Wow, there is a lot to unpack this week. I am going to be talking about Donald Trump, Sexual Assault, and the leak from the weekend, so if any of that is triggering, be warned and ready before you read on.
Right, so …
So a tape leaked to the Washington Post with something Trump said just over a decade ago. To sum up, he talks first about pursuing a married woman and being turned down. He then talks about how he responds to beautiful women. In his words (all quotes lifted from Washington Post and the linked article),
“You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait.”
If being kissed immediately upon meeting a man is not bad enough, well, it gets worse from there.
“And when you’re a star, they let you do it,” Trump says. “You can do anything.”
“Whatever you want,” says another voice, apparently Bush’s.
“Grab them by the p—y,” Trump says. “You can do anything.”
So there is that statement … from a man accused of sexually assaulting and/or harassing multiple women, including an under-aged girl.
An image is going viral right now of a young UK man stating that he does not need to be taught not to be a rapist.
It is true that he may not need his college to teach him that. Maybe he does understand what consent and active, enthusiastic consent is. Maybe he understands how to navigate and negotiate complex situations so that he ensures that any kind of sexual encounter he has with someone is consensual.
Here is the thing, though.
I’ve written about this before.
I have also seen first hand that people still do not understand this very simple concept.
If a person is inebriated, their ability to offer consent is hindered. If you describe someone as “stone drunk” or any variation that shows their cognitive abilities are impaired, then they most definitely cannot consent.
Consent requires the ability to understand what is taking place. It requires the ability to consider the consequences of the action and decide if those consequences are desirable or not. It requires the ability to measure one’s own desire, to see if one actually wants to do the act, or if one is being coerced, guilted, pressured, or otherwise acted upon in a way to bend one’s will.
Consent requires that a person be an active and alert participant to the activity. If cognitive function is impaired, then the person is not an active participant.
We have a word for doing sexual activities with people who do not consent to those activities. It is not a kind word, but it is a real word. It is a reality for women every day on college campuses (high school campuses as well). It is also a reality for them in the work place and sometimes even in their own homes. It is a reality with strangers and with people they know and thought they could trust.
To have someone come to me and ask me to write about this for them – that is beyond the pale. It is most especially beyond the pale when I explicitly state that I do not deal with non-consensual activities in my erotica. Consent and agency are very, very important things to me. I have very deep and personal reasons that they are important.
As erotica authors, I think it is vital that we understand what consent means. The ravishment fantasy is a popular fantasy in erotica and it is a very common fantasy among women and sometimes even among men (as the ravaged). As erotica authors we have to understand how to present this fantasy in works so that people can experience the fantasy without falling into the societal conventions that scar men and women every day.
People discuss BDSM and alcohol or other drugs a lot. I am not against the safe consumption of alcohol. I have decided that when it comes to play, alcohol should stay out of the scene, especially in situations where it can impact your ability to judge the situation.
Obviously if you are in a 24/7 and you and your partner enjoy socially drinking, alcohol will be part of your dynamic. It does not have to be part of intense sessions or scenes, however. When it comes to BDSM and alcohol (or any drug where certain drugs may be legal for you) it is important to remember this:
If trust is so important between partners why would you need a safe word?
One of the first things I learned about BDSM, when I really started exploring it, was the use of the safe word.
I used to play with a Dom who I will call “John”, for the sake of privacy and all that good stuff. John was one of the first Doms that I played with, and a very considerate partner. I trusted him, knowing him outside of BDSM circles, but because I was still new to kink play, he wanted to be sure that I was comfortable with anything that we did, that he did not hurt me, and that I did not feel bad about anything that we did. We discussed what each of us wanted to explore and he had me choose a safe word, something that I would not use in our play normally, so that if I said it, he would instantly know to stop. My use of the safe word, and I did use it a few times with John, was not a signifier that I did not trust him. It was a signal to be used any time I felt, for whatever reason, that I needed to use it.
I had a very good introduction to the safe word, but I found it took a very long time to truly understand what it is. The safe word is not just a replacement for “no” or “stop” or “too much”. It does not replace trust in a BDSM dynamic; that you use it at all shows that you do very much trust your partner.
To really answer another question, I need to answer another and dispel a couple of myths.
Here is the article I’m going to be talking about.
Did you know they are making a 50 Shades movie?
Probably, because everyone is talking about it. And as someone who could not get through the first chapter of the book, I’m going to say, that is not necessarily a bad thing. It’s not a bad thing because with the chatter about the books, people are also talking about the activities in the book – specifically BDSM. And with that talk, they are turning to experts.
No, not psychiatrists and health experts. Continue reading
In Some Gals Just Like to Be Tied Up I introduced an overview of my ideas about BDSM. I want to start delving a little deeper into those ideas. Given the overall theme of my last article, and some of the misconceptions I see about BDSM, I thought consent might be a good place to start. I want to look at two ideas of consent: Implied Consent and Actual Consent.