nov 29, 2021
A Cloud​(sub female) • Nov 29, 2021
MisterAshmodai wrote:
Talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk
After that, discuss.

The sad reality of the situation is that you can never guarantee that informed consent is given, adhered to, or even fully understood.
You can do your best to ensure that you know what you are doing; taking it slow, doing your homework, getting any help you need, avoiding throwing caution to the wind.
You can do your best to provide whatever information you have and to remain accessible as a resource to your potential partner.
In the end, you are relying heavily on the communication skills of that partner to ensure that everyone is on the same page.

I would say the key here is taking your time. The more time you take, the more on point both parties will be, simply through shared experience, especially with newbies. Especially with the media portrayal (the most likely exposure any newbie has) that a Dom who says all the buzzwords, sweeps you off your feet, and takes on all responsibility is seen as the most desirable.
A reputable partner (either side of the slash) will build slowly and patiently, allowing for the foundation conducive to the greatest potential for informed consent.


Thank you. That was very valuable. It's a hard one to answer with specifics but all that is great advice.

I have always been one who puts a hand in the fire to see how hot it is. I am a good learner, implementer and reflected though. My communication is coming along nicely. I have a list of red flags and boundaries that keeps growing and changing. Steady practice time now. This has helped me with identifying some questions to add to my armour.
LongerJohnny​(dom male){Catcher}
9 months ago • Dec 8, 2021
MisterAshmodai wrote:
Talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk
After that, discuss.

The sad reality of the situation is that you can never guarantee that informed consent is given, adhered to, or even fully understood.


Add to that proceed verrrry slowly. If it is necessary in the beginning maybe a good method is for all involved parties to assume that all non-Red limits are no more than Yellow limits.
Then return to the Talk and Discuss method described above. Then start over with a better sense of limits and consent.
Far too often expectations exceed experience. So talk, discuss, go slow, reassess, redefine, then start again.
Zedland​(dom male)
9 months ago • Dec 9, 2021
Zedland​(dom male) • Dec 9, 2021
Here's an interesting wrinkle for you. What about when informed consent is impossible?

For example impact play. I can explain what will happened, precisely what I intend to do, the physics behind the impact, likely physiological and psychological consequences, but that really doesn't matter. Someone who has never been hit before will have no reference for any of that. It will be nothing but their belief they are prepared to experience it, not reality and hardly informed.
SubtleHush​(sub female)
9 months ago • Dec 9, 2021
SubtleHush​(sub female) • Dec 9, 2021
Zedland​(dom male) "Here's an interesting wrinkle for you. What about when informed consent is impossible?"
...
Informed consent is never ever, ever impossible. What you are really asking for here is how do you get permission to 'damn the torpedoes and go full speed ahead.


"For example impact play. I can explain what will happened, precisely what I intend to do, the physics behind the impact, likely physiological and psychological consequences, but that really doesn't matter. Someone who has never been hit before will have no reference for any of that. It will be nothing but their belief they are prepared to experience it, not reality and hardly informed."
.....
No. All play is predicated on YOUR abilities as the Top. So you don't engage in impact play with someone unless YOU have the skill to go slow and start lightly, only increasing intensity when you see a clear and specific indication that the bottom is ready and keeping up.

That may mean that you play lightly and in other ways until YOU can learn that person's responses. Until you and they have a clear-cut way of indicating "slow down" or "stop" reactions. Those are what we call safe words.

As far as psychological implications, unless you are their therapist you cannot prepare them for that. Thoughts and feelings are not psychological implications. Why does it matter? Because part of getting to know someone includes you determining if they are mentally and emotionally healthy enough for what you both wish to do.

You go slowly showing them what BDSM is about one baby step at a time. Bondage? You cuff them and stick close. Spanking? The same thing, go light and take your time. Keep it brief and have a discussion after.

Canes? Whips? Heavy floggers? Extreme bondage? No. Full stop until you've taken baby steps to get there.

So the factors here are- you have to have the skill to do this, which might mean learning from a master.
You have to have the wisdom to decline some people who should not engage in certain activities
and you have to have the patience to go slow for both of your sakes.

Here's the thing newer people like to believe that informed consent is some sort of magic pass. You explain and the other says yes. You say do you understand? And the other person says yes.

Then it goes all wrong. At which point all those watching you, the online hysterical war that ensures and even if the police are called? your concept of consent goes out the window.

Am I being dramatic? You can think that, but I've seen this happen time and again.
...
So achieving informed consent is you both knowing what you are talking about.
Knowing what the risks are.
Having both a progressive play plan and an escape plan.
Taking the time to learn from very experienced people who do that thing.
And not doing what you are not skilled to do or what the bottom isn't 100% clear on.
And of course, you have to have safe words or gestures that mean slow down and stop (two diff ones)

There is no work-around to informed consent or risk-aware consensual kink

When in doubt, you simply don't go forward.

H*
A Cloud​(sub female)
9 months ago • Dec 9, 2021
A Cloud​(sub female) • Dec 9, 2021
Zedland wrote:
Here's an interesting wrinkle for you. What about when informed consent is impossible?

For example impact play. I can explain what will happened, precisely what I intend to do, the physics behind the impact, likely physiological and psychological consequences, but that really doesn't matter. Someone who has never been hit before will have no reference for any of that. It will be nothing but their belief they are prepared to experience it, not reality and hardly informed.


Such a grey space that sends my head spinning. But conversations on complex topics are (or should be) the most engaging and valuable. I enjoy posing questions with no easily defined answers. Answers are overrated 🤣.

The impact scene described is a great example of uninformed (in the manner of experience) consent - the bottom/sub has to decipher safety through other means - Dom's experience, intentions, attitude, trust, environment, preparation in discussions etc. Similarly I assume, the dom/top establishes as much consent as possible with suggested preparation, discussions, clear process, check-ins protocols, safety, physical and psychological aspects etc. Informed consent is being as informed as one can be or needs.

Ultimately though, it is impossible to have full understanding of sub drop without experiencing it. But one can be theoretically or anecdotally informed enough to know what it is, how it happens, it's impact and how to respond.

Now, I must say I am terrible at establishing full scope of knowledge and exercising restraint. I also struggle with establishing where black turns to white and vice versa. Ever-murky grey is very common in my brain. I have had limited issues around consent and never thought about it in the complex and broad terms I do now.

I do notice a culture (vanilla and BDSM) of suspect behavioural norms that breach consent with coercive and silencing tactics. That being said, while research and trustworthy guidance are necessary, experience and reflective learning are education fundamentals. To be honest, it often comes down to risk-taking - knowing what one can and then diving in prepared. I am also very accountable to my actions - no delusion or victimhood here, just reckless abandonment on occasion 🤷‍♀️🙄😕.
LordofPain56
9 months ago • Dec 12, 2021
LordofPain56 • Dec 12, 2021
This discussion just reminded me of a partner I had long ago that I completely forgot about, but it might be helpful to some who have worry issues about informed consent with regard to impact play (which is a main component in my brand of foreplay).
Somehow, I ran across this cute, short girl who wanted to play. I told her she probably wouldn't like my style. She asked what I meant by that. I told her I am a sadistic dominant and began explaining it to her. Although I tried to make it sound brutal, she still asked me for my address. A few days later, she came over to my house and I immediately marched her in to sit down at the computer where I called up a half-dozen S & M videos I had stored in my video file folder and played the weakest one first finally graduating to an absolute merciless breast flogging of a girl tied to a St Andrews cross, performed by Master Rick Savage. She watched all the videos and wanted to try it. I told her that I would begin with light stuff like in the first video and graduate slowly to the more brutal stuff like in the last video. I gave her a safe word in case her bondage was too tight or if the intensity was too much for her. I told her that she could decline to try any of the harder core stuff and that the intensity would be gradual until I found her limits and that I would go slow at first, but could gradually speed up the strikes, but she could slow it down by saying the word "mercy" if she didn't like it. She was receptive.
I took her into the dungeon and placed a spreader bar between her ankles and tied her wrists to a ceiling hook and stretched her tight in a standing spread-eagle position fully nude. I picked up floggers beginning with the softest one and ending with meanest one. At some point I told her to stick her chest out and suck her belly in. She complied with enthusiasm and stayed that way till I was finished. She was totally into it, and never uttered the safe word even when I was using the last whip.
She came over several times after that, until about two months later, I saw her with her arm all swollen and asked what happened to her. She claimed that she tried to inject herself with heroine using a dirty needle and got badly infected, but the doctors cleaned out her arm and saved her. I never saw her again after that.
Anyway, the videos gave her a visual of how the girls reacted to the impacts and my explanation of what would happen during the session may have given her some re-assurance. She took everything with glee and enthusiasm. She may have been a little kinky before I met her but afterward she was a total masochist. Too bad she disappeared.
Zedland​(dom male)
9 months ago • Dec 13, 2021
Zedland​(dom male) • Dec 13, 2021
Subtle-You seem to have missed my point entirely. How can someone to consent to something they have no frame of reference for? I used impact play as an example as it is simplest to demonstrate. How do you know what it is to be hit (no matter with what or how hard) if you have never been hit? This of course is just a kinky adaptation of the ethical dilemma of any layperson being asked to judge specific technical matter beyond their competence.

Betty-Theory is black and white, life is gray. Which makes it so much harder to deal with. As for this I suppose we would have to parse the difference between between knowledge and wisdom...which I think is the idiom. Knowing and understanding. I can tell you hour by hour what happened at the Battle of Gettysburg, who fought where, how many died, what weapons were used. That in no way means I know what it is like to have experienced the battle.
tallslenderguy​(other male)
9 months ago • Dec 13, 2021
Great topic/conversation.

A few random thoughts.

For me one of the biggest parts of consent requires already knowing and having experience with the person i am giving consent to. For instance, if i am going to engage in physical interaction with someone i person, i do not give consent, implied or otherwise, online ahead of time.

With online meets and using online communication to build relationship prior to meeting, i think it's easy to misread and overextend. Pretty much everyone i have ever met and engaged with online is different in some way than perceived when we are face to face, up close and in person.

The more involved the interaction, the better i need to know the person before consent. For me, a Dom/Top who demonstrates vulnerability is a big trust builder. i'm wary of anyone who is afraid to admit need.