Posts Tagged ‘noncon’

I have a sweetie with whom do a lot of (scorching) “non-consensual” play. We sometimes have difficulties negotiating in scene.

It works if I come out of subspace enough to chirp a campy “Oh no! Not that! Please don’t make me come. That would be too humiliating!” But, I have to tear myself out of a very happy headspace to do that. And, the over-the-top tone necessary for this to work makes both of us a little giggly.

What suggestions do you have for negotiating within a non-con scene without completely coming out of headspace and losing the flow?

A fascinating question this week. “Nonconsensual” play is one of the more challenging rows to hoe within the BDSM scene, for the reason you bring up here and for any number of other reasons. I could go on and on at dick-shriveling length about all of the ways it can go wrong, how to mitigate against that, and how to do non-con play safely.

But from your question, it sounds like you’re playing very safely and happily, and you just need a little bit of finessing to take it to the next level.

I will say here that if your biggest problem in non-con scenes is that you’re giggly, you’re doing pretty well. But I also fully understand the urge to make it more real. It sounds like you want to go to a darker place with this, and that perhaps you’re a bit stuck in the “damsel in distress,” melodrama version of nonconsent.

Not that damsel in distress stuff can’t be hot.

But if you want to get to a place where you’re able to say no and he’s able to ignore your no and you can keep it serious, one way to start is with him “forcing” you to say yes. Part of the deal with nonconsent play is that you have to talk, right? And as I’ve discussed before, talking while in subspace can sometimes be difficult. In my own sub play, I’ve often found it easier to repeat what the top is telling me to say than to generate spoken content on my own. If s/he tells you to beg for it, or to say how much you want it, or other suchlike things, it may feel humiliating in and of itself to beg or to say you want it. Your top might choose to make you say other embarrassing things, too. The result, hopefully, is twofold: you’re being made to talk when it’s difficult to talk, without having to come out of subspace too far. And you’re playing with doing something you don’t want to do for the top’s amusement. It’s only a short leap from getting used to that kind of dirty talk (“please, yes, please make me come,” “I’m a little slut,” or whatever) during play to saying, “No, no, please, no…” without it having to be melodramatic and “chirpy.”

Whew. Okay, now you’ve got me all excited. I hope this is helpful; I’ll be in my bunk.

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I cannot stop watching this movie.

And I can’t believe I went all of these years without seeing this beautiful, strange, moving and problematic piece of cinema. I finally saw it this weekend – twice in as many days – and I’m ready to watch it again, soaking in it the way I soaked in A Perfect Circle’s first album when it came out, or my first collection of Nick Drake.

Like so many before me, I’m troubled and intrigued by the “love scene” between Deckard and Rachel, seen here.

I’ve often been troubled by the facile way some kinksters manage to look at certain scenes in movies. In particular, many folks of my acquaintance really get hot watching men get hurt. There’s no doubt that the suffering of the male body can be terribly attractive; I’m totally with it, so long as it’s consensual.

But in a world where desire is a strange beast and so much of our input comes from film and TV, images of suffering, nonconsent, ambiguous consent, and rape become iconic. These days, it seems acceptable to enjoy masculine suffering, but it’s still terribly problematic – and I think, rightly so – to enjoy scenes that are or may be rape of women. We are nowhere near far enough along in the deconstruction of millennia of patriarchy to put women on equal footing with men in terms of their susceptibility to sexual violence, and fetishizing non-consensual violence against women is simply not okay. Still: why is it okay to do it to men? This is something of a tangent, I know, because what I’m really getting at is the following.

Most of the time, I find it horrifying when I detect that a scene of sexual violence against a woman is imminent in a film or TV show. It is never sexy or fun or titillating. Which made me look at this scene in Blade Runner in a different light: i.e., it turned me on. So what does that mean about me, or about the scene? Am I trying not to have the scene be a rape, because if it is I’m a sicko for being turned on by it? Or is it just because I want this film to be more complicated than that, which in all other ways, it is?

For those of you who didn’t feel like watching the video, here’s the scenario: Rachel has recently learned that she’s an android, not human. She’s having a lot of trouble dealing with the idea, especially, that her memories are not her own. She has just saved Deckard’s life, and is herself on the run; he is sheltering her in his apartment.

Seeing him sleeping, she softens her look, taking off her jacket and taking her hair down. She plays something on the piano, which wakes him. He comes on to her, to which she reacts ambivalently, seeming to like it at first, then backing away and trying to leave when he goes to kiss her on the mouth. He chases after her, blocks her exit, and slams her against the blinds. She looks afraid but aroused, too, and he kisses her.

“Now kiss me,” he says.

“I can’t rely on…” she begins.

“Say, ‘Kiss me,'” he says.

“Kiss me,” she says. He does. Then he says, “I want you.”

She says, “I want you,” with her eyes downcast. He doesn’t say anything, but seems to prompt her again. She looks into his eyes and says, “I want you,” once more.

Then, without prompting, she says, “Put your hands on me.”

Now, naturally, his violence toward her is unwarranted. And the way he prompts her responses suggests that she is going along with him to prevent further violence. But the context says something more to me.

Deckard is a man who has known only violence, in particular in his interactions with Replicants. His initial treatment of her, when he feels he might be rejected, is not excusable, but is consistent with his character. Rachel is an android struggling to be human, who has a fascination with Deckard, with love, and has mixed desires. In some readings I’ve seen of the scene, including the actress Sean Young’s, the scene is a teaching by Deckard to Rachel, a woman who “do[esn’t] know the meaning of love, but…want[s] to.” This reading is much more compelling to me than that of a “simple” rape, where Deckard overcomes Rachel by physical, and then by emotional, force and manipulation.

But the overwhelming first experience I had of watching the scene was a kinkster’s reaction: “Oh my gods,” I said, “they’re fetishizing consent.”

I seriously doubt whether Ridley Scott or anyone else involved had this in mind when they shot the scene, but it was the first interpretation that jumped into my crazy kinked-up head. “Say ‘kiss me.'” Tell me you like it. Tell me you want me. Beg me for it.

Nonconsent fantasies are one thing; though they can be problematic, and I still have issues with exploring them through scenes in movies that are clearly meant to be about real nonconsent, not consensual nonconsent. But for me the hotness lies even more in the fetishization of consent: getting the person you’re doing horrible wonderful things to to tell you how much they like it. It’s one of my gooshiest hottest embarrassment buttons as a bottom, to have my top put words in my mouth expressing my desire and enjoyment of what is happening to me. And as a top, I’d much rather hear my bottom say, “Please” than say, “No,” though both have their place.

Please. Yes. Ahh! God… Breath sucked between teeth. A whimper.

I’ve distracted myself again.

But this scene. Like the rest of this film, so complex, so tied into questions of misogyny or commentary thereon, of human versus non-human, of what it means to be capable of consenting. In my view, this is a scene wherein Deckard goes through wrenching changes: he’s long felt that Replicants don’t deserve to be shot in the back just for being Replicants, but his training tells him to treat all Replicants the same. What happens when he finds himself desiring one, falling in love with one? The idea that she might reject him is intolerable. His first response is violence, but his second is to try and be sure of her, to know that she actually wants him, that she actually is consenting, is capable, as a machine, of consent.

And her response to him. Earlier in the scene, she asks if he would “hunt” her if she ran. The question has desire in it as well as fear: if she left, would he follow? When she tries to leave and he prevents her, she is scared, but wanting, too: she feels the desire, but it is new, and she needs guidance. Her interrupted line, “I can’t rely on…” suggests that she doubts her own ability to make decisions or even to have desires, and he wants to show her that she can, that she does. She choses a tragically broken teacher, but then everyone in this world is broken. And when she finally says, “Put your hands on me,” I do not believe that she is simply acquiescing to make things easier on herself: she is making a statement of agency, of humanity.

Feel free to argue with me if you like. I’m open. I’ll be over here, watching this movie again.

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It has not escaped my notice that I have a hot spot for interrogation scenes. Okay, maybe a wet spot would be more accurate. But there’s a mystery to it for me. While I admit to enjoying the rush of power that comes from hurting someone until they break, the place I more often imagine myself in is the role of the break-ee.

I read this post and its follow-up from Miss Calico and found myself alternately disturbed and aroused. (I sense a new title for this blog coming.) I sent the links to my go-to man for such things, knowing he would get off on it, even as I squirmed with it, even as her words kept rising in my throat like a sickness.

I was not having fun…this was a big mistake…I would rather be somewhere (oh god, anywhere) else – I knew these feelings, and knew, too, the anticipation and memory that bookend and feed those experiences. The amount of pain described sounded horrible to me; I was turned off by what seemed to be the top’s total insensitivity to where she was in her pain, even as I could feel that tension in her words, the place where this was exactly what she wanted even while she was hating it. There is a place of terror for me in all of this: that place where I’m silenced by my pain, and by my pride: where I’ll do anything for my top except surrender. That level of sadism – and masochism – is somewhat frightening to me, even as I somewhat understand it.

Yet I can’t stop looking at the posts, can’t stop picking that scab today. What fascinates me so about this type of play, this place where I’m tied down and begging, and nothing I say will make him stop?

This part moved me in particular:

“I clung to the paternalism in his address. I wanted to be his good little girl. If he was getting off on using his little girl, it wasn’t meaningless torture: he wasn’t going to kill me and dump my body behind the woodshed. Probably.”

I’ve been turned on before by someone telling me how easily he could kill me. Hell, I’ve turned it around and used it to make someone else come. The idea of someone having that kind of power over me, the intimacy of death, so close to sex, his body pinning mine, huge hands crushing my throat as he pierces me with his eyes, his cock…yeah, it gets me hot, the idea.

But there’s a line here, and I’m struggling to figure out where it is. Something to do with the lack of intimacy, the pulling back from it. The coldness in the torturer, who begins to make me believe that he no longer cares, that I’m just another victim to him. Some people fantasize about being tortured, raped and abandoned on the side of the road. I am not one of those people. No, I fantasize about being tortured, raped, and then rocked back to regular consciousness with cuddling and soothing words.

Maybe that makes me some kind of kink wimp, I don’t know.

A commenter on the post had this question: “Do you ever fear that you will go to that ‘it was a long way back’ place and not return? Or return but be changed?”

I like to think that I have a strong mind; I think that’s part of what perversely (how else) attracts me to this type of scene. I want to know how much I can take. I want to know how far I can go. But to what end?

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My basic informational post about safewords is here.

There are a few notions about safewords, however, that I’ve come across and would like to take a moment to dispel.

Myth #1: Safewords are only for players who don’t know each other well.

While it’s true that in part, the use of safewords is for the purpose of communication when one might not know another’s reactions well enough to judge, it’s not always the best idea to drop safewords even when you’ve been playing together for a long time. There are a number of reasons to keep safewords in place, even in a long term D/s relationship Perhaps the top wants to regularly push the bottom’s boundaries and help him or her to grow. Having a safety net can really help when you’re trying to push past limits together. If there’s no way for the bottom to say no, the risk is much higher that someone will get physically or emotionally harmed. Also remember that people change, and relationships shift. What might be okay one day might not be okay the next, and safewords are excellent shorthand for “oh hey I thought this was okay but right now it’s really not and could you just stop it and hold me?” While in longer-term relationships people are more likely to “feel” or “know” when something is wrong by reading body language, it’s by no means foolproof, and without a safeword option, a bottom – particularly a submissive – can easily go silent and feel trapped, and that’s where a lot of damage can be done. More on this below.

Myth #2: If I don’t use a safeword, I can be pushed farther.

I have had a number of people contact me requesting – nay, demanding – that I do a scene with them without a safeword. Usually these people also want some kind of intense corporal punishment – like paddling, caning, or whipping – or to be severely trampled, or to have some other scene that involves a great deal of pain-endurance. They often have a story of the mistress who did this with them and how it was all fine and dandy.

To these people I say: Good luck with that. I won’t be visiting you at the hospital.

Doing a scene with a total or even relative stranger, that could involve physical harm, without a safeword, is just. plain. stupid. What these people seem to think is that if they have a safeword, they will call it, plain and simple, and thus they won’t be able to get past their own pain limitations.

First of all: fucking weh. I’m not here to risk criminal charges so you can push your limits. But second: you’re wrong.

If you do an intense scene without a safeword, the top, if he or she gives a shit about your safety or his or her own, will hold back. You won’t get the incredible, limits-pushing ball-busting you were looking for if the top doesn’t have an idea of how to know when to stop. And you, the bottom, may also get pushed where you don’t truly want to go, and get harmed in the process.

I did a scene with someone who was insistent about not using a safeword. I told him tough nooggies, and we did it with one. Guess what? He discovered that he was too proud to use the safeword, and so he got the intensity he was looking for, while always knowing that he could stop it if he really needed to. One way to combat the desire to play without safewords is to make the safeword something really stupid-sounding, or difficult to say, which may make the bottom less likely to want to use it. But if push comes to shove and the bottom needs an out – that sub will be screaming “I want a pomegranate enema!”

Myth #3: As long as I use a safeword, I’m totally fine.

This is the caveat to what I’ve said above, and it’s a tricky one.

Safewords are useful, yes. And as I’ve said, I don’t play professionally without them, and I usually don’t play personally without them, either. But it’s worth noting that sometimes, they don’t work.

Having a safeword in place, for example, is no excuse to engage in activities that you don’t know how to do safely. It’s all well and good if the bottom can tell you that the caning you’re delivering is too harsh; it’s rather unfortunate, though, if you’ve already struck him in a major organ at top force.

It’s also worth knowing that, for some submissives, it’s possible or even common to go non-verbal during a good scene. This can also happen during a bad scene, and if the submissive can’t drag herself up out of headspace to utter her safeword, she’s likely to endure something that she never wanted to endure – and that’s where harm gets done. If you top or dominate people, be sure that you develop good people-reading skills, or if you don’t have them, know that about yourself. It’s easy, in these intense emotional and physical spaces, for a scene to go wrong and for a submissive to feel trapped like a patient under surgery whose anesthesia has left them paralyzed but awake and unable to call for help. Safewords are great tools, but they are by no means perfect: keep your eyes open and your other senses alert for when a submissive may be in trouble.

Myth #4: It is never, never okay to not honor a safeword.

I’m probably going to catch a lot of shit for this, but here goes: sometimes, for certain experienced players who know each other well, it may be okay to play with ignoring safewords.

I’ve seen this posted in play party rules before: “If you’re going to be doing a scene where the safeword will be called and ignored, please inform the Dungeon Master beforehand.” Seriously? I thought at first. Somebody would do that?

The answer to that is always, of course, that yes, somebody would. But I want to emphasize here that what I’m talking about and cautiously condoning is a planned scene that contains layers of nonconsent play: probably the top will be doing something that will strongly encourage the bottom to call the safeword, and the players are eroticizing the idea of nonconsent even further by having the safeword be ignored.

My sincere hope (and my strong recommendation) is that those engaging in such scenes would have a “real” safeword underneath the ignorable one, that either party could call in case of real trouble. But I can see the power in enacting the scenario where the bottom calls the safeword and the top just keeps going. It’s terrifying, and thrilling, in the way that all the best BDSM scenes are.

But remember: if you are playing with someone who ignores your safeword, and you haven’t previously agreed to it, that is simple abuse. Mistress Hypatia out of the UK has a great piece on this and on the topic of safewords in general.

It’s a complex thing, this kinky world. It drills right into our psyches and our hearts and our deepest fears and desires. Remember that, revel in it, and play safe.

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