Everyone should take ownership of the choices each one of us makes. It shouldn’t matter who else was involved or what was decided or agreed upon. Take skydiving as an example: Most folks just don’t drive out to the airplane, grab a chute and say: “okay, let’s go!” No. There’s a process involved. There’s also risk involved. Just like the skydiver who has an equipment malfunction, they accept the fact that any number of things can happen. Some of it they’re in control of, but there’s a lot of things outside their control as well. That’s why one of the first things they teach you in skydiving class is to get into the habit of looking at the parachute and examine it for yourself, double and triple check the entire process to make sure all of the risks that we can control are mitigated. If something isn’t right, fix it, get it replaced or don’t go.
Life is like that as well. We’re responsible for what we spend, what we eat, what we smoke, what we ingest, how fast we drive, whether we see the doctor or not. We’re responsible for the career choice we make, the schooling we opt for and whether or not to have children.
Our lives are designed around the choices we make, so why should the lifestyle be any different?
A lot of times we need to make decisions while being risk aware and personally responsible for those decisions. If something goes amiss in a scene or a relationship, then it’s rational to deduce that at least in part, our choices and decisions figured into the problem to begin with.
No, I’m not blaming the victim. When we’re risk aware – going into a situation that may or may not end up going exactly like we planned … then we can also accept that some of the things that may happen during the scene or whatever can sometimes go awry. This can be as minor as a misplaced single-tail stroke … or a cuff that is on too tight and cutting off circulation.Everyone has to accept that things can go awry. Period.
When it’s an overt, blatant violation of trust where there was never an intent to stay within the confines of what was negotiated, then we’re talking about a perpetrator that clearly stepped over the line and for those folks, there is no recourse. These are the liars, the predators, the scammers among us. For these folks, nothing can be believed or trusted because they really don’t care about anything but themselves and what they’re after. If you come across one of these fine folks – don’t engage them. You can exercise your choice to say: “no thanks.”
Now for the somewhat controversial part of the post … I am saying that there’s some responsibility if the s-type goes into a situation knowingly or if they simply didn’t grasp the entirety of what they were walking into. Being lied to is one thing, going to the Motel 6 for a “beat and greet” without knowing the person you’re going to be with – then I do hold the s-type at least partly responsible for not checking the parachute before they got in the plane or at least figuring out what’s involved with sky-diving.
When we don’t use our sensibilities, we can sometimes make bad choices.
Same thing holds true if that s-type meets up with someone who has a history for playing hard. If the s-type and the d-type don’t come to a rock solid understanding before hand, then there’s a strong likelihood that there’s going to be some shared responsibility across the spectrum.
s-types need to be strong here. They need to have resolve and that flirting fear of self-preservation working. If they don’t investigate, ask, get to know, negotiate, inform, educate and discuss … then they’re running the risk of not being appropriately prepared.
d-types need to listen, observe and respond truthfully at all times. If they’re involving themselves with an s-type that isn’t asking questions or contributing to the overall negotiation of the situation then that’s a concern. I’m not sure I’d scene with someone who didn’t at least ask what the ground rules and lines were going to be. It’s a classic case of setting up the scene to end badly. I find it also my responsibility to take charge by informing them, educating them, negotiating with them, and LISTENING to them. Just because it wasn’t discussed while negotiating it out, does NOT mean that it’s fair and open to do.
Never, EVER assume.
Communicate! A lot goes a long way from when we’re all on the same wavelength. We can talk things through the onset and can convey our likes, wants, desires and expectations from the situation. If we’re not informed, well communicated and otherwise completely honest with ourselves then all parties are setting themselves up for the potential for a less than desirable experience.
Being responsible means being honest. A common theme throughout this series is that it starts with us, individually, knowing ourselves as much as we can. Once we achieve that level of understanding about ourselves, then we can be honest with those we want to play with. Good scenes, relationships and situations require that we can be honest with one another from the very onset and be consistent through the entire experience. That’s when things should go pretty much according to plan. Lying and dishonest types are ultimately going to lead to some really bad conclusions. If you’re lying or misleading someone – and you do this willfully (as opposed to both sides never asking or addressing the issue) then you deserve the additional scrutiny being brought upon you.
Being responsible means we know the expectations. Not just know the expectations but both parties know what the expectations are going to be. We all imagine “this is how I think things are going to go.” Only problem, we don’t articulate that enough. Hence when our expectations are “eh” or fall down horribly, we walk away dissatisfied, upset or hurt. We sometimes set ourselves up for that fall, but if we don’t communicate to one another what we expect to have happen, then it can be a disappointing experience.
Being responsible means having respect. It’s incredibly hot having those scenes where the s-type is debased, head pressed down by a black leather boot and the thrill of being “taken” is well at hand. Deep down, this kind of exchange happens because a level of respect had been already been conveyed that allowed such an activity to happen. If this happened on Main Street, USA, there would be those calling 911, it would be frightening, less than happy or thrilling ….
So, a level of respect is established in one form or another. It means that the s-type has bestowed a level of trust with the d-type they’re with. It’s not automatically assumed or presumed. Merely saying “I’m a dominant” or “I’m a master” doesn’t mean anything. It’s how we carry ourselves, how open we are, how much we respect the people we’re with and the situations we’re involved in.
Being responsible means there’s a shared involvement. It seems pretty obvious, but if we’re all consenting adults to something, then there’s shared involvement. If there’s deceit by either side, then that’s clearly not cool and the accountability in that situation will be clear and evident. Anything beyond willful deceit, there’s a strong possibility that both sides could have some responsibility to what happened.
I’m also not talking about liars or cheaters either. Folks who haven’t been honest in their respective situations are simply not responsible enough to engage with another person. Be honest and forthcoming about things folks.
However if folks have been open and sharing, then other explanations can be derived. If there’s a knowing component, then I’m sorry – you should’ve known. If there’s an experience or knowledge component, then I’m sorry – you should’ve read up on it, sought advice or otherwise
Being responsible means being accountable. It starts with us being brutally honest with what happened. While there might be degrees and percentages of shared responsibility, we each have to own up to what happened and transpired. Put away the finger pointing and assess what you personally did that contributed to the situation. It’s about taking personal accountability for your part. If there was a lying deceitful partner, we also have to accept that this happens too.
But d-types who think they can do no wrong have to wake up to realize that their decisions and conduct are pretty damn important in what happened. Drop the egos, drop the bravados, drop the personas. Folks need to own up, quit the lying, quit the denying and be openly honest with what happened and why.
If we’re not accountable for the actions we do, then our integrity suffers. When we’re stuck in blaming or defensive mode, we no longer are no longer someone that can be trusted. Accepting responsibility means that we account for our part to the situation. It means you’re approaching it realistically instead of continually finger pointing or trying to maintain some fantasy driven fodder that exists in your mind.
Being responsible means you accept that accidents can still happen: No one plans on accidents – hence the reason why the term invokes surprise or unexpected results. Mindfully invoke the honest and accountability clauses up above and if it’s truly an accident – then we should accept it as such. Can accidents be avoided? Some, but not all. Remember, sometimes “shit happens.” But if we’re fully planned, all things double and triple checked – accidents can still happen, right?
It comes down to intent.
If it was a deliberate thing – then that’s a different story.
If it was a miscommunication – then there’s likely shared blame.
If it was an accident – then the reality is that “accidents happen.”
It comes down to how well did the parties work through all the details and ways to safeguard from having a bad experience. If the s-type forgets their inhaler and goes into an asthma attack, then it’s both parties responsibility – not just the s-type. The d-type needs to ask these questions long before the first rope is applied or the scene gets underway. If we don’t exercise degrees of preparedness then we are opening ourselves up to more accidents and miscommunication opportunities.
Being responsible means being educated. Imagine if you will, hiring someone who will take you up in a plane and let you jump out using a parachute you learned how to make and pack using YouTube. You received no other training but you’ve seen everyone else do it on TV: “how hard can this be?” Now should we then be in complete amazement when something goes wrong and the parachute doesn’t open? Not really.
That’s why I turn back to the education and outreach outlets as being viable and important information resources for newcomers to learn how to do things. How to approach potential scene partners and what to realistically expect. It’s absolutely not surprising when we hear about folks who thought the lifestyle was a harlequin romance novel only to be sadly disappointed when it doesn’t meet the bodice ripper expectations going in.
Being responsible means we stay within the boundaries and lines established: I’ve already established that we ALL need to work to stay within the boundaries and lines established. Merely claiming you’re a d-type and believing you have the authority to cross those lines doesn’t mean you actually DO have that authority. It’s basic respect and if that can’t be established then you really shouldn’t be playing with others.
DO NOT GO BEYOND THE ESTABLISHED LINE. If a line and boundary are established, then stay within the bounds of those lines.
DO NOT ASSUME YOU CAN GO BEYOND THE LINE. Just because things get hot and bothered, there is no basis to use someone’s floaty space against them so that you can move directly to sexual intercourse. (or some other avenue) Even if the s-type is begging for it … don’t. DON’T. Their mindset and head space is not the same as it was at the beginning when things were negotiated. You have got to assume that their ability to rationalize the situation has been compromised – and therefore there’s a trust built that you’ll stay within the lines and limits already established.
DO NOT SURPRISE. Waiting to spring that “aha” scene component that wasn’t discussed is very likely breaking one’s consent. Just because you think “oh she’ll love this” doesn’t mean she will. Remember, you’ve just spent a lot of time working out a negotiated scene or event, why fuck that up with a “gotcha stun gun” when that wasn’t on the radar at all? You’ve gone from having a potentially great experience and turned it into a steaming pile of crap all because you wanted to throw that last curveball – thinking it’ll be fun.
Being responsible means we need to LISTEN: It seems rudimentary. It’s so common and basic, yet so few do this because they’re caught up in the moment.
“Yes, reds are scat, blood and anal. (yada yada yada) Yes we are not going to have intercourse afterwards. (boring, yada yada yada) Safecall protocols are in place, (god she has a magnificent body, damn!). There will be no aftercare, just provide a blanket and a safe place. (I can’t believe I talked her into being here. I’m so going to photograph this – yippee!) There will be no photography. (I’m going to mark every inch of her life like I saw in that video … oh wait, nod – she’s talking.) If I have an asthma attack, I need my inhaler. (When is she going to stop talking, my cock is rock hard now … nod faster, let’s get this show on the road!)”
Don’t think this happens? When D-types get a one-track mindset going on … the crowning ship of the fleet can steer into the iceberg and we would still be oblivious to what’s going on. (note to s-types, D-types have their own head space and focus, you’re not the only ones. Ours sometimes talks at the belt line when we’re distracted by what’s going on …)
Remember folks, as the scene develops, our focus shifts. It’s natural and expected, but please please please be mindful of boundaries, lines and other negotiated limits at all times. Just because one or both of you go floaty, shouldn’t mean that either one of you can’t say: “hey, let’s dial that back a bit …” It’s the responsibility of the D, as well as the s if things are slipping to communicate it to the other.
Being responsible means we need to communicate MORE: It’s not just communicating more, but it’s about functional communication. That’s why it’s important to not just negotiate out a scene, but what does “hard” mean to you? What does “hard” mean to me? We lack reference points and as a result, a lot of things don’t get addressed. Moreover, we have folks around us that hide behind the anonymity of the internet. These folks find it easy to create personas that they can emulate, tease and dangle in front of others. We have even gotten to accept degrees of little white lies, “innocent silence” and other counterproductive communication pitfalls are to be accepted.
When it comes to consent, it has to be as perfectly clear as possible from point A to point B. If there are dangling threads, be sure that they aren’t going to interfere with what’s going to happen. It’s not essential to have someone’s biography before doing a scene with them. The fact that they ran track in high school or played the banjo for 7th grade summer camp might be interesting factoids, but hardly relevant in the scope of the situation. Finding out about injuries, conditions, past traumas … mindsets, expectations and past experience is much more intuitive for what you’re about to do. Once we have solid communication, the better we can articulate what we want, the better the outcome is in the end. We do better with more information as our disposal. It’s our responsibility to make sure we talk more and can convey things openly and honestly.
Being responsible means keeping it real: Reality happens. Work, health, family, kids, school, bills, repairs – all happen. While there’s nothing wrong with making the lifestyle to be your escape please be aware and conscious of the fact that the people you are with may be taking it a bit more seriously. There’s no “right way” – just LISTEN, be honest, be forthright and be communicative about it.
Consensual Issues (part 1): Rape culture & the lifestyle
Consensual Issues (part 2): The Problem is in the Definition
Consensual Issues (part 3): Separating facts from projections
Consensual Issues (part 4): The Unfortunate Death of Communication
Consensual Issues (part 5): Scolding the Dominant
Consensual Issues (part 6): Personal Responsibility
Consensual Issues (part 7): Community Responsibility