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I had to learn a lot of this shit the hard way, and I know I hurt some folks along the way in doing so. This is what it takes for me to trust that someone’s yes is undoubtedly a yes.
This is the best understanding I can get of what it means to negotiate the things we do when we live in a world infused at every turn by patriarchy, by kyriarchy.
I see a world around me in which consent is not valued.
Some people are socialized to accept that things are taken from them and others are socialized to take.
If I’m going to tie you up, spank you, set you on fire, fuck you or engage in any other such delights, I need to know that the “Yes” I get from you is a yes that you mean, not one that you have given under duress, or because you’re expected to, or because you just figure you oughta.
That’s what I mean by “Only yes means yes.” It often feels to me that, despite all the focus kinksters put on consent and negotiation, there’s very little addressing how to do those things without coercion.
You whisper in someone’s ear “I want to do X to you. ” and have them repeat back to you what they want you to do and then tell me that’s not hot.
You think it’s not sexy to get a bottom’s permission before each new thing?
It is the one thing I absolutely must have in order to play with someone.
Because of this consent fetish, there may be a long time between expressing interest in someone and actually playing with them.
None of that takes into account social pressures, the conditioning that some people have to say “Yes,” the subtle ways that people can be coerced, or the effects of an expectation of availability.
That’s why I like “only yes means yes” as a starting point.