So, for over a week now, I’ve been working on a post about whether or not there are forms of play, especially emotional or mental play, which are inherently abusive or universally unacceptable and questioning whether there are limitations to what can be consented to, even when all parties are adults who are fully mentally capable of giving their consent. I’ve questioned what sorts of activities are appropriate to do in a “blanket consent” or “generalized consent” relationship when one has given a general surrender of power instead of negotiating specific activities.
I don’t know that I’m ever going to be able to finish this post. It’s probably the most difficult thing I’ve tried to write.
This is partially because I’m scared that this will look like I’m trying to point fingers, or that I’m writing this with an agenda, which I’m honestly not doing. I’m not trying to say that I was abused, or that someone I know was abused, or that there was a specific situation I was involved in or witnessed recently where consent was not appropriately given. My thought process for this post started because I described a form of play as being “abusive” recently, and then started thinking about whether it’s possible for any one thing to be inherently so instead of being different in any situation. I don’t want to cause any outrage or hurt any feelings. I’m trying to write carefully and deliberately with this in mind.
This is also partially because of my writing style. When I’m ruminating on a theoretical topic, I tend to pull in examples using anecdotal evidence from my life or from other people’s activities that have been shared with me. I feel like it’s unfair for me to do that in this situation because then it puts these activities under the scrutiny of “was this abusive?” and no one wants that. That isn’t fair to anyone, nor is it generally appropriate. When you remove all the specific descriptions from the text, you’re only left with a series of questions to which I don’t have any answers:
Are there things that can’t be consented to?
Is consent valid when a person doesn’t fully know or understand what they are consenting to?
Is consent valid if it’s given when a person has already been brought into subspace?
Are there any activities that simply shouldn’t be done?
Do we ever have the right to judge other people’s activities?
If the same activity can be both positive and abusive depending on context, are there any aspects that influence this besides consent?
For now, I’m going to keep the rest of the post that I’ve worked on as a draft. Maybe I’ll eventually come up with a way to finish it. In the meantime, I’d like to pose these questions to all of you. I’m curious to see if you have any answers. ♥