© 2018 by Michelle Fegatofi

Consent in BDSM


Going through my posts, I realized that while I’ve touched on consent several times over the years, I’ve never actually written about it in depth. Today, I want to rectify that.

What exactly is consent? In the New Oxford American Dictionary, #consent is defined as permission for something to happen or agreement to do something. This is why it has to be part of every act or thought you have in any BDSM related activities. If consent isn’t given, then it’s #abuse or worse.


When it comes to mainstream representations of #BDSM in the media, understanding where #bondage, #discipline, #dominance, #submission, and sadomasochism aligns with consent can be confusing. The lines can be blurry for anyone without a deep understanding of kink.


Having a verbal discussion about Limits with a partner before any type of play occurs is important because accepting implied, or blanket, consent drives the risk of violating your partner’s rights. Not everyone reacts to pain the same. What may be a genuine stop reaction for one person can be an expression of surrender and enjoyment for someone else. If you want to respect boundaries, having open communications about what your #limits are make for a successful dynamic.


A good place to start is to go through a Limits checklist. This is a list of #fetishes, kinks, interests where you decide Yes, No or Maybe for each activity. Some lists will have you rate from one to five your interest in the activity. You may also wish to indicate if you have tried the activity before or if you have any other thoughts or things you want your partner to know about that activity. If this is your first time doing this activity, you may wish to review the list alone to have time to decide. Then you and your partner can discuss the list together.


Once the general guidelines are established, the important thing to remember is that consent to different activities may change over time. This conversation should be revisited periodically. You and your partner may wish to revisit the whole checklist or to keep the conversation casual and only discuss what's been on your mind.


In most cases during a scene, when dealing with high emotions, the #Dominant does not ask for consent for a certain activity, toy, etc. and their partner feels like they must continue or they will fail as a #sub. Submissives don’t want to feel like they are being blamed for ruining the mood or chickening out. Informed consent can be used by play partners to help lessen this risk.

To exercise informed consent, the sub needs to know what activities will take place before a scene.

When it comes to consent, saying yes to one thing doesn’t mean you’ve said yes to all things. If you clearly discuss certain scenarios as having "blanket consent," it means you’re completely comfortable with certain things happening without being asked.

Most importantly, remember that the fun starts and stops with your consent. If something is making you feel uncomfortable, tell your partner to stop. Consent is the most valuable and sacred part of BDSM. It is about exploring boundaries and learning about yourself.