Archive for October, 2013

Consent is not enough.

Posted: October 26, 2013 in Uncategorized

So, here’s the thing. There is a difference between wanting to play with someone sexually in a way that facilitates their submission and wanting to “dominate” someone.

If you enjoy playing with submissive people because you think submission is sexy, and you’re thrilled by the idea that someone might want to be submissive in a sexy way with you, and you want to do stuff that will make that easier and safer and more fun for them, that’s one thing. What that looks like is helping your submissive partner have experiences that they want to have — and because human psychology is fascinating, sometimes you do that by creating experiences that, on some level, they don’t want to have.

That’s different from the desire to do things to people whether they want you to or not. That is, definitionally, the desire to coerce — or, when you add sex to the mix, the desire to rape.¬†Such desires are not inherently illegitimate, because no desire is inherently illegitimate. What is illegitimate is acting on those desires by preying on people with whom it will be easiest to get away with it.

Submissives make the perfect partners for Dominants, because our often complex relationship to consent and desire makes us easy targets for Dominants to take advantage of. If what turns you on is disregarding other peoples’ humanity, it’s so much easier (psychoemotionally, logistically, and legally) to do that with someone who gave you permission than with someone who didn’t. But Dominants make bad partners for Submissives for the very same reasons.

It’s one thing to fetishistically desire to harm vulnerable people. It’s another thing to manifest that desire by actually pursuing erotic intimacy with vulnerable people who you can harm. And it is, in fact, even worse — not better — to achieve that intimacy by convincing said vulnerable people that they started it, that they invited you to hurt them, that they wanted it, that they said it was okay.

There are lots of people who enjoy sex that involves the sharing and exchange of submissive desire. Mainstream narratives about romantic lovemaking are packed with it. But the subset of submission-lovers who describe themselves as “Dominants” don’t seem interested in playing with someone because they’re excited about that individual’s personal expression of submission. Rather, they’re turned on by the idea of a “consenting” submissive partner, because that is the situation in which they are most likely to be able to get away with doing whatever they want.

See also: Dominants are Rapists