BDSM requires consent. The sub has to agree to allow the dom to do the things the dom does. Verbal abuse, humiliation, pain play, bondage–all these things and more are problematic if the dom doesn’t receive the sub’s consent, and many of them are flat-out illegal to do to someone who is unwilling to receive them.
This principle is widely-known among kinksters, although many novices don’t understand it and the porn actively discourages people from realizing it. What is less well-understood is that this principle applies to the partners of the dom and sub as well.
I get a reasonable number of offers from guys who want me to be ‘discreet’ (often misspelled as ‘discrete’). Sometimes what these guys mean is they want to make sure I’ll respect their privacy, won’t post their pics on-line and so on, which is absolutely fine. I would never expose someone’s sexual activities without their permission. Not everyone is ready or able to be out of the closet.
But just as often what they mean is that they have a partner who doesn’t know that they’re playing on the side. Their partner thinks they’re in a monogamous relationship (or something close to that) and the guy who is hitting me up wants to cheat. If they admit that to me, or if I think that’s what’s going on, I always say no. Here are my reasons, in no particular order.
- Your partner thinks s/he is in a monogamous relationship and has an exclusive claim over you. If I play with you, I’m taking that monogamous relationship away from your partner. In other words, I’m stealing something from them. That’s on me as much as it is on you.
- Your monogamous partner should be the one you tell everything about yourself to. Maybe there are some things they can’t share with you, but they deserve to know that their husband/boyfriend has needs that aren’t getting met. If you can’t be honest with someone who is supposed to be the most important person in your life, who can you be honest with?
- BDSM requires honesty. If you’re lying to or cheating on your life partner, I’m pretty sure you will lie to me as your dom. And if you don’t have the honesty to admit what you need to that person, you don’t yet have the honesty I want to see from you. When I’m your dom, I’m going to expect you to admit your desires, your fantasies, your fears and so on. So if you can’t give that to someone you ought to be able to trust, you’re not ready for BDSM.
- Exploring submission changes the sub, sometimes in unpredictable ways. They may become more submissive in other areas of their lives, or become more assertive. They may realize that they want to live as a slave, or start to feel dissatisfied with their primary relationship if it’s vanilla. They may start acknowledging past emotional traumas or abuse. They may decide to admit they’re gay rather than straight or bi. Your partner has a right to understand what’s going on and why you’re changing, in part because they may decide that they aren’t willing to live with you once you’ve changed.
- Depending on who you’re playing with, there might be the risk of HIV or pregnancy or a variety of other sexually-transmitted conditions. Those things affect your partner too, especially if you pass them a disease because you’re not using condoms with them. They have a right to know that sex with you is riskier than they think it is.
- As your Dom, I am positioning myself as being a superior man, one who has a right to take charge of submissive men like you. That means I need to demonstrate a high standard of ethical behavior. If I were the sort of man who would cheat on your partner with you, I wouldn’t be the sort of man you could trust to respect your limits.
- Having been cheated on, I refuse to do that to a total stranger. I wish the guy my asshole ex cheated with had been thinking about my rights and needs, so I need to think about the rights and needs of my play partner’s significant other. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
- If I take you on as a sub for training, I want control over you. But if you’re stepping out on your partner, I won’t actually actually get the sort of control over you that I want. I’ll have to work around not only your schedule but your partner’s schedule and I’ll have to put up with suddenly cancellations. I’ll have to be extremely careful about leaving marks. You might get called away suddenly during a scene. All of those may keep me from doing what I want to do with you. In other words, you won’t be able to submit as much as I want you to submit.
- I’m not responsible for your choices. But I am responsible for mine. And this is an ethical line I won’t cross. If you withhold this information from me, you’re violating my consent as well as your partner’s consent, and you don’t have a right to do that.
In terms of kink, however, this raises an obvious issue. Cucking is cheating. I even wrote my novel Bull and Cuck about a guy who’s cheating on his partner. How is that not me contradiction myself?
Because cucking, at least ethical cucking, isn’t cheating anymore than pain play is domestic violence. Ethical Cucking isn’t any cheating; it’s cheating with permission. The cuck gives his consent to his partner to cheat on him. If the cheater doesn’t have permission, if the cuck doesn’t know he’s a cuck, I have a big problem with that and won’t participate in it. On the other hand, if the cuck knows, accepts and on some level enjoys what’s happening, that means I get to dom two guys for the sake of one, because the cuck is as much my sub as the cheater is.
Remember, without consent, it’s not kink. It’s just being an asshole or an abuser.