Intro to Play: Consensual Non-consent
In some ways almost all BDSM is consensual non-consent. That’s why we have safe words. The very core of a scene is submitting to the will and ministrations of someone who uses you for their own benefit, at least in word. Negotiation and safe words ensure consent even when you aren’t actively in charge of what’s happening to you, and the basis of trust is knowing that your dominant will actually respect those boundaries and safe words.
That being said, occasionally I feel that we lean too much into the CNC aspects of play. Perhaps it’s just my own nature as a sensual sadist who isn’t as interested in plain power exchange, but I just, as a baseline, tend to minimize aspects of CNC during play unless they’re negotiated beforehand. I ask for feedback from the bottom constantly. I accept straight up nos without requiring a safewording, and I actively discuss what actions I’m taking as I do them the majority of the time instead of springing surprises on people.
Like humiliation, I feel as if the constant pop culture weight of CNC weighs down on the creativity of play and drives away submissives (and perhaps even dominants) who presume that they MUST accept that no doesn’t mean no during a scene and don’t enjoy the idea of having to put up with that. I prefer a far more collaborative type of play, and, while I don’t quite allow subs to “top from the bottom”, we’re all here to have a good time and my personal kinks are broad and flexible enough that it’s trivial for me to pivot into a sub’s interests rather than demand that every scene be constant pain slutting all the time.
That all being said, more extreme CNC play is enormously exciting to me as a sadist. When done with people who actually want it that is. The permission to fully impose my sadistic, awful will upon someone even while they scream and attempt to flee from my blows, whether they be mental or physical, awakens a feral part of me that is occasionally difficult to control.
Simulating rape, or hardcore torture and interrogation, or forced mind-breaking and dronification are all intense, one of a kind scenes that are a rare delight to experience with a sub experienced and durable enough to absorb the amount of damage such intensity tends to put out.
Safety is just paramount here. Clear, thorough negotiation is a necessity, and often I won’t be comfortable leaping straight into the deep end on this type of play without some experience with a particular sub. Trust goes both ways, after all, and as a dominant I need to get a feel for how you react to stress, pain, and perhaps even when things go slightly wrong or at least unexpected. As a dominant, more intense forms of CNC play requires me to be mindful and measured, constantly keeping a close eye on the mental state of the submissive. It’s extraordinarily easy to step on a hidden landmine and crush the sense of safety or the mental stability of a sub regardless of how skilled either of us are. And sometimes those landmines throw someone into a trauma headspace that means the sub won’t even be able to use their safeword.
But with risk comes reward, and this kind of play can allow both me as a dominant, and you as a submissive, to gain control and recontextualize things that scare us, or have traumatized us, or to safely experience things that loom hugely in our minds. Just make sure we’ve been open and honest with each other beforehand.