Presenter notes

One of the foundations of the idea of consent in a BDSM context is that it is freely given. In line with this, many people consider that re-negotiating a scene which is in progress is inappropriate because while under the influence of sub-space or in an altered state of mind due to pain or endorphins, people can't freely make sensible or rational decisions. Is this true?

If it is true, can't the same thing be said about consent where a master, slave, dominant, or submissive, is feeling an intense need of any sort? Such as hunger for sub-space, hunger to surrender, hunger to control?

Each of the scenarios given had notable, but maybe not obvious, consent issues:

Scenario 1

It's not said in the article, but we can assume---because no related charges were laid---that the female in the back of the car was there naked and bound consensually. But what about others involved?

Did the person or people who saw her in the back of the car and who reported this to the police consent? Actually, they were involved in a BDSM scene without their consent.

Consent has to do with things playing out according to expectations and this person or these people exited their house that day not expecting to see an apparent sex-based kidnapping occurring.

What are the consequences for this person?

We could also consider that the police involved didn't consent to be involved in a faux kidnapping, but how far does their expectations of duty extend in regards to their consent?

Scenario 2

There can be a blurring in some people's minds where they see some sort of equivalence between BDSM and GLBT sex. But consider the context of this scenario. Maybe there is a higher-than-average proportion of BDSM folk in GLBT bars, but would this type of approach be appropriate in say, a supermarket, or a parents-and-citizens meeting, or at the beach? If the answer's no to any of these, then why is it OK in a bar? Or is it actually OK in a bar?

The problem here is really that this female slave was instructed to do something which involved me. So, without my consent, I was involved in a M/s scene. This might seem trivial and, in fact, for me it was, but this is the sort of thing which does effect the view of the wider public. Won't non-BDSM folk feel uncomfortable in such a situation?


  1. The scenario shows poor respect. It can be seen as the master saying, "Even though I am in the same room as you, I will not talk to you in person but I am instead sending a lower-ranked person to talk to you." This implicitly ranks me with the lower-ranked slave.
  2. Sending a female to broker a gay encounter is probably not a successful strategy. It would be like a mistress sending a male to me to ask if I'm interested in engaging with her.

Scenario 3

The question is not whether the female gets a satisfying outcome, but what is she actually consent to? Would she still have consented if she knew that the guy was a misogynist?

And there's a question of abuse? Was she abused? Yes. Did she suffer any negative effects? No.

But, did he---the dominant---suffer any negative consequences? Yes. His abusive attitude was reinforced. He would get away with being abusive and maybe even thanked for the intense scene. This would encourage him on this path and maybe lead to actual grave consequences for another submissive sometime in the future.

Last modified: Sunday, 10 March 2013, 8:51 AM