Actually, marital rape wasn’t illegal in all states until 1993. That doesn’t mean that women affirmatively agreed to be raped by their husbands just because it wasn’t illegal and they still got married. Affirmative consent in a BDSM context means talking about what’s on and off the table beforehand because of the power dynamics (which is a part of the fun, because they are consensual power dynamics). In the sentence of mine that you quoted about putting my hands in Susan’s pants, it wasn’t a BDSM relationship — it was a hook up in a club, so no, we had not talked about all of the particulars ahead of time because the power relationship was entirely equal. Consent is about more than just saying no — it’s about co-creating an encounter that works for both/all parties and I was very deliberate about that and was paying close attention to her cues and utterances, just as she was to mine. And we had a really enjoyable time. When I ran into her again several months later, she was really happy to see me, as I was her.

Consent isn’t about just avoiding negative situations, it’s not about getting permission to do something, it’s an active process and collaboration between two people who respect each other to create the best experience for everyone involved.’ And that’s exactly what we did.

I am in no way defending people who don’t uphold the norms of BDSM culture and are abusive and I’ve already stipulated to the fact that such people exist. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t plenty of other people who do uphold it. Lumping them all together is some kind of crusade and not a balanced or nuanced discussion.

You are certainly entitled to your opinions, but you aren’t entitled to tell women (or anyone else) about how they should feel about the sexual encounters that they enter into voluntarily. I know many women who find BDSM empowering and enjoyable. They do it because they want to and they like it. Telling them that they don’t know their own minds is mansplaining at it’s finest. As is telling me that you don’t expect me to be able to take a critical eye to something that I do. I’m one of the most self-aware people you’re ever likely to meet, because I work on that every day, and for the past 15 years or so I’ve worked on that with the help and facilitation of someone else on a regular basis.

You’ve read enough of my writing to know that I’m thoughtful and do my research. (I’ve already cited you some that supports my point). Also, that I’m acutely aware of dominance dynamics in our culture, so I can only assume that you are simply frustrated in trying to get your point across and this is the reason for your condescending tone.

Juliette van der Molen, E. L. Byrne, Lola Down, Shannon Ashley, Francesca Anderssen, I’d love to hear a few words from you about all this if you care to weigh in.

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Dispelling cultural myths with research-driven stories. My favorite word is “specious.” Not fragile like a flower; fragile like a bomb! Twitter @ElleBeau

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