31 May, 2010

The Nature of Consent, Part Two: The Importance of Safe Signals

WARNING!! This post talks about sex, kink and consent, and is NSFW. It may also be upsetting to some readers.

Fist a note: I use the phrase Safe Signals instead of Safe Words very deliberately. Not everyone can speak, and not all Safe Signals are verbal.

Safe Signals are another of those things that I believe every sexually active person should have, not just those in the kinky community. A Safe Signal is a signal, decided on before hand by all partners, that lets the other parties know to stop. Often people will have two (or more) different signals, declaring the urgency of the halt. One could mean slow down, or stop that activity, another could mean Stop Everything Now!

A Safe Signal could be just about anything;
  • A word not likely to be used in normal play, such as Pineapple
  • A hand gesture or movement not likely to be used in normal play, like opening and shutting the hands quickly
  • A sound made, such as snapping fingers or ringing a bell
The only thing a Safe Signal needs to be is agreed upon and easily recognised by all parties.

But why are Safe Signals so important?

In kinky communities, the answer is obvious. A partner hit a little too hard, cut a little too deep, you need to be able to let them know so they can stop and apply first aid if necessary.
But what about people who aren't kinky?

Safe Signals, I believe, should be supported and pushed for by feminists all over. They are the epitome of enthusiastic consent. They help partners know that, although someone may have consented initially, that consent can be revoked at any time. And it gives people a means to revoke that consent! If I'm in the middle of sex and suddenly have a flashback, I have a way of quickly letting my partner know that we Must Stop.

But Safe Signals are not without their limitations. It is possible thar, should you freeze up or need to stop, you might be unable to make your Signal. This is why it is vitally important that we tune in to our partners, so that if something changes, if something goes wrong, we can respond immediately.

The Nature of Consent, Part One: SSC vs. RACK

WARNING!!! This post talks about sex, kink and consent, and is NSFW. It also might be upsetting for some readers.

The issue of consent is one which is very important in feminist circles. It is a topic that needs to be talked about over and over and over again. But when it comes to kinky circles, kinky feminists, the word holds even more meanings.

These are currently two schools of thought regarding consent in kinky sexuality. They are defined by the acronyms SSC and RACK.

SSC: Safe, Sane and Consentual, is one I actually vehemently reject.

For starters, who exactly defines safe? What is safe? There are things I might do to make me safe, but which would be unsafe to other people because of different tolerances and triggers. And not every kinky activity is safe. Slap and tickle? Sure. Handcuffs and bondage? Whatever. Knife play? No way in hell is that safe. The only thing we can do, what we need to trust ourselves and our partners to do, is be aware of the risks.

Want to play with knives? Have fun. Want to do a suspension scene? Go right ahead. Interested in wax play? Enjoy. But be aware that these are not safe activities. They are dangerous. And we need to accept that danger, to understand that danger, in order to take the precautions necessary to engage in these activities.

The other thing that really shits me about SSC is the word "Sane". Guess what! I'm not sane. I don't identify as sane. There are some days when I am more sane than others, but what about when I'm in the midst of a manic episode and really, really want sex? Should I just say no? Por what if I don't know if this is the beginnings of mania or I'm just really happy? Where is the line drawn?
To demand that all kinky participants be sane is, quite frankly, ableist. And I won't have any part in that.

RACK is actually something I hold very dear to me, and something which I think all sexually active people should strive for, not just kinky ones. Risk Aware Consentual Kink (or sex, if you're not kinky). This is about knowing what you're doing, researching something new before trying it, taking into account every possible eventuatioion of an activity. Even more importantly, it's about making sure your partner(s) is awarer of all possible risks too. And with this awareness, making sure you all are truly willing to proceed.

This is, I believe, the true nature of consent: knowing the risks and consciously deciding, yes, I'm going to try this.

09 May, 2010

What's the same about all these covers?

If you guessed "The Pose", Congratulations! Have an impossible costume! (Warning, NSFW. Warning: trans-hate in the comments).

And it's not just comics where you see this pose. Check out these posters for the recent G I Joe movie:

Wow! This is a pose which manages to show off Arse, Breasts and Face (except in that G I Joe poster where her head is cut off...) all at the same time! It's magic!

This is a pose I see all the damn time and, frankly, I'm bored. I'd really wish creators would be just a little more creative when it comes to posing their comic book heroines.
I've never seen a hero in the pose, only heroines. Anyone know of an exception?

So tell me, my lovely readers, what things in comic books are you sick of, be it poses or themes or impossible outfits? What have you seen so many times that you just want to scream "Enough already!!"? And is the presents of these things enough to stop you from buying a comic if you see it on the cover?

07 May, 2010

I Dreamed That I Was Normal

I dreamed that I was normal.
I dreamed that I was fine.
I dreamed that people asked me pointless questions like the time.

I dreamed the world made sense,
That people never tried
To delve into my psyche and redefine my mind.

I dreamed that I was normal.
I dreamed I didn't care.
I dreamed I could walk down the street without a single stare.

I dreamed that I was thirsty,
All I needed was a drink.
I dreamed that no one questioned me or how I know to think.

I dreamed that I was normal.
I dreamed that it was clear.
I dreamed that who I was was not a cause for peoples fear.

I dreamed that I was timid.
I dreamed that I was proud.
I dreamed that I was quiet and I dreamed that I was loud.

I dreamed that I was normal.
I dreamed that I knew best.
I dreamed that my emotions weren't the cause of my distress.

I dreamed that I was normal,
That nothing was amiss.
I dreamed that I was normal, and then woke up to this.