I was in a class with DevynStone on building M/s relationships. He explained his process and at one point in discussing consent, he said how we all have our own consent.
I love that!
Whenever I’ve taught consent or gotten into those in depth discussions with people, I’m always mindful of just how each of us look at consent slightly differently.
- One person’s consent looks different to the next person’s. One person might favour verbal consent, others will need you to focus more on their body language, because of how they react in their scenes.
- One person may favour the traffic light system of safe words, others not. Some people don’t use safewords at all and prefer literally speech in scenes. For example, I have 6 safewords, yes 6, and they are all pretty literal.
- some people want everything to be decided pre-scenes, to every minutiae of acts and speech. Others feel that they can hand over that control to some extent, especially if they are in a power exchange dynamic.
- how consent plays out with one person can be very different to the next. I am blessed to have several partners, and they all are very unique in how they prefer to negotiate scenes and how consent is given and withdrawn. I embrace that difference as part of who they are. I do not ever want to pressure someone into my version of consent, because it never quite goes to plan.
- how consent looks varies over time too. I’ve had some partners for a few years now, and our negotiation process is more streamlined; but also anchored into us as individuals and how our energy flows in the scene we are in.
- our imagination can take us to different places in scenes. We feel we want something we’ve thought of in our minds, but the reality is always different (sad, but true). So with those imagined ideas, you need to reflect on how that affects what consent can look like.
- our body changes over time. We like different sensations. We can do some things and then not, and vice versa.
- our emotions vary over time, too. Things we feel and are more sensitive too can vary so much. As I’ve grown older, I’ve learnt a lot about my mind and what works and when. Not that age is a deciding factor here; more experience and the willingness to self reflect. But this will affect your consent process.
- your own journey will point you in certain directions towards what good consent looks like, as you grapple with the ethical issues and practicalities around consent.
Consent is a complex thing. Without it, we are being abusive, so we know we need to get it right. We all need to regularly reflect on our practice. We need to understand that we will all have different ways to do consent. Which is beautiful, if you think about it!