Yes Means Yes – Filthy Perverts Edition

There’s been a lot of talk lately about the concept of ‘yes means yes’. For those who might have missed it, it’s an extension of ‘no means no’. It’s a very similar concept to ‘enthusiastic consent’. Basically, ‘yes means yes’ says that the absence of a no (be it a literal, verbal ‘no, I don’t want to do that’, or a no conveyed by pushing a hand away or turning away from someone) is not enough, that you should only do things that your partner has actually said yes to. Whether you know this concept by the name ‘yes means yes’, ‘enthusiastic consent’, or something else entirely, it ought to be blindingly obvious. Come on, would you rather have sex with someone who said ‘okay, fine, we can have sex if you really want to that badly’, or someone who said ‘hell yes, why aren’t you naked yet?’. One of those situations is hot, and one of them is boring and sad.

‘Yes means yes’ is extremely simple when applied to vanilla sex. Really, it is. Even if you prefer to have sex with straight women. Sure, you might not get a verbal ‘yes, I want to have sex with you right  now’, but if a woman nods when you ask if you should get a condom out, I think it’s safe to take that as a yes. If she pulls you back to her after you stand up and take your pants off, she’s probably into it. If on the other hand she isn’t making any particular effort to touch you, or isn’t reacting much but isn’t pulling away, stop and check in. Either she doesn’t really want to have sex, or you’re about to have boring and terrible sex. When bad sex is your best case scenario, just stop.

However, I can forgive people for being confused by ‘yes means yes’ as applied to filthy pervert sex, in particular resistance play/consensual non-consent/whatever you choose to call it when you want to yell ‘no’ without actually stopping the scene. If you’re trying to have a resistance scene where the bottom gets to yell no as loud as they want and struggle to get away without fear that the scene they’re enjoying will actually stop, asking ‘are you sure this is okay?’ mid-scene is a fantastic way to drag everyone involved out of the headspace they want to be in. However, it’s actually very simple to apply ‘yes means yes’ to resistance play. The yes simply comes before the fact. Clearly and completely negotiating a take-down scene is a definitive yes as far as I’m concerned. Anything that the bottom said yes to during negotiations is fine during the scene no matter how loud they yell no (as long as they don’t safeword or otherwise indicate they’re not having fun anymore). Anything the bottom did not say yes to during the negotiation process is a no. I don’t mean only things that the bottom said no to, but anything and everything that wasn’t covered during negotiation. That means if you’re having a great resistance scene, and it occurs to you it would be fun to threaten the bottom with this handy knife you have lying around, but you didn’t talk about including knife play in this particular scene, you don’t do it. Even if you really, really want to and are pretty sure it would be fine. Suck it up and negotiate for knife-play next time.

You might think ‘yes means yes’ is incompatible with d/s. That’s completely wrong. Also kind of stupid. I hate to break it to you, but signing a slave contract in front of all of your friends and pinky-swearing that you’ll both uphold it forever and ever doesn’t mean that any given scene won’t still come to a screeching halt when the slave says (to paraphrase the entirely awesome Laura Antoniou) ‘I withdraw my consent’, ‘let me out or I’ll call the police’, or ‘stop hitting me or I’ll call my lawyer’. For that matter, any variant of ‘I don’t feel so good, I think I might throw up’ will reliably end a scene no matter how many times you said you were going to play without safewords this time.

If you’re concerned that only doing things that you slave says is okay will keep you from feeling like you’re really in control, for fucks sake, negotiate for whatever would give you the feeling of control. If you want to be able to grab your bottom/submissive/slave by the hair and drag them to the bedroom for a thorough ravishing whenever you want, ask for that! If you like mindfucks, ask for that! If you want to be able to take a scene in whatever direction suits you, ask for that! Yes, you will have to get to know your bottom-type person really well before they’ll agree to let you do whatever you want if you use a ‘yes means yes’ concept of consent. Horror of horrors. Oh wait, you have to do that anyway if you play with people who have any regard for their own well-being. 24/7 total power exchange is a fantasy. It can be a fun fantasy, but it’s still a fantasy. ‘Yes means yes’ style negotiation takes place outside of that fantasy, just like, you know, the rest of your real life, the one that pays the rent and keeps the lights on.

If you’re too stupid to negotiate a scene or a relationship that works for you, that’s hardly the fault of the standard of consent you use.

4 thoughts on “Yes Means Yes – Filthy Perverts Edition

  1. Ya know,
    we don’t even have a safe word per se.

    We’ve actually tried using the green, yellow, red scale a couple times for a new form of impact play, but it wasn’t giving me enough info. I prefer numbers on a ten scale for feedback because then he is telling me exactly how that amount of impact on that area of his body feels right then.
    We’ve found, “ouch, ouch, wait, stop” was a really good safeword.
    :p
    I recall someone asking on my Tumblr if my sub had ever safeworded and I said, no, but then again, we’ve been together since forever.
    I know the noises and faces, and what they mean. I can tell what is going on and how close we are to various limits. I can’t imagine playing with someone I DIDN’T know that well.
    I wish I’d read that article by Antinou before answering the question though, I would have just linked it, it is exactly on point and awesome.
    Of course, from now on I can just send people here too.

  2. @Mozzity – that’s very much what I was going for 🙂 I do like to leaven my rants with a little humor, and I firmly believe that willful stupidity should be ridiculed.

    @DD – It’s kind of funny that people hold up safe words as the pinnacle of safety for all scenes, when they’re really only necessary or even useful if you want to do a role-play scene where no doesn’t mean stop. Outside of scenes like that, I think ‘ouch, ouch, wait, stop’ is much more useful 🙂

  3. It can be kind of nerve-wracking to me to be unsure that someone is completely into things in the context of consensual non-consent. Sure, they didn’t safeword, but are they really enjoying themselves? One helpful suggestion I heard was to assign a “hell, yes” word for the sub. Something like, “You bastard!” or “I hate you!” can be the arranged signal for “Oh God yes, do that more.”

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