An Editorial On Consent

Feel free to tune this post out if you’re not reading I Already Met You over on Dirty Lemons. This post, in particular, pertains to chapter 7, so if you’re waiting to read it all in one go or aren’t interested, don’t bother reading below the cut, mmkay? Cool.

So I distinctly remember when we were writing this story that initially, Missy wanted to cut out the misunderstanding that occurred in this chapter. She was uncomfortable with the notion of writing an Eric that may have come off “rapey” in any sense of the word. I understand her discomfort. That is a strange position to find oneself in, but after much discussion we chose to leave it in.

Now let me just say that Missy keeps pretty quiet on her political beliefs, whereas I am much more upfront about it. I have opinions about politics, feminism and rape culture that I haven’t been quiet about. Had things worked out differently with Scribe, we probably would have written a more in depth story that deals with rape culture and the aftermath of being a victim because it’s a cause that both of us feel very strongly about. She even participated in a podcast about the subject not too long ago.

I wanted to keep this story line going because there are so many who don’t understand how BDSM relationships work and it’s possible that this Sookie is one of those people. It’s possible that she got mixed up with bad Doms in the past who didn’t really bother to walk her through the more technical side of things. I’ve done my research on the topic. I know all about safe words and the importance of talking about the things you, as a sub, will or will not do. It’s important to have your limits known and for there to be open and clear communication about things. Trust is so very vital in those kinds of relationships.

But the most important thing is consent.

Without consent nothing is supposed to happen and that is where things get tricky if you don’t have beforehand agreed upon terms.

Personally, I think they’re both to blame for what happened in chapter 7. Sookie is the more experienced of the two in the arena, so assuming she really understands how it’s supposed to be, she’s somewhat at fault for not taking the proper precautions. However, when I was reading over the chapter, one section in particular jumped out at me as a little unsettling.

Sookie gags and shoves at me to get away. I don’t know if I should stop. I look down at her with a look that conveys my dilemma waiting for a sign.

I can understand Eric’s dilemma in all this, but if he was uncertain, wouldn’t it have made more sense for him to take a step back and ask her if she really meant no or if she was just playing? I have clear feelings about victim blaming and it makes me sad to see so much of that in the comments for this chapter. Sookie said no. She made it pretty damn clear that she was done playing and that her consent had been revoked, and she’s well within her rights to rescind it at any time she chooses.

But that’s why I wanted to keep this story going because when there are loose ends left, this is what can happen.

Signals get crossed, someone gets confused about whether they’re getting a red light or if it’s just a little spice added to play time and the other person ends up feeling victimized. Now do I believe that Eric intended for Sookie to end up feeling like a victim? Definitely not. Would I have done the same thing she did if I was in her shoes? A bite would have been the least of a guy’s worries if he put his dick in my mouth after I said no.

The sad fact of the matter is that Sookie wasn’t playing when she said no. She said no and more than once. Things could have happened differently but they didn’t. Fortunately this is just a work of fiction, but this sort of thing happens all the time.

She likes it rough.

She shouldn’t have been dressed like that.

She shouldn’t have led him on.

She shouldn’t have been drinking or getting high.

She shouldn’t have (fill in the blank).

There are a million things that women are told not to do all the time because for some reason, we’re supposed to have some sort of detector in our minds to tell us who a rapist is. Women get blamed all the time for being sexually assaulted and it’s pure bullshit. Blaming the victims of these crimes sends a message to the perpetrators that they’re not doing anything wrong.

I’m not suggesting that women shouldn’t be smart and protect themselves because they absolutely should. Use good judgment.

But if I happen to get dragged into an alley because I’m walking to my car from a restaurant at night and get raped, how is that my fault? Should I have had an escort walking me everywhere I go? How ridiculous is that? Instead of people telling women to watch how much they drink or how to dress, how about teaching children (both male and female since there are victims on both sides of the gender lines) not to rape? That seems like a much better idea for everyone.

Above all of that, there is also one other message I wanted to put out there, even if it’s to a small audience comparatively speaking. I don’t know how many people under the age of eighteen are reading our work. Obviously Missy and I aren’t checking identification with every blog subscription. Given the recent explosion of interest in BDSM and/or Dom/sub relationships, I wanted to put out somewhat of a cautionary tale. Clearly, what happened to Sookie in this story isn’t as bad as it could get, but the affect of it is something that will come back to haunt her later on.

Folks in the BDSM community do not look on 50 Shades of Grey favorably and for good reason. There are a lot of impressionable teenage girls gobbling that crap up, romanticizing a man like Christian Grey, hoping to find a guy just like him. They have this fantasy of a good looking, wealthy man whose cold, dead heart they can somehow revive and warm with their love. Yeah, well, in the process prepare for a whole lot of hell to rain down on your head, ladies. Newsflash: That’s not the way it happens in real life.

In real life, men like Christian Grey don’t change. Once they get stuck in their abusive patterns, that’s where they stay because it’s comfortable. There’s the occasional unicorn type that changes their ways but it’s so goddamn rare. I definitely wouldn’t go getting my hopes up thinking you’re going to change a man. Abusers usually get worse as time goes on. Scary thought, huh? It escalates. What starts as a slap across the face becomes a punch and then a kick and then you have broken bones and someday it puts you in the hospital because you have a collapsed lung or a broken cheekbone or worse, you miscarry the son of a bitch’s baby because you’ve been so badly beaten. It happens all the time.

It scares the shit out of me that girls are actively going out there looking for men who will do this because Hollywood has them convinced that they too can change a man, just like Ana did.

So if you’re considering getting involved in a BDSM relationship, please, please take the time to do the research beforehand. Know your rights. Get yourself educated. Clearly define your limits and for the love of God, use a safe word. Any Dom worth his salt will insist on having one. If he doesn’t, there’s your first clue that you should turn the fuck around and run the other way.

If you have ever been the victim of a situation like the one in chapter 7, you have my deepest sympathies. I sincerely hope that you had the courage to seek counseling if you needed it or that you reported it to the local authorities. Engaging in a kinky, sexual relationship does not nullify your rights. Liking it rough doesn’t mean you don’t get to say no.

Protect yourself, ladies. Be smart. Be strong.

She’s a hot mess but one of my favorite quotes comes from Courtney Love: “I am not a woman. I am a force of nature.”

Be that force of nature. Every day.

~Meg

11 thoughts on “An Editorial On Consent

  1. Spoken wonderfully. My husband and I do some light bdsm, he’s not comfortable with anything heavier and I only like it in the “bedroom” otherwise fuck off I am right!! I totally agree with u about 50 Shades. If people really want to read some stuff for better ideas of the different forms of BDSM just check out Amazon (esp kindle area) there are a lot of different ones and quite a few of them are true or based on a true story. I for one will keep on reading all of “your” work. Everyone of “you” are all talented, and I appreciated you sharing.

  2. Bondage domination submission
    Masochism.

    Tying up and being told what to do. Spankings kinky sex master and a sub. That is this story.

    To me Sookie is a self proclaimed brat. Brats often say no. Often. I know a few. It is also called being a Dom from the bottom because they run they show. Honesty in this situation I would put this on Sookie. She was literally training someone it was her fail. Eric was apologizing when he thought she was asleep. She knew how much he didn’t understand. She was not setting clear boundaries.
    50 shades IS NOT BDSM. it is crap
    BDSM is also called power exchange because it is all mutual. Some doms are lazy and just want sex and some are sadist. You need to figure out exactly what you need first. Check out your local group. Trust me there is usually parties with no sex around somewhere. LEGAL AGE ONLY!!!

    • It’s an interesting thought that Sookie was kind of training Eric. I didn’t think of it that way, although I can see what you mean. I think she made the mistake of just expecting him to figure it out on his own. There’s mistakes on both sides of the fence here. It’s sad that the whole mess could have been avoided by having a simple conversation.

      I sincerely hope that anyone thinking of getting into this kind of a relationship will educate themselves prior to engaging in it. I’ve never been a part of that scene. My knowledge is all based on research and from conversations with people who have experience. I seriously question the mental health of anyone who is serious about wanting to find a relationship like the one Ana and Christian had because NO.

  3. As I stated in my review, beyond a little bedroom bondage and/or role playing, I absolutely do not get the appeal of BDSM. (I have issues with being told what to do, though, so it figures.) And while I was ticked off at Sookie at the end of that chapter, it wasn’t for saying no, or really even for being upset with Eric. My anger with her was for refusing to forgive him even though she knew he was sincere and knowing that she played a major role in the miscommunication. She had every right to say stop and to be upset when he didn’t, but I think ending the relationship even after he sincerely begged her forgiveness and she knew he wouldn’t do it again, was far too extreme.

    As for the rest of what you said, I whole-heartedly agree. The victim is never to be blame for being raped, attacked or abused.

  4. Thank you for this. I 100% agree that victim blaming and teaching people not to get raped is completely backward. I believe I am responsible for teaching my boys about respect and that includes respect around sex. Anyone has a right to remove consent at any time but I am honestly torn about Sookie. In a BDSM relationship, removing consent is a little trickier, which is why safe words are so important. If Sookie feels this is something she cannot compromise on, she should have been much better educated on how to go about this kind of relationship. I’m very surprised she didn’t have a talk with Eric about hard and soft limits, safe words, etc. Eric was not experienced and yes, she should have understood that he needed training. She dropped the ball and now they both have to live with this consequence. I’m sure it was scary for her but it was scary for him too. Communication is key in these things, that and education could have saved them both the heartache.
    Good discussion, thanks!

    • I completely agree. There has to be communication here. They both got in over their heads and weren’t going about this from a responsible angle. With this Sookie, I don’t know what her experience level with BDSM is, other than to say she had a relationship like that in the past. If she didn’t have someone teach her all of the things she should know it’s hard to pay it forward to someone else, you know what I mean?
      That said, that was one of the reasons why I didn’t want to drop the story line because I wanted to show what could happen if participants aren’t being careful. Down the line I think Sookie will start to see her responsibility in what happened but it’ll be a while before she does.
      Thanks for responding!

  5. I blame Sookie for not setting clear boundaries and a giving him a safe word. Clearly, she had more experience than Eric in this department and she should have explained the “rules of the game” to him from the start. When she was talking about him to Thalia she thought it was “cute” that he would apologize to her when he thought she was sleeping. I actually had an issue with how she and Thalia were talking about him, it was objectifying and, IMO, a little insulting. We would yell to the high heavens if men spoke about us that way but here it didn’t seem to be an issue.
    Let’s be clear. I normally do not blame Sookie in stories because I love the character. If you are going to be a force of nature then show responsibility and accountability for your personal safety by discussing clear boundaries with your BDSM partner. That moment of awkwardness that you said Eric had could have been easily avoided if she had clearly stated from the beginning what her safe word was. Hey Eric, pineapple. Eric stops. No misunderstandings. Sookie was a victim to a certain point but not entirely, the ball was completely in her court from the start. She showed poor judgment by not taking this seriously. And, yes, I agree that she was “training” Eric in this roleplay since he had no prior experience so, yes, she has to take responsibility for her part in it.

  6. Preach! This is excellently written. It also makes me sad that so many of the commenters immidiately jumped on Sookie, as if she was the only one to blame. It was a case of miscommunication and nothing else. HE could’ve gone way differently and so could SHE. Stop laying the blame solely on the victim (in this story).

    Your story, The Playground, was very very good as well. It’s what made me gain insight regarding BDSM and it’s rules. I probably wouldn’t have started researching on my own. 🙂

    • THANK YOU! It makes me so happy to know that The Playground inspired you to research. I’ll be the first to admit that there are probably things in that story could use some improvement as well, but I did the best I could with the research I had done at the time. Then again, I’m a writer and never completely satisfied with anything I put out so I can only agonize over it so much before releasing it into the world.

      As for this story, there’s definitely responsibility on both sides of the fence but for different reasons. To me it all boils down to the issue of consent and Eric most certainly did not have it from her. I really don’t know what else she could have done to make it clear to him that she wasn’t playing around anymore. Anyway, I’m glad that it’s starting a dialogue and people are reacting to it. I don’t mind pushing people’s boundaries if it means possibly educating someone who might have otherwise remained ignorant on an issue.

      Thanks for reading!

  7. I reviewed the chapter but wanted to pipe in here as well. I 100% agree victims should not be blamed. Everyone should be taught rape is wrong! It should never matter if a woman is walking down the street in a mini-skirt or naked if she wants to… if she says no it means no. Seeing certain articles online makes my insides turn about this subject. Like… okay because you’re a man you have no self-control and it’s the woman’s job to make herself not appealing to you? Bullsh*t!!!!

    I think in this story the dom/sub made a lot of readers feel like they were in a grey area, at least for me it did. I think Sookie had every right to be upset… but I think she should have been more tolerant and forgiving to Eric who was definitely sorry. I read the story as her ‘training’ him in a way, which was an assumption on my part, so it seemed like she should have been the one to give a safe word speech. They were both at fault here… my issue with Sookie in the chapter was that she broke up with Eric instead of talking it through, when it was obvious he was sorry and misread her. Also going by the story so far, I wouldn’t really call Eric a ‘rapist’, I don’t think he fits the definition due to the situation.

  8. Everything you said is spot on.
    I get so sick of victims being blamed. And so often I hear hear woman comment “but did you see what she was wearing? Unfortunatley I’m not surprised.” Really? No matter what someone wears, the response to them being victimised should be outrage, not grudging acceptance!

    As for chapter 7.
    If Eric had any doubt that things had gone beyond play, he shoild have stopped and asked. But then that’s a catch 22. She told him up front ‘don’t ask, order’. However, this was a serious enough act that he should have checked.
    On the other hand, Sookie could have clearly stated that she wasn’t playing anymore. She could have told him that she wasn’t being a brat to get more punishment.
    Unfortunately the more I think about it, it seems like Sookie was trained about BDSM by an inexperienced Dom. Then she was basically training Eric, who was only trying to give her what she wanted. A little like the blind leading the blind.
    Sookie (despite being the sub), was certainly controlling everything. She would be deliberately bratty. Eric would give her the punishment she wanted. Heck, he was at work when she sent a photo of herself outside Alcide’s door so that he would leave work and come to her place and punish her.

    This was absolutley the case of an inexperienced sub, leading an inexperienced Dom when there were no safe words, no soft or hard limits, heck no saftey conversation at all!

    Was Sookie ‘asking for it’ cos she liked to be punished? Heck No! But while Eric certainly sholders some blame, so equally does Sookie.

    I’m glad you kept the chapter Meg. This helps to highlight the necessity for communication in that type of play, before play! Safe words, if absolutely nothing else – safe words!!!

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