In popular culture, the lines between consensual and non-consensual sex are blurred. The general message is that silence is consent, and movies and even popular books like 50 Shades of Gray reiterate the message that someone doesn’t know how bad they want it until you coerce or force them into sexual activity.
A survey conducted by Family Planning Association revealed that 47% of people believe that it’s not okay to revoke consent during sex if you’re already naked. The survey also showed that 9% of people believe it’s not okay to revoke consent if someone bought you drinks or dinner. These findings, while terrible, are not shocking when you think about the cultural norms and the messages we see portrayed in the media.
Of course, not everyone is confused about sexual consent and its true meaning of it. BDSM community had been successfully practicing consent in the word’s true meaning for years. And with the rise of social media in the recent decade, they are bringing the message to the masses.
The True Definition of Consent
While we do tend to understand consent when it comes to agreeing to websites tracking our data and cookies, sexual consent is still a highly debated topic. By definition, sexual consent is a clearly and freely communicated agreement between two or more adults to engage in sexual activity.
Sexual consent can only be given by a party that’s not intoxicated, unconscious, or is in a state where they’re unable to consent. It’s also important to note that sexual consent can’t be given if the person is under the psychological pressure of being harmed if they don’t consent.
Consent is also something that’s not definitive. At any point and time during sexual activity, all parties can withdraw their consent if they don’t feel like it anymore.
As you can see, the definition of sexual consent is clear on paper. However, the statistics show that 1 in 5 women in the United States experience completed or attempted rape in their lifetime. Statistics also show that 51.1% of women report being raped by an intimate partner rather than someone they didn’t know.
The numbers we see suggest that while the definition of sexual consent is clear and simple, people are still struggling to grasp its true meaning even when it comes to their intimate relationships and long-term romantic partners.
BDSM Community Does Consent the Right Way
BDSM community is known for engaging in high-risk sexual activities that are most often not for the faint of heart. Most people focus on the leather, gags, and all the other extreme kinks that the community is known for. But what they should focus on is the way the BDSM community handles sexual consent. And spoiler alert: they do it better than anyone else.
Before starting a BDSM scene, all parties involved discuss what will happen, how, and why. They also agree on a safe word that’s not a “no,” but rather something different that would give all parties a way out if they revoke their consent in the middle of the scene. When the partners are unable to speak due to using gags and such, they agree on a gesture that will act as a “safe word.”
Some people in the BDSM community go as far as writing and signing contracts that outline all the activities everyone agrees to participate in, safe words, boundaries, and punishments. And despite the popular belief that over-communicating kills the vibe, having set boundaries and everyone agreeing to respect them makes things much more erotic.
A study published in The Journal of Sex Research shows that the BDSM community has a better understanding of consent. In addition, people in the kink community are less likely to believe and accept benevolent sexism, rape myth acceptance, and victim-blaming than vanilla people.
Another survey conducted by National Coalition for Sexual Freedom revealed that even 95.9% of BDSM practitioners believe that a person can revoke consent at any time, and even 94.25% think that consent should be an ongoing conversation in a relationship. These findings show that people participating in the BDSM community are more aware of the true meaning of consent and its importance during sexual play.
Where TikTok’s BDSM Community Comes Into Play
Until a decade ago (or even less), the BDSM community and all the kinksters were considered underground groups. You’d find the practitioners in dimply lit sex clubs or hiding somewhere at the very corner of Reddit forums. However, with the rise of social media, particularly TikTok, the BDSM community has found a new platform and audience.
On TikTok, hashtag #kinktok has over 9.5 billion views. And videos about kinks and BDSM practices are getting millions of views. Some people are sharing their personal experiences and useful tips for those just starting with a kink. Lost Ava has over 179 thousand followers, and her page is dedicated to practicing BDSM in a safe and consensual way.
She shares tips for roleplay and making things spicy in the bedroom on her profile. And she also calls out people who are against safe communication about important things like consent and aftercare. Having open communication about things that most people misunderstand helps to not only break any stigmas surrounding the BDSM community but also encourages people to question whether what they believe about consent is actually true or maybe there is more to it.
There are also BDSM practitioners who take on the role of educating people on sex, kinks, and consent. Domme Claire has over 200 thousand subscribers, and her account is dedicated to educating people on BDSM and kink. In one of her recent videos, she shares sexy and easy ways to re-establish consent during a scene. This video has close to 1 million views and almost 50 thousand likes, showing mainstream interest in the topic.
Because of the way TikTok’s algorithm work, where the success of the short videos depend on the interest people show in them, the BDSM community has a perfect opportunity to share their knowledge of sexual consent and what it truly means to people who otherwise wouldn’t find the world of BDSM and kink.