When the Jian Ghomeshi situation started, I initially defended his right to privacy (which I’ve since changed my stance & apologized). Now, I say we should be opening the conversation to discussions of consent, trust, the differences between kink & abuse, but amidst the circus & the finger pointing & the gossip, it’s not happening. I’m not one to pussyfoot around conversation & I like to back up what I say, so let’s have this chat, shall we?
Consent is simple; a man or woman needs to agree to have sex. This can be revoked at any time. If a man or woman doesn’t feel comfortable and says no halfway through the act and wants to stop, then you stop. The end. No one “owes” you sex. Ever. I don’t care what you did. It just doesn’t happen. Obviously, when it comes to BDSM, consent has differences. There are safe words, for a person to tell their partner to step back. Comfort levels are discussed in advance & boundaries set. Boundaries should be set in any sexual relationship. I have my own personal set of boundaries, which I’ve discussed before. Good communication means you & your partner know those boundaries and anyone attempting to engage in a sexual relationship should know those boundaries. Anyone who asks you to go past those boundaries is not respecting you & you have the right to step away from the situation. The Mindy Project recently aired an episode where Mindy’s partner attempted to push beyond Mindy’s comfort level & the two engage in a frank conversation about boundaries (Mindy Kailing later defended the episode, stating there was no peril, just a moment that allowed two people to talk about sex).
Next is BDSM. I cannot stress enough that there is NOTHING wrong with those who are into that sort of lifestyle. It is not my place to discuss fetishes of any kind, mainly because what you do in your life is your business. If you are into that, good for you. But I feel like certain things have been misconstrued about what a healthy BDSM relationship is thanks to E.L. James & 50 Shades of Grey. A true Dom (male or female) would not choose a sub that wasn’t aware of his/her hard and soft limits. They would not choose a mate that is a virgin who would have no idea what he or she’s into or what pleases him or her sexually. They would not use that trust or affection to abuse their partner by beating them with a belt when she obviously was not ready for that. None of these things would happen. Trust is a huge part of BDSM & the comfort & protection of your sub is paramount. You are asking a person to trust you while you take total control of their body. They need to feel comfortable. They need to feel safe. They need to know that you wouldn’t push them beyond their comfort level. And if you do those things, then you are a bad Dom, and a bad person.
My limited experiences with this lifestyle stem from my former husband developing an interest in kink near the end of our marriage. I am not. But he pushed me to go past my comfort levels, give him more of what he wanted, etc. When I couldn’t, because it passed my boundaries, I was berated and shamed for being “too vanilla,” “not much of a woman,” & “worthless” while my more sexually adventurous friends were more attractive, much more special, etc. This led to anger on both ends, my lack of interest in sex, which led to the abuse that ended things. I do not think of myself as a victim, as I held my ground, did not do anything I wouldn’t do. I do not consider myself a victim of sexual assault, despite being assaulted by a former boyfriend on my 21st birthday. I consider myself someone who learned from past instances & came out wiser. Calling myself a victim or feeling like a victim gives these men power I refuse to give them. This jaded my outlook on sex, trust, men & I genuinely believed that people into this had rape fantasies. Then I spoke to some of my friends, who are comfortable with themselves, their sexuality & are comfortable with this type of intimacy. They explained that only a bad Dom would attempt to force his sub to do more than he or she wanted. If the allegations against Mr. Ghomeshi are true, he is a bad Dom & a bad person (I will not speculate on his guilt or innocence any further unless he is tried in a court of law. I am a reporter, not an officer of the court).
Finally, let’s talk about trust. Everything about BDSM & any sexual relationship is about having unwavering trust in your partner. You are trusting them to respect your body, your feelings, your limits. I could not give my body to a man I didn’t have absolute faith in. If I’ve done that, then I trust you to respect if I am not ready & say no. I trust you to stop if I ask you to. I trust you not to hurt me (emotionally, physically, or any other way you can think of) & I have complete faith in you as my partner, in your feelings for me & as a man. I may not show that 100% of the time, because of my own insecurities, but if any man in my life ever questions my trust in him, if you are in my bed & I am giving you what I hold most sacred, then I have the utmost faith in you. In fact, based on my previous sexual experiences that were less than pleasant, I will remind my partner that if he doesn’t want it, just tell me no. This applies to those in a BDSM relationship as well. A sub is trusting his or her Dom to protect them, to respect them & to assure them that they are safe. Those in the community stress this over & over (& can be found here). BDSM is not about violence or humiliation & the one truly in control is the submissive (in a proper BDSM relationship). Control is surrendered while your partner lavishes pleasure on you exactly how you dictate while the Dom thinks they’re in charge.
This is the conversation we should be having. Consent & trust. You need both for a healthy sexual relationship with anyone. People who enjoy a proper BDSM relationship are not freaks, or come from damaged upbringings. They’re just into stuff you may not get. Only a bad Dom would push someone too far & there’s a difference between pain & violence. Also, no one needs to know what you’re into but your partner & your doctor, because you have the right to keep that to yourself. Do not be afraid to research what you do not understand, especially if your partner suggests this or any type of sexual play to you. Make sure you’re on the same page so there’s no surprises in the bedroom. And keep up the conversation, because the number one lesson you can learn from the girl who talks too much is you can never talk too much.