7/20/2011

Rape in Consensual Non-Consent Relationships



I've been thinking about the online article When Rape is a Gift over at the Taken in Hand website. This article is by The Boss, who has also written such gems as Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum, The Missionary Position, and Happy Living in Fear of a Man, and The Subjection of Women. If you are interested in Taken in Hand and haven't read these articles, you really should. They are some of my favorites.

When Rape is a Gift is such a powerful title, don't you think? It evokes emotions almost immediately. Usually, they are negative. And rightly so. Rape the way we think of is--a man or woman being forced or coerced into an unwanted sexual encounter--is a terrible thing for the victim. Whether the rapist is a stranger, an acquaintance, or your spouse, rape is a tragic event.

But what about unwanted sexual encounters within a relationship that is already defined as consensual non-consent?


First, a few words about CNC. I've noticed some bloggers lately who seem to think CNC means the sub operates without any kind of limits or safeword whatsoever. I'm not sure where this idea came from, but let me be clear that in my CNC relationship, I have a safeword.


If a Dom in a CNC-relationship commands his sub to have sex with him and she obeys, even when she doesn't want to, is that rape? What about when a HoH says he expects his wife to "be sexually available" to him at all times? Isn't that similar to rape? Or the tricky one--when a Dom in a CNC tells his sub he wants sex, and she says no and fights or begs or pleads not to, but he takes it anyway, is that rape?


All of the above situations are similar to rape. They are not legal rape because all of those situations involve consent. Consent is either given at the time (implicitly through obedience) or it has been given earlier (engaging in a CNC relationship). But to take sex from a partner who is unwilling at that time is still, on some level, a rape.

My Dom is understandably uncomfortable with me using the word "rape." This is because he loves me and would never, ever hurt me. He has shown nothing but respect for my safeword when I have felt it necessary to use it.



But when he wants to have sex, and takes it from me even when I may be kicking and fighting or pleading with him not to, this is what I believe the author is referring to in When Rape is a Gift.


Sometimes I don't want to have sex. Sometimes--and this admission will make me unpopular in the BDSM world--I will deny my Dom sex and fight against him. Sometimes I'm too tired or angry. Most of the time, it's because I'm feeling distant and defensive and intimacy is the last thing I want with him right then.


This morning, he took it anyway.


I said no and struggled to get away. He pinned me down. I struggled. I panicked a bit. Eventually, I calmed down and gave in.


I wouldn't advise this for those new to D/s or BDSM. My Dom and I have just recently begun exploring this limit of mine after years of communication and shelving it as a "hard limit." We've talked a lot about it. A lot. And he monitored me carefully the whole time.


"You can use your safeword," he reminded me at the very beginning. (Often, he reminds me of this because if I get panicked enough, I forget I have it. He has now started reminding me at the start of scenes.)


Later, he asked me, "How are you feeling?"


I had no words. I couldn't talk. I wasn't in subspace, but I was acting similarly: words weren't coming to me, I wasn't very in touch with how I was feeling, I wasn't sure what my emotions were. I didn't have that same happy/submissive/floaty feeling, but I couldn't answer.


I just shook my head.


"I need you to talk to me right now," he said gently.


I shrugged. Paused. (Normally he can't get me to shut up, I swear.) "I don't know," I finally came up with (brilliant!).


"Stop. Think. I need you to tell me," he said.


I squinted my eyes and searched the ceiling for an answer. Pause pause pause. He waited patiently. "I'm... okay," I managed.


He told me he loved me. He talked to me, because he knows (after months and years of talking about it, mind you!) that I need that verbal connection to stay engaged.


"I own you," he told me. "Nobody else. I want to own all of you. I'll fight for you. I'll fight to get those pieces back you've been keeping from me." (Have I been keeping pieces? Not intentionally... but he's right.)


Afterward, I cuddled him. As usual, I was full of questions. What did he feel about what had just happened? Had he liked it? Was it good? Was that rape?


"It's not rape," he said, suddenly uncomfortable.


I tried to explain that I didn't mean rape in a bad way; I meant rape in an okay way. He shied away from using that term. Rape seemed to him something done by a bad guy to a victim. He loved me, he insisted (I knew that). He was using sex as a way for us to reconnect because it was best for me, even when I didn't like it (I understood that, too). He didn't like it when I would fight intimacy with him, withholding myself physically and emotionally, creating distance between us. He had overpowered me because he knew it was best for us and our relationship. He was doing his part to lead us, ensuring I didn't hijack our marriage by creating and maintaining distances that weren't supposed to be there.


All this was true. I could have used my safeword at any time if I had had a flashback to abuse or completely flipped out and needed to stop. He was using sex to bring us closer, not tear me down.


And he was right. I did feel closer. I can't claim I liked the sex--or being forced into it--but he broke down my walls. We cuddled afterward. I talked a lot more. I finally felt relaxed and safe, connected to my Dom, not sad and distant and anxious about every little thing. I started the morning with a happy smile on my face. It re-centered me.


In the short term, it may have looked like rape. But in the long term, I had already given my consent to a CNC relationship with this man I knew and trusted. We had worked long and hard and stumbled through many potholes and roadblocks to build the knowledge of each other that allowed him to push past my boundaries safely and sanely.


I didn't like it at the time. But he is the leader of our household and the ultimate decision was his.



5 comments:

Dannah Bridger said...

A sub or slave should ALWAYS have a safeword. There is also a safe-action--it's called leaving.

FYI--what you describe here IS legal rape in my state (even within a marriage), so it's important to know your local laws. If the authorities were notified (either you got hurt enough for medical care or the neighbors called the cops about your screaming, for example) then charges would be pressed.
In many states (such as mine) it doesn't matter whether you agree to press charges or not--the state can act on behalf of a what they consider an unwilling victim (this law was put in place due to abused women who were afraid to testify), particularly if there are repeated occurrences.

Perhaps you aren't referring to me, but in one of my blogs I quoted Master saying "slaves have no limits". I can see I need to better explain that.
In reading the whole post, it shows that despite Master's words, I WAS able to state my disagreement and that was respected. Also, what he asked me to do was not harmful in any way (it was a matter of like/dislike) and I clearly stated it was "to" my limit--not over it.

However, you make a very important point that as a blogger I often forget: newbies can be readers. I need to explain more fully what happened in that post because I don't want it misinterpreted with dangerous consequences for someone.

Superb post! Excellent handling of a delicate, but very important topic!!

MyMasterBites said...

I really enjoy your blog, and how you put your thoughts, feelings, and desires into words.

Kady said...

Hi Sexperts,
This is the first time I've stopped by your blog. This post struck home to me. I had been a refuser many of our 28 years of marriage. We have 7 kids, so not completely a refuser, lol. We just started DD/spanking a little over a year ago, and our marriage is entirely different and awesome! I have always been the kinkier of the two of us, and we are just starting to incorporate a little BDSM in our relationship. I've asked for a fantasy rape and I believe he'll come around, eventually.

A couple of nights ago, I was frustrated about something and broke the mood, and we didn't make love. I wish he had either "taken" me or spanked me. We needed to work through it, so maybe this CNC rape thing is good?

I appreciate your thoughts on this, it has me thinking....

Kady

Sexperts said...

Kady, I can relate to the "Just spank me!" or "Just take me!" or "Just DO SOMETHING!" :) I'm sure it doesn't always work, but sometimes it seems called for.

Dannah, I was actually quoting some pro-kink but anti-D/s bloggers whose primary concern with D/s and CNC is that they think CNC is just a guise for nonconsent and that a slave or sub would end up being abused. As you say, most people in D/s either have a safeword or have clearly communicated limits, and subs and slaves can ALWAYS just exit. :)

Lea said...

I am so glad to have read this article. Months ago, I came upon the very same article, and it really scared the shit out of me. Even with it's explanations, and disclaimers, etc, I just couldn't wrap my head around it, and I felt extremely negative about the entire thing.

Seeing in the perspective you've written, and with the CNC parameters established has really made me more aware and open minded about it. I hate to admit it, but I was very closed minded to it before. Thank you.