Hey, Who Stole My Consent, And What’s Up With That Anyway?

Keep Right
 
This post is about consent, and about what I’m going to call “mainstream dominant woman fantasy material”.
 
But first……
 
 

Spokesmodel Digression Before I Even Get Started

 
I was going to point alluringly and scintillatingly to the emergency exits located in this post for your safety and hygiene, but since the last time I did that, I almost didn’t fall over, and thudded gracelessly to the ground, and again had to abandon my lifelong imaginary dream to become a spokesmodel for Eastern Cuisine:
 
 
And on your left, ladies and gentlemen,

*points endearingly*

you will find the very delicious and fragrant Ma Po To Fu, encased gracefully in a surround of bowl, served with a stickiness of rice.

*gestures elegantly*

Notice the steam curling up

*indicates gesturally*……
 
 
um, where was I going with this…?

Oh. Right. The consent thingy.

Hmmmmmm.
 

I’ve been considering recently the role which the presence or absence of consent plays in BDSM fantasy, and in desire generally. I’ve read some material written by people from a male submissive perspective, in which the absence of consent played a significant role.

I’ve been reading some very well expressed writings about the nature of the bulk of the dominant-woman-themed fantasy material on offer, and how nearly all of it doesn’t actually take the dom into account at all. In a lot of scenarios, both in-the-flesh, and in the realm of fantasy, the wishes, desires, needs, and consent of the dom did not seem to feature. This is a theme I’ve noticed running through all kinds of the more popular dominant-woman-themed (mostly fictional) fantasy materials available.

Since the submissive has overtly less power in many d/s situations than the dominant has, respect for consent is vitally important for the submissive’s safety. However, doms have limits too (who knew :p ), and I feel that consent is every bit as vital for the dominant as for the submissive. Yet the issue of consent for the dom doesn’t seem to feature that much in “mainstream” dominant-woman-themed fantasy material.

At what point did somebody decide that the right to consent or not consent was something that could be taken away? This just fits ever-so-nicely into my rants about Respect.

Hmmmmmm.

This didn’t start out as a rant, but maybe it is one.
 
 

Consent And Definitions

 
In the context of this post, and indeed, in the way I use it generally, “consent” comprises the following elements:
 

  • In Possession of All Faculties, awake and alert, fully and completely
  • Unimpaired Judgement which is not adversely affected by any medical condition, chemicals, drugs, herbal remedies, hypnosis, arousal, excitement, subspace, fatigue, or any other things
  • Undistracted by misdirection, other activities, conversation, or any other things
  • Knowledge AND Understanding which is comprehensive and complete, of all pertinent and available information
  • Full Opportunity AND Sufficient Recurring Pauses given during any activities, after full information has been conveyed, to allow enough time to consider, and to say “No” at any time if necessary
  • Agreement AND Permission, which is fully informed, and freely, voluntarily and willingly given

 
For the purposes of the way I use the term “consent”, any transgression of those elements makes any decision making unconsensual. I don’t feel consent can be considered to have been legitimately given, if it has been given based on one or more of the following:
 

  • Lies
  • Incomplete Information
  • Misinformation
  • Impaired and/or Distracted Judgement
  • Insufficient Time and/or Opportunity to Have Said “No”
  • Duress and/or Coercion

 
Manipulative behaviour, by definition, uses one or more of the above to elicit behaviour which may not otherwise have been forthcoming.

No matter what anybody says, an individual always knows when their consent has been transgressed by the level of emotional discomfort that they feel. Trying to argue or explain that those feelings are unimportant, wrong, or erroneous does not make those feelings go away, it only increases their intensity.

For me, consent is either ON, or OFF. Consent is either given or not given. I don’t buy into the idea of there being different levels of consent. If you break a behaviour down into its smallest components, I have always found that there are elements which can be separately consented to.
 
 
For example, take being nibbled whilst asleep in bed:

  • I can consent to being nibbled
  • I can consent to being nibbled in bed
  • I can decline to consent to being nibbled whilst asleep
  • I can consent to being nibbled on one part of my body
  • I can decline to consent to being nibbled on another part of my body
  • I can consent to being nibbled in one way
  • I can decline to consent to being nibbled in another way

 
 
From the ever marvellous Wikipedia:

    “Assault (tort)

    In common law, assault is the tort of acting intentionally and voluntarily causing the reasonable apprehension of an immediate harmful or offensive contact, coupled with the ability to carry out the contact.

    While the law varies by jurisdiction, contact is often defined as “harmful” if it objectively intends to injure, disfigure, impair, or cause pain. The act is deemed “offensive” if it would offend a reasonable person’s sense of personal dignity.”

 
 
Thus the law says I have a right to decline to consent to any contact which, as a reasonable person, I feel is offensive to me.

( whether or not this would be enforceable in a court of law is another thing, but the fact is, the law states that I have that entitlement, even if it cannot be enforced every single time by the relevant authorities )
 
 

Consent And Porn

 
Bitchy Jones, amongst others, talks a lot about that which I call “mainstream dominant woman fantasy material”.

In this context, “mainstream dominant woman fantasy material” (which I will abbreviate to femdom fanmat) means the bulk of dominant-woman-themed media which is available out there, featuring primarily images of women, and targeted primarily for men to wank at and generally drool over.
 
 
( we could also have maledom fanmat and gaydom fanmat; in my dreams we could also have for women, hetdom fanmat and lezdom fanmat {as opposed to the generally pathetic fanmat on offer pretending to be for women and actually being designed by, and targeted for, men}, altogether being BDSM fanmat )
 
 
Just to clarify, I am using the term “fanmat” to refer to power-exchange-themed porn of any kind. I have nothing personally against fanmat. I have, at times, enjoyed fanmat by myself and with partners. :) And I have no problem with maledom fanmat and gaydom fanmat, as those make use of, are made by, and are targeted for the same people who benefit from it and enjoy it.

My problem here is, that femdom fanmat uses people of my gender, yet is not targeted at, nor does it benefit my gender for the most part. I feel that femdom fanmat exploits people of my gender without offering much in exchange for that exploitation.

Furthermore, femdom fanmat gives really strange ideas to non-experienced, inexperienced, and new male submissives, about what they should expect from real in-the-flesh lifestyle dominant women. I’d just love to see a whole lot more hetdom fanmat and lezdom fanmat.
 
 
Now, I agree that there is plenty wrong with femdom fanmat being, for the most part, the closest thing to hetdom or lezdom fanmat which is available.

I also agree that there is plenty wrong with an entire genre of fanmat which is only targeted at half (yes, count ’em, 0.5, or 50%) of the physiological birth genders featured in the fanmat.

I also also agree, that there is plenty wrong with the fact that an entire genre of fanmat (which almost entirely features one single gender), by it’s very nature, excludes, minimises, and invalidates the very gender which it benefits from, by exploiting individuals of that gender in order to generate big bucks from their targeted other gender audience.

That just plain sucks.
 

    ( now kids, can you say “Imbalanced Marketing Strategy”? )

 
Which brings us on to my rant of the day, which is all about the issue of “Consent”.
 
 

The Absence Of Consent

 
One of the features of femdom fanmat is the notably frequent absence of the needs, wants, desires, and (most importantly) the consent of the dominant woman. I mean, sometimes the consent of the submissive is absent, as part of the fantasy, but primarily, the femdom fanmat seems to focus on getting the submissive off, and pretty much just ignores the dominant woman’s thoughts on the goings-on.
 
 
Two contrasting examples:
 

    In one story, a male submissive was locked in a chastity device by his dom without adequate discussion beforehand. His consent (which he had originally understood was to be for one week) was unconsensually dragged out for months without any organised negotiation. It was a hot story (and fictional), but the absence of properly informed consent from the submissive was notable, and it bothered Me.

    In another (fictional) story, a submissive male manipulated a dom whom he desired (and who was not actually his dom) into dominating him when she hadn’t otherwise wanted to. In this case, the informed consent of the dom was notable in its absence, and this equally bothered me.

 
 
These are only two examples of the huge plethora of stuff available out there, in which the absence of consent plays a significant part. I feel that consent is every bit as vital for the dominant as it is for the submissive. Yet the issue of consent for the dom is notably absent from most femdom fanmat.

Most of the femdom fanmat available out there does not feature the wishes, desires, needs, and/or wants of the dom. It certainly doesn’t take most “ordinary” doms into account, as opposed to the ones who fit the dominatrix stereotype of painful looking thigh-high boots, tight ponytails and “don’t-smile-or-I’ll-crack-My-face” makeup. It mostly focuses on what’s being done to the submissive, and how much the submissive likes it.

It’s not so much about the overt subjugation, manipulation, or coercion of the dom, it’s more about the fact that the dom’s wishes, desires, needs and/or wants simply don’t feature anywhere in that material. An assumption seems to be there that the dom somehow magically wants to do the same thing to the submissive which the submissive happens to be fantasising about.

I find the prevailing and chronic theme of the absence of consent in femdom fanmat to be rather nasty and insidious.
 
 

Rich Reserves In Untapped Porn Markets

 
Hey. Doms have needs, wants, desires, and yes, limits as well. Pornographers could be doing the right thing, and include hetdoms and lezddoms in your target demographic, and at the same time you could be making real cash from aforementioned currently totally disregarded demographic.
 
 
( this is without even mentioning the more or less complete absence of lezdom fanmat, which is another utterly underserved demographic. And puh-LEEZE. Don’t try to convince me that two women in femdom fanmat is the same as lezdom fanmat, cos it just isn’t, ask any lesbian, they’ll tell you )
 
 
Actual properly informed consent for lovely nasty forceful activities is HOT. Including more overt consent in fanmat would not only be the ethical thing to do, it would service the aforementioned underserved demographic.
 
 
Go on. I dare you. Make a few shillings.

The pot of gold is there at the end of the rainbow. It may not be very large, but it’s there, waiting to be found. Go find it.

Go on now.

Shoo!
 
 
But no. The world would end, obviously, because people who discover previously undiscovered niche markets and service them, never make a profit, clearly.

Most of my own desires rest on the premise that a submissive under my charge is consenting so much, that he is begging and pleading for me to do whatever I’m choosing. Begging and pleading are not only UBER hot, they also ensure that the essence of consent on both sides is clearly conveyed.
 
 
( and I’d just like to take this opportunity to give an enthusiastic YAY!!! for begging and pleading :D )
 
Obviously I’m very interested in the presence or absence of consent for the dom, as it relates to me.
 
( yes, I know, Me Me Me Me Me, but hey, I’m the dom, who knew :p )
 
 

Every Time The Importance Of Consent Is Not Respected, God Kills A Kitten

 
I feel that the absence of an emphasis on active, positive consent in most femdom fanmat (and indeed most BDSM fanmat as a whole) may be a significant part of the reason why many submissives don’t appreciate its importance enough to explicitly and specifically express it to a dominant to whom they are applying for a position of service, and indeed why sometimes more dominants aren’t able to avoid such consent related difficulties more often.
 
 
(apologies to grammarians for the length of that last sentence ;) )
 
 
When I seek submissives, it obviously would benefit me if their desires fit in with my desires, so it’s an integral part of my search to enquire about how their needs fit in with what I offer, and how their limits and desires would affect their ability to consent to serve me to my requirements. The more I think about it, it would seem that consent plays an integral role in everything I do in my life, whether it be in a vanilla context, or d/s, or indeed any context at all.
 
 
I don’t find actual or implied lack of consent, or even subtle omission of consent to be in the least arousing, actually.
 
 
When I consider the subtleties of how consent is disregarded in femdom fanmat, I not only do not feel aroused, but I feel somewhat sickened and angry. And I remember all the contact attempts I’ve had from people offering to “serve” who have absolutely no interest in MY desires, needs and wants, but simply wish to exploit me to fulfill THEIR desires, needs and wants.

And when it becomes evident to them that this just isn’t going to happen, I am then, on occasion, a target for their anger and frustration, which obviously is not going to change my mind about my decision.

Further to that, I wonder if the absence of the femdom’s desires, needs and wants in femdom fanmat, leads these people to conclude that they will get what they want by getting angry and speaking disrespectfully and abusively to me. Because from my perspective, the more disrespectfully I am addressed, the less I am likely to feel inclined to override my decision.

And this decision, made according to my own needs, is unlikely to change in order to achieve the dubious pleasure of meeting their needs, and in the process likely subject myself to further disrespect, abuse, not to mention extremely poor service.

Why indeed should I disregard my entitlement to decline or give consent according to my own needs and desires, simply to indulge an individual who not only can’t meet my needs, but clearly is incapable of seeing to their own needs?
 

    And here’s a question: Where did they get the idea that my consent is something which they may disregard anyhow?

 
The bulk of the communications I get from submissives seeking to “serve”, mostly aren’t asking me what I want, or even considering what I want. They inform me what they want. The only consent they seem to be seeking is my consent to indulge their fantasies however they want.

They mostly appear not to be considering my consent about taking charge of them, which to my mind, is a whole lot of a bigger responsibility than say, just consenting to do whatever activity.

And it would seem that many doms can get into difficulties because of not firmly establishing the boundaries and limits of consent on both sides from the outset, neither of which are commonly sought nor volunteered.
 
 
Eileen said quite beautifully:
 

    “I like it even less to be approached by people … I don’t know who want to submit to me.

    … Do you realize that in so blithely handing your submission over to me without knowing my qualities, you have devalued all of the work I’ve done in my emotional journey to accept my dominance?

    …Submission… is an exchange. Do you know what you demand of me, when you submit to me? That the more power you give me the more responsibility I have? …

    I want you to dominate me.

    Do you have any fucking clue what you’re asking?

    What part of domination and submission says that the dominant’s part is easy? … Maybe you think I’m an appropriate person to submit to, but more important than your opinion is my own. It’s my life, after all.

    … It’s not just “Do you trust me to dominate you?” It’s “Do I trust you to submit to me?” “

 
This sounds to me exactly like a woman whose entitlement to consent has been disregarded just too many times.
 
 

Denial Of Culpability

 
Regarding the stories I described above, I have heard some opinions from a male submissive perspective which consider that consent was actually implied or tacitly given in those stories, and that opinion is based on the fact that consent had been given for something else.
 

    Fact: Consent for one thing does not equal consent for a different thing.

 
To me, that sounds like what rapists say when they’re denying responsibility for what they’ve done.

In relation to the first story I mentioned above, one submissive says that consent was given because of the fact that the submissive in the chastity device was in an established d/s relationship.

He also says that the submissive could go to the doctor to get the chastity device removed. So even though it might be embarrassing to do that, it isn’t life threatening.
 

    ( the implication being, that if it isn’t life threatening, consent has been given? )

 
In relation to the second story I mentioned, he says that consent was given because she had a choice, even though it may not have been a choice she liked.
 
 

    He says that “cooperation equals consent”.

 
 
I find SO much wrong with all of that, I hardly know where to start.
 
 
The idea that being in an established d/s relationship means by definition that consent has already been given for every possible behaviour and activity within that relationship, sounds to me like a justification for things like marital rape. I don’t agree that being in an established relationship removes the human entitlement to decline or give consent for any individual thing.
 
 
It certainly doesn’t mean that in my relationships.
 
 
Having a choice does not equal consent. Cooperation does not equal consent. Ok, here are some simple scenarios in which choice and/or cooperation clearly doesn’t equal consent:
 

  1. If an individual has a choice of two alternatives, and decides on one course of action because they are told that the other will have a much worse result, and that information is a lie, then that is not properly informed choice or consent;
  2.  

  3. If an individual is under the authority and power of another individual (such as in employment) and that individual offers a choice of two punishments when there was no prior (employment) agreement that any punishment is appropriate, and opting out altogether would result in dismissal (from employment {contestable, but still, a hassle}), then that is not consent, that is abuse of power;
  4.  

  5. If an individual is in an established power exchange relationship, and has a concern, and repeated attempts to raise that concern result in those concerns being minimised, invalidated, and dismissed, with a refusal to discuss the concern, then continued cooperation within the relationship, and choosing to continue on in the relationship does not equal consent or cooperation in the matter of the original concern
  6.  

  7. If an individual is submitting in an established power exchange relationship, and:
    • that individual agrees not to move from the spot, and
    • two alternatives are offered for the submissive to choose from, one much more unpleasant than the other, and
    • neither have been agreed to beforehand, and
    • having agreed not to move from the spot, and raising concerns which are invalidated and/or minimised and/or disregarded, the individual is not permitted to opt out, and
    • being told that resisting or walking away would result in harsh sanctions (such as the dominant withholding affection/time/attention from the submissive afterwards),

    Then choosing the lesser unpleasant one, and cooperating and remaining on the spot in order to avoid the harsh sanctions, does not amount to cooperation, does not amount to choice, and does not amount to consent. That, again, is abuse of power.

 
 

Some Facts About Consent

 

  • Consent and/or cooperation in one matter does not imply, grant, or compel consent and/or cooperation in other matters, or in all matters.
  • A person always knows when their consent has not been respected, this can not be argued or negotiated.
  • When the right to decline or give consent is taken away, the result is abuse, plain and simple.

 
 

One Of Those “And Finally” Thingies

 
I feel that the desire to be controlled, including unconsensual control, stems from a deep desire to relinquish responsibility. And I feel that following on from that, the profound desire to relinquish responsibility stems from a compelling need to relinquish guilt and shame.

I can understand that having desires fulfilled, ostensibly under the control and jurisdiction of a dominant, will take responsibility for those desires (and by association, the guilt and shame as well) away from the submissive and into the jurisdiction of the dominant.

This makes it possible for a submissive to enjoy his or her desires freely and without guilt and shame. I really feel I can understand the appeal of that, even though I don’t do “guilt” or “shame”. :p

So, if most, if not all submissives have at least a fantasy desire to be controlled unconsensually, then I would imagine that most, if not all submissives, would find the idea of actually consenting in-the-flesh to a tonne of stuff would also contain much hotness.

And that being the case, why isn’t there more femdom fanmat out there which has something like outrageous consent on the part of all players featuring more largely in the finished products?

I think I’ll leave that question for the porn makers to answer for.
 
 
Consensually,

Lubyanka. :)
 
 

ps: Phew, that was bloody long. Everybody who has read this far has now won a prize!

You have now won an ice cream with a built-in tongue exercise regimen, to be implemented by the individual of your choice!

*wild cheers from the crowd*

There. All better now? :)

*passes out ice creams*

pps: I swear, this was the really good prize, honest, not the icky cheesy one (minus the cheese) from behind door number three, which was just some washing up sponges and a packet of imitation Italian breadsticks made in Romania.

ppps: Ok, who hasn’t had an ice cream yet?
 

About Lady Lubyanka

I am a 45 year old musician, and also a multisexual, polyamourous, Jewish, socially dominant woman within my romantic BDSM relationships.
This entry was posted in BDSM, Consent, Domination, Dominatrix, Eating, Failed Career Attempts, FemDom, FemDomme, feminisation, Food, fuckwits, humpage, leather, Me Me Me Me Me, Mistress, Power Exchange, Psychology, Rant, Respect, slave, Spokesmodel, sub, submission, submissive. Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Hey, Who Stole My Consent, And What’s Up With That Anyway?

  1. Tom Allen says:

    Unimpaired judgement which is not adversely affected by any medical condition, chemicals, drugs, herbal remedies, hypnosis, or any other things

    Did you forget to mention overt arousal?

    I feel that the desire to be controlled, including unconsensual control, stems from a deep desire to relinquish responsibility.

    Sometimes that’s true. But sometimes it’s just a cigar, you know?

  2. Hi Tom :)

    Unimpaired judgement which is not adversely affected by any medical condition, chemicals, drugs, herbal remedies, hypnosis, or any other things

    Undistracted by arousal, excitement, tiredness, misdirection, or any other things

    I guess you missed the arousal being under “Undistracted” instead of “Unimpaired judgement”, which maybe wasn’t the most accurate place to put it, but enh, it’s there anyhow, I included it. Is this where we blame the new glasses again? ;)

    And please don’t get me started on the many serious and intense issues I have with one Sigmund Fuckwit. He may have been the discoverer of the unconscious, but what he did with that should have had him arrested and in gaol, in my opinion. Anything he says is most likely to be regarded by me as the most offensive useless rubbish.

    Ok, so I got started on my issues, I’m neurotic, who knew, oy vey, somebody alert the media. ;)

    And obviously, if I thought some things were just some things, I’d’ve said that, wouldn’t I. :)

    Nice to see you here, Tom, I hope you’re well, did you have a good holiday?

    Lubyanka. :)

  3. Tom Allen says:

    And obviously, if I thought some things were just some things, I’d’ve said that, wouldn’t I. :)

    Well, you didn’t say them… I did.

    I – sort of – agree with you… but – sort of – don’t, and I think I’m going to address it in an article… if I can get off my ass and actually write something for a change instead if just leaving witty comments around teh interwebz.

  4. Arafinwe says:

    Very nice. First of all I just want to say that your piece is a very in depth look at something which is often shallow, “consent”. What I mean is,…..that you have observed and analyzed consent very deeply, yet consent itself is often treated with far less attention, thus all the sad misunderstandings and suffering that result from carelessly given consent or unscrupulously manipulated consent.

    If you ask most people if they would be willing to give up their free will forever, they would probably say “NO WAY!”, yet just how much free will does that person really have? We are driven more by our subconscious than our conscious, on average at a ratio of about 9 to 1. We TRY to run our lives with our conscious minds, but it is really our subconscious that drives most of our actions of body, speech, and mind. Consent thus does not exist solely within the realm of the conscious, no matter how much we would like it to, but travels within the realm of our subconscious minds with far more strength. Just think of “consenting” to something in a dream, for instance, if you need proof that consent exists in your subconscious. Free will is only as free as one’s awareness of that free will, and in the end that awareness must permeate both the conscious and subconscious mind in order for true consent, as you defined it, to exist.

    Everyone seeks balance. Some seek it knowingly and some have no idea that balance is what they are seeking. Perhaps fiction involving relinquishment of consent serves the writer as a means of seeking balance through catharsis and/or curiosity, and serves the reader as a means of seeking experiences that would otherwise be off limits in real life. Both the writer and the reader seek balance when they do these things. Is the imbalance of “fanmat” you speak of justified? I think the better question would be “Does fanmat provide opportunities, which are acted upon, to find balance more often than it denies them?” (My guess would be the latter, by the way.) Desire exists almost exclusively within the subconscious and provokes reactions in the conscious that are usually just an attempt to serve the needs of the subconscious. A person thus really consents subconsciously every time he or she acts, speaks, or thinks in ways that serve desire. The same is true for all the emotions.

    Now,……..I guess I’d better pay some attention to that delicious ice cream you just gave me before it melts away like a dream. :)

    Arafin

  5. Hello Tom,

    I wrote:
    And obviously, if I thought some things were just some things, I’d’ve said that, wouldn’t I. :)
     
    You wrote:
    Well, you didn’t say them… I did.
     
    I’m not sure what you meant here. My remark, which contained “I’d’ve said that, wouldn’t I” was referring to a line of yours, which I should have quoted at the time for clarity:
     
    I wrote:
    I feel that the desire to be controlled, including unconsensual control, stems from a deep desire to relinquish responsibility.
     
    You wrote:
    Sometimes that’s true. But sometimes it’s just a cigar, you know?
     
    So when I said that I thought some things were just some things, I was saying that, if I thought that the desire to be controlled had nothing more behind it than that, then I most likely would have expressed that. I was saying that I disagree that in this case, a cigar was just a cigar. I apologise for not quoting your remark which I was responding to, I can see that out of context, what I said was unclear.

    I look forward to reading your article on the topic, although I hope that work on it won’t interfere with you leaving your sparkling comments over here (and elsewhere).

    Best regards,

    Lubyanka. :)

  6. Hello Arafin, :)

    You said:
    We are driven more by our subconscious than our conscious, on average at a ratio of about 9 to 1.
     
    That’s interesting, where did you get that information about the ratio from? I feel that’s very likely to be accurate.

    I would not agree that the conscious mind is always unaware of what the subconscious is doing, however.

    You said:
    Free will is only as free as one’s awareness of that free will, and in the end that awareness must permeate both the conscious and subconscious mind in order for true consent, as you defined it, to exist.
     
    I do not agree with that, at all. The conscious mind is always aware of discomfort and other unpleasant responses from the subconscious mind, irrespective of the knowledge and reasons for those responses. A conscious awareness of an unwillingness to or absence of consent does not require an awareness of the reasons within the subconscious for not consenting. This was part of what I meant, and one of the things I was referring to when I said:
     
    A person always knows when their consent has not been given, this can not be argued or negotiated.
     
    Consent, in my universe, does not need to be defended or explained or defined in order to be respected. I do not believe it is necessary for a person’s unwillingness to consent to have to be coherently explained or defended in order for another individual to respect that consent was not given. In fact, I would regard it as disrespectful in the extreme for an explanation and/or defense to be demanded for consent not given, if that explanation and/or defense clearly involves difficulties and/or discomfort.

    The criteria I outlined for consent are there because consent is so often not respected by other people. The criteria I outlined are there so that other people may have a way to ensure they are respecting another’s right to consent or not consent. There is no requirement whatsoever for any individual to have any idea at all what is going on in the conscious or subconscious mind of another person who is consenting or not consenting, in order to effectively respect that individual’s right to consent or not consent. Since consent being respected depends entirely on other people, the reasons for consent or non consent don’t matter a sausage in that context.

    I probably should have made that more clear. I may edit the post to include that. I might change the word “given” in “A person always knows when their consent has not been given” to “respected”. But I’m not sure about that, I may add a section on this, but the post is so long already.

    *sigh*.
     
    You said:
    Everyone seeks balance. Some seek it knowingly and some have no idea that balance is what they are seeking. Perhaps fiction involving relinquishment of consent serves the writer as a means of seeking balance through catharsis and/or curiosity, and serves the reader as a means of seeking experiences that would otherwise be off limits in real life. Both the writer and the reader seek balance when they do these things
     
    I have no idea what you mean by that. Can you define what you mean by “balance” in this context? “Balance” as I understand it, is not something which I would agree everybody seeks.

    If you define “balance” to mean “equivalence on both sides”, then I would very much disagree with you. D/s relationships certainly do not contain equivalence on both sides, and people seek out those kinds of relationships precisely because of the unequivalence.

    I find the term “balance” to be quite vague and not very helpful. I would say that I seek to have my needs met. I don’t think the term “balance” fits into that.
     
    You wrote:
    Is the imbalance of “fanmat” you speak of justified? I think the better question would be “Does fanmat provide opportunities, which are acted upon, to find balance more often than it denies them?” (My guess would be the latter, by the way.)

    As I have no idea what you mean by the term “balance”, I can’t really comment effectively on what you said (or even understand it at all). I do not believe I spoke of any kind of “imbalance” in fanmat. And how can “balance” be justified? Justified by whom? I think your rephrased question is incomprehensible, at least it is to me. What original question did you mean it to be rephrasing? I’m not sure you understood what I was saying there. I wrote:
     
    I have nothing personally against fanmat. I have, at times, enjoyed fanmat by myself and with partners. :) And I have no problem with maledom fanmat and gaydom fanmat, as those make use of, are made by, and are targeted for the same people who benefit from it and enjoy it.

    My problem here is, that femdom fanmat uses people of my gender, yet is not targeted at, nor does it benefit my gender for the most part. I feel that femdom fanmat exploits people of my gender without offering much in exchange for that exploitation.
     
    I have no problem with femdom fanmat either, as such. Fanmat serves a function. I should probably have made that more clear. What I was objecting to was the fact that there is fanmat out there making use of, and exploiting the position I occupy in the world of BDSM, yet that exploitation is not thanked, nor acknowledged, nor compensated with service to my needs. It pretends to cater for my needs, and in fact does nothing of the kind. Some people’s needs are being served and represented (which is great), and the needs of others, such as myself, are disregarded and ignored. I object to that. I represent an untapped market which can be exploited to everybody’s advantage.

    I do not require femdom fanmat to only cater for my needs. I am simply saying that my needs, and the needs of people like me, are underserved, and few people, if any, seem to be addressing this.

    You wrote:
    Desire exists almost exclusively within the subconscious and provokes reactions in the conscious that are usually just an attempt to serve the needs of the subconscious. A person thus really consents subconsciously every time he or she acts, speaks, or thinks in ways that serve desire. The same is true for all the emotions.
     
    I disagree that desire exists almost exclusively in the subconscious. I think that is one way in which people might try to disclaim responsibility for their desires. If the conscious mind is built upon the foundations of the conscious, then by definition, what exists in the subconscious can, and sometimes does, exist in the conscious as well.

    I think you are also assuming here that the conscious mind necessarily exists in conflict with the subconscious. I disagree with that premise. I disagree that the needs of the subconscious differ from the needs of the conscious mind. I disagree that desire in the subconscious mind can not be matched by desire in the conscious mind.

    If you are talking exclusively about repressed desire, then that is a different matter entirely.

    Interesting questions to consider.

    (except for that stuff about “balance”, that annoyed me, because of the vague undefinedness of the term, and your lack of explanation of where you were coming from and stuff, but it’s all good :) )

    Best regards,

    Lubyanka. :)

  7. Arafinwe says:

    Hi,

    Gosh. I think we actually agree on most of this stuff, but for some reason it just doesn’t look that way. I shall try to clarify a few things and hope I don’t muddy the waters even further.

    The stat for ratio of subconscious to conscious is well known by most hypnotists, hypnotherapists, and psychologists. Some even say that the subconscious mind takes as much as 95% of the scene.

    I never said that the conscious mind is always unaware of what the subconscious is doing. I dislike the western model of a separate conscious and subconscious. We have one mind not two. However, for the purpose of this discussion I shall try to adhere to the model already in use. The part of the mind that is the “so called conscious” analyses, criticizes, and contributes to decisions,…..but it does not always make decisions based solely on that analyses or criticism. What we FEEL with the subconscious part of our minds is very often largely present in decision making. When I said,

    “Free will is only as free as one’s awareness of that free will, and in the end that awareness must permeate both the conscious and subconscious mind in order for true consent, as you defined it, to exist.”

    , I was not saying that the conscious was ever unaware of discomfort, etc. from the subconscious, merely that free will does not reside JUST within the conscious. Many would disagree with me on this point, I know, but I point again to decisions we make in dreams as proof. Again the western model of the two types of mind fails. Hence my use of the term “awareness”.

    I think we would both agree that consent means awareness of what is being consented to and is essential. No awareness of what is being consented to, no real consent. To me, every single point you made:

    “• In possession of all faculties, fully and completely, and awake and alert
    • Unimpaired judgement which is not adversely affected by any medical condition, chemicals, drugs, herbal remedies, hypnosis, or any other things
    • Undistracted by arousal, excitement, tiredness, misdirection, or any other things
    • Knowledge and understanding which is comprehensive and complete, of all pertinent and available information
    • Agreement AND permission, which is fully informed, and freely, voluntarily and willingly given”

    is exactly the way I feel. I would just choose to define the word “awake” as “aware”. This should not imply that I think consent should be negotiated or given when a person is not awake in the normal sense, simply that a state other than asleep does not always imply awareness.

    The word “balance” I used was meant to mean spiritual balance, inner harmony, NOT equality of position in a power exchange relationship. Example: a person who is naturally submissive seeks balance by consenting to the control of a Domme. That submissive has certain needs, the fulfilling of which contribute to the inner balance he or she seeks. Every living thing seeks this balance, this harmony, although few realize that they are seeking, let alone what it is that they seek.

    I stand by my statement about the “location” of desire, (and other emotions). We may analyze and examine desire with our conscious minds, but we experience desire, FEEL it, with the subconscious. This does not mean that while feeling desire we cannot simultaneously analyze what we are feeling.

    My point in writing:

    “Desire exists almost exclusively within the subconscious and provokes reactions in the conscious that are usually just an attempt to serve the needs of the subconscious. A person thus really consents subconsciously every time he or she acts, speaks, or thinks in ways that serve desire. The same is true for all the emotions.”

    was not to excuse any sort of responsibility on the part of someone giving consent, but rather to examine the mechanics of reactionary thought. Someone cuts me off in traffic, I get mad, and I shout something to the effect that they were dropped on their head as a child. In that process:
    1. Someone cuts me off.
    2. My subconscious experiences anger.
    3. My subconscious thinks of shouting something.
    4. My conscious agrees with that idea and I shout.
    My awareness of the entire process was insufficient to refrain from shouting. If I had been more aware, I would have broken the reactionary cycle at #4, perhaps even #3 or #2. (I use this example simply because it is less cumbersome than describing desire.)

    This whole thread was about consent. A very broad and misunderstood term if you ask me. I hesitate to say that consent is like a chain, only as strong as it’s weakest link, yet I see similarities. Misunderstanding between two parties, or even within oneself, about EXACTLY what consent means in each and every situation will always be a big challenge for some and less so for others. Some relationships just have a natural ease of communication. Some do not. In the end I think consent is an excellent and NECESSARY goal of ANY relationship, not just one within labeled D/s. Has there ever really been a relationship that did not involve at least some sort of power exchange? I suspect not.

    Thank you for your insightful and illuminating perspectives. I really enjoy this type of discussion.

    Gratefully,
    Arafin

  8. Hello Arafin, :)

    Thank you for clarifying your position, I better understand what you meant now. I agree that primarily, it would seem you’re agreeing with most of my post.

    Yay to that. :)

    Probably unsurprisingly to you, I’m going to now take apart the parts of your comment which I feel are built on inadequate logic. You have been warned. :p

    Ok…… company….. ADVANCE

    [insert relevant and appropriate bugle noise here]

    You said:
     
    I think we would both agree that consent means awareness of what is being consented to and is essential. No awareness of what is being consented to, no real consent. To me, every single point you made … is exactly the way I feel. I would just choose to define the word “awake” as “aware”. This should not imply that I think consent should be negotiated or given when a person is not awake in the normal sense, simply that a state other than asleep does not always imply awareness.

    I don’t agree with you regarding “awake” vs “aware”. People in trance, and in sleep, are always somewhat aware of their surroundings. Being in trance would not often be referred to as a “wakeful” state, even if it isn’t entirely a sleep state. Being too cold or too warm, feeling an unexpected and/or intrusive touch, or hearing an unaccustomed or unpleasant sound can waken a person from sleep, or from trance. Certain specified triggers can waken a person from trance or sleep, even if they are no more than a whispered word, such as their name. If a sleeping or trancing person can tune into their environment enough to be aware of and respond to certain triggers, sounds, smells or sensations, then it seems clear that “aware” would not adequately cover what I meant to say in my description of criteria for consent.

    I feel that “awake and alert” covered my meaning there more comprehensively than the term “aware” can.

    I would like now to refer you to this rather spiffy guide I found whilst dredging through the intarwebz for assistance.

    I think the most important instruction on there is:
     
    Do not define a word by mere repetition.
     
    I could not believe how hard it was to find a page on how to write a definition which included this in its instructions!!

    i.e. Do not define a word by simply repeating the word. A word cannot be defined by having itself contained in, and central to the definition.

    I spent ages trying to find a web page to link you to, which supported my own rule of not using the defined word in defining that word, and the time I had trying to locate one! Amazing (and quite disappointing).

    It is truly unbelievable to me that of the several hours I spent searching the web for how to define words, only ONE page (and that quite a good one, if I may say; concise, coherent and complete in my opinion) included the incredibly basic idea of: “Don’t use the word itself to define the word you’re defining.”

    And the reason I spent all those hours tearing my hair out trying to find you a web page which contained easy, comprehensive instructions on how to define words?

    I found your definition of “balance” to be utterly incomprehensible.

    Your definition broke all the rules I know about with regards to how to effectively communicate a definition of a word you’re using to other individuals. I mentioned in my other comment that I found your use of the term “balance” to be vague, not very helpful, and incomprehensible. And nothing about that has changed.
     
    The word “balance” I used was meant to mean spiritual balance, inner harmony, NOT equality of position in a power exchange relationship.
     
    What is “spiritual balance”?

    Spiritual balance of what?

    What about “harmony”, are you saying it’s a synonym for balance?

    And if “harmony” is a synonym for “balance”, then I will need a definition which defines both, please. What makes “balance” different and/or similar to “harmony”?

    You’ve said what balance is not, but you’ve still not said what balance IS.
     
    Example: a person who is naturally submissive seeks balance by consenting to the control of a Domme. That submissive has certain needs, the fulfilling of which contribute to the inner balance he or she seeks. Every living thing seeks this balance, this harmony, although few realize that they are seeking, let alone what it is that they seek.
     
    As you have neglected to coherently define the term “balance”, or indeed “harmony”, this example is utterly meaningless to me, I’m afraid. Even if I were to assume a “standard” meaning in the English language for “balance”, that wouldn’t help me as there are so many of them, see?

    Let me use your text as an example. I will substitute a term for “balance” and “harmony” to see if those terms get defined any better by your definition and example:

    The word “schlitbang” I used was meant to mean spiritual schlitbang, inner bangschlit, NOT equality of position in a power exchange relationship. Example: a person who is naturally submissive seeks schlitbang by consenting to the control of a Domme. That submissive has certain needs, the fulfilling of which contribute to the inner schlitbang he or she seeks. Every living thing seeks this schlitbang, this bangschlit, although few realize that they are seeking, let alone what it is that they seek.

    Do you feel any clearer on the definition of “schlitbang” than you did before I started explaining? Cos I don’t.

    What is “inner balance”?

    What is being balanced?

    How is “balance” equivalent or not equivalent to “harmony”?

    And whatever “balance” is, by your definition, if you have one, is not something I am likely to agree that every living thing is realistically seeking (unless it’s something like H2O). I am getting the feeling that this specific idea of “balance” is something you came up with yourself, and have not comprehensively and logically thought through enough to be able to coherently describe to somebody else.

    And this being the case, I don’t know how I can be expected to understand and/or agree with an idea which can’t be adequately explained and/or communicated by the person who believes in it.

    Also, since I am not a spiritual person, as well as being an atheist, I am unlikely to be able to buy into an idea of “balance” which can be described as “spiritual.

    I could go on with this, as I’ve a whole lot more I could say (rant :p ), but I (hope) think you get the idea by now.

    ( fingers crossed ;) )

    Regarding the term “consent”, you said:
     
    This whole thread was about consent. A very broad and misunderstood term if you ask me. I hesitate to say that consent is like a chain, only as strong as it’s weakest link, yet I see similarities.
     
    I utterly disagree with the statement that “consent” is a very broad and misunderstood term. I feel consent is as simple as a “yes” or a “no”. Those are not difficult concepts to get the head wrapped round. People may perhaps complicate it by being unwilling to respect consent, but this does not change the inherent meaning of the term.

    I feel you are completely contradicting yourself with the chain analogy. If a chain only being as strong as its weakest link is analagous to consent, then the link is either sound enough to hold the chain together, or it isn’t. I said in my post:
     
    For me, consent is either ON, or OFF. Consent is either given or not given. I don’t buy into the idea of there being different levels of consent. If you break a behaviour down into its smallest components, I have always found that there are elements which can be separately consented to.
     
    I stand by that statement. It fits the chain analogy which you mentioned, which directly contradicts your previous statement.

    You said:
     
    Misunderstanding between two parties, or even within oneself, about EXACTLY what consent means in each and every situation will always be a big challenge for some and less so for others.
     
    I’m going to rephrase that statement, because, as it is, it doesn’t do very much for me. I think I disagree with it, but I’m not sure. So here goes:
     
     
    One of the significant challenges every person will encounter in their interactions with other people (to a greater or lesser degree), is overcoming misunderstandings (both within themselves and between themselves and others) about exactly what consent means in all possible contexts.
     
     
    I disagree with that statement. Misunderstanding, and therefore communication, is quite a separate entity to consent. Consent may be communicated, or not communicated. Communication may be consented to, or not consented to. Misunderstandings and difficulties with communication may possibly lead to conflicts about consent, or about respect, or about any other topic. But the idea of consent is not integral to the meaning of communication.

    I believe that you are erroneously bringing consent (as the topic of the post) into what would otherwise be a fairly accurate general statement of belief regarding communication issues. If I took the “consent” element out of the paragraph, I would agree with it:
     
    One of the significant challenges every person will encounter in their interactions with other people (to a greater or lesser degree), is overcoming misunderstandings, both within themselves and between themselves and others.
     
    or even your own paragraph:
     
    Misunderstanding between two parties, or even within oneself, will always be a big challenge for some and less so for others.
     
    I can easily agree completely with those paragraphs.

    If a person with whom I am in a relationship tells me what consent means to them, then fine. If they persistently try to tell me what consent is supposed to mean to me, then that is disrespectful, and a deal-breaker, and I’m out of there. I know what consent means to me, and I know very well what I am and am not consenting to, irrespective of what they know about their own consent.

    The effects of respect may depend upon them being communicated, but consent doesn’t tend to suffer from those issues. There are so many unequivocal ways to say “no”, whether verbally, or non-verbally, that it would need a fair amount of disrespectful blindness not to notice, or to disregard when noticed, when a person is not consenting to something.

    Difficulties with consent being respected is not the same as difficulties with communication. The former relies on more than one participant, the latter does not.

    In the case of the former, that depends entirely on one person consenting or not consenting, and at least one other person respecting or not respecting that consent.

    In the case of the latter, the responsibility for self knowledge and communication rests entirely on the communication skills of the one communicating. There are separate difficulties with being able to even know, let alone clearly communicate needs of the self, which are unrelated to consent. I will address these while covering (trashing? ;) ) your next statement.

    You said:
     
    Some relationships just have a natural ease of communication. Some do not.
     
    I disagree with that statement. I don’t believe that easy communication is at all “natural”. I will elaborate, but first I am going to clarify some terms:

    When I use “easy”, I mean “achieving a goal with minimial or no effort”.

    When I use “natural”, I mean something like “a skill which requires no specialist training or knowledge to implement”.

    So your text, with my definitions, might read (somewhat awkwardly, but sensibly) something like:
     
    Some relationships just have effortless goals achieved using unspecialist untrained skills in communication. Some do not.
     
    Now for the elaboration:

    In order to clearly communicate what is intended, it is necessary for an individual to say what they mean, and to mean what they say. This sounds obvious, and simple, but it isn’t as straightforward as it sounds.

    Most people are not in happy possession of an adequate awareness of the self, in my experience. In order to say what one means, it is necessary to have knowledge of what one intends. In order to have knowledge of what one intends, it is necessary to have knowledge of the self, and knowledge of the needs of the self. In-depth knowledge of the needs of the self is not something which I have found to be commonplace.

    Example: One may say: “You aren’t listening to me”, and really mean: “I need to feel heard”.

    One may say: “You make me so angry”, and really mean: “I feel anger”.

    Those two things may seem similar, but they are really very different. The first statements are in terms of another person, as in, external to the self. The second ones are in terms of the self. The first are blaming, the second ones are expressions of personal feelings. The first ones are critical (containing assumptions or implications that the current unpleasant feelings are reliant on the person being addressed), the second ones take personal responsibility for feelings. The first ones are abdicating responsibility (blaming the other person), the second ones are not.

    In that example, the first statements represent what the speaker feels, but not what the speaker means. The second statements represent what the speaker feels, and what they mean.

    Thus we have an example of how an individual may not be capable of expressing precisely what they mean, due to insufficient knowledge of the self. And without being able to say precisely what they mean, they are, by definition, unable to mean precisely what they say.

    I have found that attaining sufficient knowledge of the self for clear and accurate communication is not quickly nor easily achieved, and is not commonplace. Achieving this goal is not “easy” or “natural”. Individuals with sufficient self-knowledge to support accurate and comprehensible communication are ones with whom others find communication “easy” and “natural”. This is entirely due to the skills of, and the work put in by the speaker and not because of some vague sort of rapport which is unquantifiable.

    And the sheer amount of work required to develop self awareness enough to become a skilled communicator, totally negates any idea for me, that effective communication is “natural”. It may feel easy and natural for a less skilled communicator to interact with a skilled one, but you may take it as read that the skilled communicator knows that there is nothing “natural” about the other person’s ease of communicating with them.

    I personally find communication much easier with people who have adequate self-awareness to facilitate good communication. I can’t tell you how much time in my life I’ve spent trying to elicit communication from people who were insufficiently self-aware. I’m sure I have a long way to go in my own journey before I’m able to be better at this myself, but the fact remains, any “ease” and “natural” feeling communications I’ve participated in, were solely due to the amount of work I put into acquiring the self-awareness I possess, and the amount of self-awareness my speaking partner(s) possessed.

    An individual who finds it more “easy” and “natural” to communicate with me than with others, is much more likely to encounter difficulties when speaking with less self-aware people than I am, since I am usually the participant in the conversation who has more self-awareness.

    A skilled tennis player who is playing with a beginner tennis player can direct the ball to near the beginner and thus the beginner will be able to easily get to the ball and return it much of the time. The game will feel “easy” and “natural”. A beginner tennis player playing with another beginner, with neither of them having adequate control of their racquets and the ball, will both find the game far more difficult than if either of them were each playing with a skilled player. The skilled player can make the game feel “easy” and “natural” for the beginner, but not the other way round. And communication will only feel “easy” and “natural” to a person without good communication skills and/or self-awareness, if they are communicating with a skilled communicator who has a significant amount of self-awareness.

    I believe that the responsibility for self awareness, knowing one’s own limits and boundaries, and knowing the precise delineations of one’s own consent, rests entirely on the individual concerned. Mind reading is not a skill which most humans have at their disposal. Accurate and comprehensive communication is absolutely crucial in order for any relationships between people to be able to function adequately. This crucially includes communication with the self. Inadequate knowledge of one’s own limits and boundaries makes it absolutely impossible for one to actually know and be aware of these things. Without an awareness of them, it won’t ever be possible to communicate them to others.

    I believe I have clearly made my case regarding the precision of the term “consent”, the responsibilities individuals have for misunderstandings between themselves and others, and who is really responsible for communication between individuals seeming “easy” and “natural” or not.

    Phew, I think that’ll do it for now, thank you. :)

    Best regards, and a smile for making me sweat over this for the last few days,

    Lubyanka. :)

  9. Tom Allen says:

    Do you feel any clearer on the definition of “schlitbang” than you did before I started explaining?

    Well, duh! It’s kinda like “helzapoppin”, only moreso.

    Geez, you kids make an issue out of everything nowadays.

  10. Oh, coooool, I post a comment that gets its own comment. :D
     
    *makes note to self about posting whole blog posts in the comments*
     
    I’m so glad you’re still leaving sparkly comments round teh intarwebz, Tom. :)
     
    *offers coffee and biscuits round the place*

  11. Ok Tom and Arafin, I’ve modified the lists of consent elements slightly to account for the very valid points you made, plus added one which I’m kicking myself for leaving out:
     
     
    In Possession of All Faculties, awake and alert, fully and completely

    Unimpaired Judgement which is not adversely affected by any medical condition, chemicals, drugs, herbal remedies, hypnosis, arousal, excitement, subspace, fatigue, or any other things

    Undistracted by misdirection, other activities, conversation, or any other things

    Knowledge AND Understanding which is comprehensive and complete, of all pertinent and available information

    Full Opportunity AND Sufficient Recurring Pauses given during any activities, after full information has been conveyed, to allow enough time to consider, and to say “No” at any time if necessary

    Agreement AND Permission, which is fully informed, and freely, voluntarily and willingly given
     
     
    And modified the list of consent mitigators to match:
     
     
    Lies

    Incomplete Information

    Misinformation

    Impaired and/or Distracted Judgement

    Insufficient Time and/or Opportunity to Have Said “No”

    Duress and/or Coercion
     
     
    Your input has been much appreciated. :)

    Lubyanka. :)

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