What Is Trust?

What Is Trust?

Trust is so important in what we do. We need to know the people we play with or form dynamics with are people we can trust will not harm us in any way. Because we carry so many risks in practicing kinks or expressing a part of us that isn’t widely accepted in society, it is necessary to proceed with caution. No matter how badly we want to scratch an itch, reveal a hidden part of ourselves and/or find compatible people, we run very real risks of harm and harassment. So, you need to know the people around you are worth your trust and that they can trust you, too. 

But it’s not simple, is it. It’s very difficult to actually feel connected and safe with someone to allow that level of vulnerability that comes with being kinky in any way. We get hurt and find it difficult to lower our barriers again. Or we don’t always see what is right in front of us and question our own judgement when things go wrong. And sometimes people are just so damn convincing, all history of them solid, but  for a single moment trust is gone. Trust is so difficult to gain and yet so easily lost. 

I came across a video by Brené Brown, which breaks down the anatomy of trust. She breaks it down to seven components and she created the acronym BRAVING.

In kink contexts, this is very relevant. If you are negotiating a scene, consider:

Boundaries 

How well do you assert your boundaries and respect those of who you play with? Is there any pushiness or pressure to do something you don’t want or haven’t even considered before? How aware are you of your boundaries and theirs? If someone is not respecting boundaries, they are not safe.

Reliability

 How many times have you seen them consistently do what was agreed between you? Do they show up as expected and meet your basic requirements that you’ve communicated, consistently? How reliable are you? It is far easier to build trust with someone that shows they are reliable.

Accountability 

Have they ever violated consent before and how well was this dealt with? How open to criticism and feedback are you? Some people can be safe for years, and then out of the blue make a mistake that they don’t own, you see a different side to them and lose trust. 

Vault 

How much do they gossip about others? Do they reveal secrets that was entrusted to them? If someone does that, then you know they can also do that to you, outing you or lie about you in some way. Are secrets safe with you, too? It’s horrible having one’s confidence broken. That person becomes impossible to trust. 

Integrity

How much do you just talk the talk, but not walk the walk? Anyone can pick up books and look on YouTube to find what safety is in kink, learn them and repeat them, but have you seen them practice that? Have the practiced what they preach even when it has caused them discomfort? To trust someone, you need to know that they will stand by their principles. And you need to be standing by yours. 

Non-judgement

If you feel the person you are playing with will not judge you – if a scene doesn’t go to plan or a dynamic needs adjusting in some way – then you know you’re with someone you can trust. The vulnerability we place ourselves in, exposing very private parts of ourselves, needs the utmost care and respect. We’re all different with different things that flick those switches on our brains. You need to know they won’t judge you for you to be able to trust them. And they, you. 

Generosity

How quickly do they make quick judgements about you? How quickly do they assume the worse, rather than ask to find the full context of what might’ve gone wrong in your scene? Are you generous in your assumptions about others? We all make mistakes and miss marks sometimes, so we need to allow an appropriate level of leeway to continue communication for growth (so long as personal boundaries are respected). 

Ultimately, to lower your natural barriers and let someone in, it takes time and thought. You need to know you are safe with them. You need to value your own judgement of others and yourself, too. So, take your time, get to know people, and know walking away from a situation you’re not happy in is the kindest thing you can do for yourself.

Keep safe.

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