Tuesday, June 14, 2016

#AASECT16--Consent 201: Consent and Its Discontents

Susan Wright and I presented a 90-minute program at AASECT's 48th Annual Conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico entitled Consent 201: Consent and its Discontents on June 9, 2016.  At the end of that presentation, Susan and I promised to mount the slides and notes on FetLife under the Consent Counts discussion thread, and here on Elephant.  The posting is delayed until Sunday, June 19 while I get an upgrade to my tech skills!  Sorry for the delay!

Consent 201: Consent and its Discontents

Here are some of the takeaways I think this presentation about complex and ambiguous consent and the 2014 consent violations survey offers:

1)  While there are many costs to confronting stigma and being 'othered', outsiders have insights their unique histories and contexts can offer us.  We can learn from them, or just learn the hard way.

2)  Consent is not simple and will not work by rote for kinky folk or for conventional ones.  Kink has a long history of what consent can and can't do.  Communication lessens the dangers, but does not fully ameliorate power imbalances.

3)  Community offers powerful protections, but we only achieve them if we are not only inclusive, but show vigilance for our most vulnerable members and fully socialize them.

4)  Even in counter cultures like kink, the cultural weaknesses of our larger cultural context bleed through.  Kink is egalitarian, but not fully equal.  Males, heterosexuals, tops, and those with clear gender boundaries are less likely to report consent violations than women, submissives, queer, and fluid folk.

5)  There are serious risks of over-victimizing consent violations in our efforts to decrease them.  Half are not serious, bumps and bruises are to be expected from risky play, and we dare not decrease the agency of all participants.  The passion to share risk creates the opportunity for understanding our shadow and our vulnerability.  Safety training and aftercare need to operate not just between immediate players, but within the larger communities they play in.  2014 Consent Violations Survey is part of a long history of community commitment to that care.  So is posting these results for others to learn form them and apply them.

Enjoy, learn, play safely, and lead with empathy, not conflict.

© Russell J Stambaugh, June, 2016, Ann Arbor MI, All rights reserved


  1. HI Russell, thanks for offering your notes. PLease send:lisabschwartzphd@gmail.com

  2. i would like to receive a copy of the notes from this presentation for my own learning and should i use the material for other than this reason i will attribute the source. can you please send to dianegleimMFT@gmail.com