Consensual Non-Consent and Me

(Content warning: this post discusses rape fantasies, heavy BDSM play, emotional abuse and sexual assault.)

Rape fantasies. An incredibly common sexual fantasy, emphasis on the word “fantasy”. I believe this is one of the biggest things at the core of my own sexuality, this is the fantasy that has led me to BDSM.

Except that “fantasy” doesn’t feel like a good enough word for my sexual inclinations, the word “fantasy” feels reductive. Let’s see if I can unpack my feelings here. Please note, this is not going to be a guide on how to do rape play, in fact if you are new to these explorations I would very much NOT recommend doing what I’m doing. Rather this is an attempt to better articulate the specificities of my own desires and how I explore them in my sex life. In my opinion, whatever takes place in the realms of fantasy or between two consenting adults is just fine and dandy. If your opinion differs, or the eroticisation of dark subjects is a trigger for you, you might want to proceed with caution.

In my mind, there are two modalities within which it is common to engage with this fantasy. The first is “rape play”, this involves consenting adults engaging in a type of role-play that involves the acting out of forced sex fantasies. Rape play has never particularly worked for me, I could never really suspend my disbelief enough to enjoy sexual roleplay, it has always become something of a cerebral activity, done more out of curiosity rather than genuine excitement. In short, it feels like acting and I want it to feel “real”.

EPSON MFP image

And then there is “consensual non-consent” or CNC for short. CNC tends to involve two people, often within an established kink relationship (in my case, a Dom/sub dynamic) where one partner will give their blanket consent to the other at any time, any place. Generally this involves a list of ground rules such as hard limits (certain acts that remain off bounds) and a safeword that functions as a genuine “no”, as opposed to a fun “no”. Sometimes however, and I’ve seen this become a heatedly debated topic in BDSM communities, there may be a decision to do away with the safeword. Basically, a mutually agreed upon dynamic where both partners have agreed that there is no such thing as “no”. There may also be no hard limits.

I have been in two D/s relationships where, through mutual desire and negotiation, we have limited the efficacy and power of my safeword. I am currently in my second such relationship. I have never before written publicly about my experiences and the exact rules of my dynamic as to do away with a safe word is considered foolish and potentially dangerous. In fact, I’d be the first to agree that it is potentially dangerous as I have indeed had this sort of agreement cause me a great deal of confusion in the past. However my sexual desire for this type of dynamic has meant that I have not remained deterred and so I am now in my second D/s relationship where I have given away my “right” to consent and put some degree of disclaimers on my safeword so that the functionality of my “no” is limited. As someone who has often been drawn to the more sensorially and psychologically intense and therefore risker forms of BDSM play, I prescribe to the Risk Aware Consensual Kink framework within which I consider the risks vs benefits and make an informed choice.

So I have evaluated the risks and have had experienced when things go wrong. I have also looked at the rewards and for me and the way my sexuality works, the rewards have so far outweighed the risks.

The Rules

At some point within my relationship with my current Dom, I had grown comfortable enough and felt safe enough with him that I requested a change in our rules. I wanted my safeword to no longer mean “stop”. We agreed that this was risky and to do away with the safeword altogether would be foolish. So now, instead of my safeword functioning as a true “no”, it instead has a more limited and practical application in that it only serves the purpose of being something I can use if I feel that the scene is going wrong and might put me in actual danger. Essentially, if I fear a scene runs the risk of doing me genuine and lasting damage, then my safe word is my way of saying “this has to stop and it has to stop now.” However, if I simply don’t like something that happens to me, simply really, really don’t like it, then there is the agreement that I have no ability to back out. I’ve consented to my Dom not needing my consent.

Within this framework, I have no hard limits, only acts that I hate but must endure. This does not apply to anything which will put my health at serious risk – we do not engage in any form of particularly risky edge-play without prior discussion and a great deal of caution. After all, it is a priority for myself and my Dom that I remain healthy and in one piece so that we may continue to play for many years to come.

And of course, if this agreement ever stops working for me, I can halt this agreement. Ultimately, my consent does still belong to me but we’ve done our best to create a framework within which I feel as if I do not have any rights because this is what we both deeply desire.

The Rewards

My erotic imagination has always gone towards darkness. Sensual touch has never done much for me, for as long as I can remember, the things that give me the greatest erotic charge have been much more violent and contained elements of coercion and violation. Sex for me isn’t so much about bodies and orgasms (though I do love those things) but the core of my sexuality comes down to this feeling of me being helpless, humiliated, violated, abused and, yes, raped. Why is this? I, like many, have theorised on this for years and at times in the past I would try to re-wire my erotic inclinations towards something gentler and simpler but our erotic inclinations so often go deep to our very core and honestly, that is how I feel about my drive.

I met my first Dom when I was 26 and the first time we played was the first time I was ever truly dominated, made to feel the emotions of humiliation, desire, fear and arousal which are so profoundly potent to me. Though I had dabbled in kinky play for years and had an enjoyable and adventurous sex life, the first time I ever played with my first Dom was an erotic awakening, a discovery of the core truth of my sexuality. Before then, though I’d always found sex immensely pleasurable, something had been missing but that first time with him, I found myself thinking “this must be how it feels to normal people when they get sexually aroused!” For the first time in my adult life, I actually discovered what it meant to have my cunt become truly wet with desire. Like, properly wet. Slippery wet.  That was new to me, to discover how much my body responds to mistreatment by someone I’m attracted to in a sexual context.

Since then, my explorations of my submission and masochism have involved my chasing that high. As someone who has very few hang-ups or taboos around sexuality, it takes a lot to make me genuinely uncomfortable and there are very few things that I am unwilling to try. For me, being simply tied up and spanked, for example, sounds a bit dull and old hat – after all, I’ve been asking partners to tie me up and hit me since I was 16 years old. I am someone with a large libido and an insatiable desire to explore the depths of my own experiences and so sexual activities such as rape play, or entry-level S&M simply do little to give me the sort of erotic intensity I crave. The acts one does within sex and kink don’t necessarily mean a lot to me, I wouldn’t say I have a lot of fetishes as such, rather what is important is the context and energetics surrounding the act.

My current Dom and I have created a psychological space for us within which my consent means nothing. When I am unable to say “yes” or “no” to any given act, suddenly every sexual act becomes potent. His hand groping my breast is molestation, his cock pushing inside me is violation. Outside of our D/s dynamic, my Dom is very much my partner, friend and equal but in our D/s dynamic, we have created a hierarchy where his desires rule and I am simply a glorified fleshlight, fuckdoll and punching bag. It’s mutually beneficial. It’s what we both desire.

In essence, the feeling we both crave is a sense of coming as close to stepping off the edge of what is right and into a dark and violent void. As ethical, principled, intelligent and emotionally aware people, we of course understand that to actually step off the edge and into darkness would not be a sane or reasonable thing to do. However, we have acknowledged and accepted the depths of our desires and we like to get as close to the edge as possible.

The closest comparison, and I think it is an apt one, is to someone who engages in extreme and risky sports such as mountain climbing. There are very real risks you consciously desire to take on because the thrill of exploring rarely visited territories and the thrilling feeling of touching the void is utterly intoxicating.  The explorer of hostile but fascinating landscapes does all they can to educate themselves and equip themselves for their adventures but also acknowledges that this cannot be completely free of risk. It is exactly the same with our explorations of the subterranean world of dark sexual fantasies. The risks are worth it, the rewards are incredible.

What are the rewards? Aside from just being really fucking hot? It is bonding. Deeply bonding. There is nothing like going on an adventure to really bring people close together. It is thrilling, profoundly thrilling, to feel in a moment like you cannot possibly take any more, only to be pushed even further beyond that threshold and survive the experience! It expands your sense of who you are and what you can do. D/s has shown me that I am far stronger and braver than I ever thought possible. But mostly… it’s hot. When my Dom touches me nowadays, it is as if my mind switches off and I am floating in a murky haze of arousal. When his eyes go dark and my gut clenches with fear, it is a thrilling and intoxicating fear that I suspect is paralleled by people who are addicted to sky-diving. Finally, as a masochist, when I am forced by my Dom into doing something I genuinely do not want, when I am made to feel truly miserable… these experiences will turn into the most potent memories of which I will later furiously masturbate to.

The Risks

As I have written about extensively before, my relationship with my previous Dom contained some elements of genuine emotional abuse, as well as a time, before we had a full CNC agreement, where my previous Dom crossed a hard limit of mine by engaging in breath play.

Breath play is an inherently dangerous activity and so for a long time, it was a hard limit of mine. One day towards the end of the first year of our relationship, heavily intoxicated and in the midst of something of an emotional breakdown, he one night started to choke me and restrict my breathing. At the time, I found this experience terrifying which made me profoundly aroused and I tentatively broached the subject very soon after as he had crossed a boundary that I had not consented to. (In retrospect, I wish I had broached it more assertively but it took me awhile to properly realise how much the experience troubled me.) He was apologetic and expressed gratitude for my communicating to him and in fact, because fear and non-consent are such a turn-on for me, I felt this experience as profoundly arousing. I even wrote erotica about it. A month or two later, I broke up with him for unrelated reasons but the sense of confusion around my being turned on – by what was essentially assault  – really left me feeling a lot of fear and distrust around my own sexuality. Because I had been so turned on by the experience, I do believe it stopped me from realising how fucked up what happened was. It stopped me from properly addressing my concerns and fears with him.

And so two years later I once again entered a relationship with this Dom. This time, our intimacy and love grew to a point where, at my request, we entered into a CNC agreement that was similar to the one I am currently in, albeit a tad more rudimentary. This became, at that point in my life, the most powerfully intense sexual connection I had yet experienced. I believe there is a psychological shift that can take place within a submissive in a long term relationship where at some point, you start to truly believe in your dynamic and in your lack of rights. I would sometimes describe it as a feeling of being brainwashed. It is, in fact, incredibly erotically potent but it’s also risky in ways I did not yet perceive (though may have gleaned with the breath play experience). I did not realise the risks until after that night in New York…

As aforementioned, I’ve already written in great detail about his emotionally abusive behaviour in New York, in particular one night when he extensively verbally abused me. Within that writing, I mention what happened at the end of that night:

“I remember that night he held me down and fucked me while whispering the cruel, nasty, humiliating things that had always been a part of our D/s dynamic and which had always turned me on intensely. Except now it felt different and so I lay there, crying, until he came inside me. My crying was not an unusual part of our sex life, in fact it was something that we both sought out as it turned us on, but this felt different. I no longer felt emotionally safe. “I probably shouldn’t have done that tonight” he said as he held me. “I’m ok” I whispered back, through tears.”

I believe that this was the moment when something between us broke irreparably. I am not sure that either he or I could have realised how deeply it would break things but our D/s have been built upon a deep foundation of trust and fundamental safety. Though his fucking me that night was technically within our rules, I believe it hurt us both. I remember that night as he fucked me… I had this sick, cold feeling inside me which would not leave me for the entire duration of our New York holiday and for several months afterwards. It felt like something had died inside me, like we had gone too close to the edge and fallen into the void. The fact that I almost committed suicide the very next day is deeply interrelated in ways that I am still unpacking. Trauma takes time to understand.

I was, however, in denial. Deeply in love and desperate for things to feel ok when we returned from New York, I pushed for us to reconnect through BDSM. He was, understandably, reticent but I insisted it was what I wanted, I felt this desperate desire to be close to him again and I suppose I hoped our D/s bond would… fix us.

One night I said to him “I want you to make me afraid, really afraid.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes.”

He put his hand around my throat and lifted me into the air for a brief moment before he did something we hadn’t done before, he punched me in the stomach. Hard. Winded and in pain, I started immediately sobbing and he did it several more times. It was terrifying and I was, of course, profoundly aroused.

When he then fucked me, I screamed at him.

“You bastard. You stupid fucking bastard.”

When we were finished, he whispered to me.

“Babe, I need you.”

“I need you too…” I whispered back through tears “I’m lonely without you.”

Then I asked him about the punching. My stomach still hurt and I wondered, out loud, if he had researched this type of play before.

“No.”

The cold, sick feeling came back. The same feeling I’d had the day after he broke my hard limit three years ago, the same feeling I had that night in New York… I realised that I was not safe. Some later research confirmed this, punching someone without understanding the risks is incredibly reckless and dangerous.  Shortly after, I ended the relationship and have not seen him since. I hope never to.

CNC in My Current Relationship

I’ve always eroticised fear, violation and degradation. However, my relationship with my first Dom gave me a deep distrust, disgust and fear of my desires. My experiences taught me that within the sort of relationship I crave, the boundaries between true violation and consensual play can be… grey and slippery. I had learned that when I was genuinely in danger, with a partner who didn’t have my best interests at heart, the situation would become confused by the fact that danger and violation arouses me so greatly.

For some time after my New York experience, I was unable to orgasm without crying. My sexuality felt unsafe to me and so I deeply wished to rid myself of it. For awhile, I felt it would be most wise for me to simply not engage in any more BDSM play, I felt I was responsible for getting myself into such messy experiences and that the safest course of action would be a sort of kink related abstinence.

But the heart wants what the heart wants and the cunt wants what the cunt wants. Over time I started dabbling in play again, with my then girlfriend, with friends and with this one person at a festival which is a story for another day… And then I met my current Dom. Our connection was at first a cerebral one of deep friendship, growing love and a shared affinity towards many things such as art, nature, comedy and so on. Unlike my relationship with my first Dom (where into D/s fast and hard long before we knew one another as people) my new D/s relationship bloomed slowly, organically, cautiously, thoughtfully and intentionally. It continues to do so.

I now believe that this slow bloom and creation of trust is fundamental to a healthy D/s dynamic. With my new Dom, I have in fact played in ways that have felt more intense, more terrifying and more intoxicating than what I experienced with my first Dom and we both feel that this is only the very beginning as we are only a year in and still building the foundations of trust, stability and security around our relationship. In short, we are gently tangling our lives together and building something that feels strong. And increasingly safe.

My last Dom was resistant to intimacy to say the least. He found conversations and communication gruelling and while I do not regret my sexual experiences with him as they led me to where I am today, his emotional abuse and the lack of safety, comfort and trust I felt with him was dangerous when combined with the complexities of my sexual desire.

So while the CNC agreement I have with my current Dom might bear some superficial resemblances to my current dynamic, the structures that support it are fundamentally different. Yes, with CNC I accept some degree of emotional risk but I now feel that I have a partner who had my deepest interests at heart and will, if things go wrong, be there besides me to pick up the pieces. This is completely, fundamentally different to what I had with my first Dom.

I have handed my body and self to someone who understands the gravity and immensity of his responsibility to me. We stand side by side and like partners who climb mountains together, we have each other’s backs.

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3 thoughts on “Consensual Non-Consent and Me

  1. Pingback: I Forgive Him I Don’t Forgive Him | Blood Sex Glitter

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