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Consent is not the be-all and end-all

(335 Posts)
MagicMix Fri 18-Jan-19 11:14:06

Following on from the thread about the impact of porn and other threads about the implausibility of consent to brutal practices.

The focus on sexual consent in feminism in recent years has been positive to a certain extent but I think we have lost nuance when we consider consent to be the key to sexual ethics.

Consent is not a green light for whatever you want, it is the bare minimum. Sex without consent is obviously very wrong (rape or sexual assault). And most feminists have at least some understanding that coerced consent is a problem and does not equate to true consent, although some seem unable to understand that paying someone is clear-cut coercion.

But we have to go further. Consent does not make everything all right. There are some things that can never be all right and the anti-kink-shaming 'sex-positive' thinking that refuses to condemn anything as long as someone is getting sexually aroused by it has led us down some very dark paths.

If you can stomach it, here is an article about a woman who claims to be sexually aroused by being waterboarded.
www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-features/waterboarding-kink-sex-bdsm-torture-779066/
Now I don't believe her and my personal opinion is that the M is BDSM is a form of self-harm, but really that is not the main point. The point is, somebody did that to her because she asked for it. People are quite literally torturing other people in the pursuit of sexual pleasure and we are expected to be non-judgmental.

The point is that the S in BDSM is sick and wrong. It was said on the other thread that we need to bring back kink shaming. Yes a thousand times. They can call me a prude, frigid, accuse me of being in a moral panic, I don't care. If someone gets sexual pleasure from hurting people, torturing people, acting out scenarios that put them in the role of rapist or slave-owner, I think that person has an unhealthy, dangerous sexuality and should seek help. It should not be accepted uncritically as harmless just because there was consent.

VickyEadie Fri 18-Jan-19 11:18:22

The point is that the S in BDSM is sick and wrong. It was said on the other thread that we need to bring back kink shaming. Yes a thousand times. They can call me a prude, frigid, accuse me of being in a moral panic, I don't care. If someone gets sexual pleasure from hurting people, torturing people, acting out scenarios that put them in the role of rapist or slave-owner, I think that person has an unhealthy, dangerous sexuality and should seek help. It should not be accepted uncritically as harmless just because there was consent.

AGREE.

PaleBlueMoonlight Fri 18-Jan-19 11:21:29

Couldn’t agree more.

Badstyley Fri 18-Jan-19 11:43:11

Any sexual act that might conclude in someone getting injured or where it’s advisable to have a legal agreement just sounds fucked up. I’m sorry to say, but if someone has got to the point where they can’t get sufficient arousal and satisfaction out of safe, non violent sexual acts then they need help, not encouragement. Also, for me, f someone has got to that point then I wouldn’t consider them capable of informed consent anyway. Nobody can consent to be brutalised, tortured and injured, and nobody should be doing that to another person full stop.

I’ll switch it around, someone who cuts them self who says they get a buzz or a release from it, that is not encouraged, in fact one could expect MH intervention, so why is it acceptable to do it to another person, or ask that someone else does it for you?

Nowadays it seems that if sexual pleasure is the motivation then anything goes, even when by any other measure or in any other situation it would be viewed as a serious problem.

SonicVersusGynaephobia Fri 18-Jan-19 11:50:03

Agree. I honestly don't understand how we've got here. How did it become OK to harm and injure someone. I don't understand how this happened. When did sex stop being about having fun and making the two people involved feel pleasure? Even when I was at school and University, this was still the point of sex. I am early 30s so that wasn't that long ago and I don't know how or why it seems to have changed to something so unrecognisable so quickly.

SharkBastard Fri 18-Jan-19 11:55:49

Any sexual pleasure that stems from trauma, humiliation, or bodily damage should not be celebrated. Bring back Kink Shaming for sure

MagicMix Fri 18-Jan-19 11:56:35

I'm also early 30s and I know men my age and a bit older (publicly genial, mild-mannered men) who openly claim the identity of sexual sadist (or dom as they would say). And they want it accepted as a sexual orientation and added on to LGBTQWERTY. Of course they are also 'feminists', even though they love hurting women. For all their talk of consent, I regard them as potentially dangerous men (more so than a random average man, I mean) and would never willingly be alone with them.

N.B. If anyone was thinking of saying it or a lurker was thinking it, no I don't think it is OK for women to be sexual sadists either.

RiverTam Fri 18-Jan-19 11:58:52

yes, I agree and I don't care how much of a boring prude that means I am.

I refuse to tolerate the intolerable.

Oxytocindeficient Fri 18-Jan-19 12:03:19

I believe people who say they like to be tortured etc have deep psychological issues. They’re vulnerable people. We are meant to have protections and support for people who are like this, and penalties for those that take advantage.

Eatmycheese Fri 18-Jan-19 12:34:45

Consent isn't the be all and end all........

I actually think the requirement to prove consent is the singularly most damaging concept judicially or culturally for a modern, civilised society. I believe it sends out a message that subconsciously reinforces many of the messages that persistently damage women and make us more vulnerable and disrespected..

I refuse to accept that there are more - if this - a tiny number of individuals who would maliciously pursue allegations of rape or sexual assault given how skewed the process is against victims. It is my own personal view that by being required to prove consent; far from safeguarding the right to say no, it actually, imperils it. It is my view that the woeful prosecution never mind conviction rates are largely because of consent. This is compounded by the defence of reasonable belief.

A victim has to show they didn't do something. How impossible is that? Almost completely.

Sorry a little off topic perhaps but I just wanted to share my on thoughts.

AntiSocialInjusticePacifist Fri 18-Jan-19 13:23:05

I’ve read a lot on here about the notion of enthusiastic participation being a better bar than just consent. Extending that a little bit seeing as we put a rape victims sexual history under the microscope could we not examine the sexual history of the defendant?

Asking questions like are they actually capable of pleasing a woman sexually? Bear with me here if a man can’t produce at least a few sexual partners who could report actually enjoying sex with them surely that would count against them?

Furthermore there is such a focus on the mechanical act of piv as opposed to actual pleasure I think we’ve gotten a bit lost. In my experience women are more likely to climax from other things.

I think we need to move to a point where we stop thinking of piv as the be all and end all of all sexual encounters. Sure it’s nice, but so many other things are nice too.

If you turn it on it’s head it’s quite closed minded and prudish to ONLY consider dimensions of sex that include piv. I think the opening up of our collective sexual horizons instead of following the let’s face it badly written porn scripts would do us all a lot of good.

theresaspiderinthesink Fri 18-Jan-19 13:39:44

Agree.

Previous thread for info:

Horrendous consequence of current porn trends http://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/womens_rights/3481254-horrendous-consequence-of-current-porn-trends

MagicMix Fri 18-Jan-19 13:47:51

No, enthusiastic participation has the same problems as consent because it's basically the same thing. If you enthusiastically participate in being beaten, for example by loudly vocalising about how much you're enjoying it and encouraging the person beating you, in my opinion that still doesn't mean it was OK to beat you.

I am saying that we need to separate the ethics of sexual practices from the idea of consent or enthusiastic participation entirely. These conditions are necessary, but they are not enough in the absence of other conditions.

I don't care whether people want to have PIV sex or any kind of other sex, as long as it is based on the principles of mutual pleasure and mutual respect and not on inflicting pain or humiliation. The wider conversation about equating sex with heterosexual penetrative intercourse is interesting but not really at all what I was talking about. Calling people who just want to have basic PIV sex prudish and close minded is exactly how we got into this horrible mess in the first place.

theresaspiderinthesink Fri 18-Jan-19 13:52:32

Calling people who just want to have basic PIV sex prudish and close minded is exactly how we got into this horrible mess in the first place.

Yep.

MagicMix Fri 18-Jan-19 14:06:09

And, AntiSocialInjusticePacifist, god if only porn featured only mechanical, 'boring' PIV. The jack-hammering style you usually see is certainly bad enough and definitely doesn't look pleasurable from a female perspective, but hardly any pornography is this tame these days. In reality it's the broad, horrifying sexual horizons of porn, always seeking novelty and new extremes, that have led us to a place where more than one man is trying to have anal sex with a woman at once and that's somehow OK because she apparently consented.

arranbubonicplague Fri 18-Jan-19 14:17:33

How did it become OK to harm and injure someone. I don't understand how this happened.

It's got an extensive history, it seems (I haven't seen it but the History Channel has an informative History of Sex that covers the topic). Some of the scandals in early Hollywood involved the death of women caused by men acting in a way that harmed/injured them. Weimar Germany is associated with the more explicit mainstreaming of fetish culture. In the 1930s American Fetish culture also gained a foothold that is later associated with the BDSM imagery incorporated into photography and film in the 1960s.

Possibly easier access to visual materials and the ability to share them has normalised something that used to be covert except for specific clubs and communities? And it seems that there have been some distinctive crossovers with subcultures that have influenced developments in BDSM.

Altho' there have been some social structures that have had sub-cultures, I have no idea whether or not there have been sustained, large-scale societies where the actions have entered the mainstream.

Oldermum156 Fri 18-Jan-19 14:41:57

Apparently choking during sex is the newest and latest fad and if you aren't into it you are a prude. Choking can literally kill you. Call me a prude.

MustBeDreaming Fri 18-Jan-19 14:58:53

After a lifetime of being fat shamed and always getting the urge to defiantly eat more cake if someone comments on me daring to have some, I'm not sure that kink shaming is necessarily something that would work well on everyone.

Purplewithgreenspots Fri 18-Jan-19 15:02:38

Actually, I found the ‘cup of tea’ analogy to be beyond useless. It gave me hope that saying no before you finished the metaphorical cup of tea was accepted as a reason that a man should stop.

Badstyley Fri 18-Jan-19 15:15:43

I note the insult of something being ‘vanilla’ has permeated into every day discourse. I was listening to BBC 6music yesterday evening and a woman described a record as being ‘a bit vanilla.’ She went on to clarify that she meant it was a bit bland and uninteresting. It got my hackles right up. Why bring sexualised terminology like that onto a drivetime radio show?

Why is sex where nobody gets hurt or humiliated now being widely used as a pejorative?

userschmoozer Fri 18-Jan-19 15:17:51

Vanilla shaming is used enthusiastically by the same people who complain about kink shaming. Their motives have nothing to do with acceptance.
Bullies like to dominate, and part of that includes spelling out what behaviour they expect and enforcing compliance.

Lichtie Fri 18-Jan-19 17:31:47

Badstyley.. Isn't the term vanilla as an adjective commonly used not just in relation to sex. It's not really sexualised terminology.

EJennings Fri 18-Jan-19 17:39:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

EJennings Fri 18-Jan-19 17:40:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

adultFemaleElf Fri 18-Jan-19 17:51:09

Vanilla is used as a generic term for something standard, it’s definitely not just for describing sex. In fact I’ve never heard it used in that context until recent MN threads.
Check out any financial derivatives textbook and you’ll see terms like ”vanilla options” - it’s been used for decades in that regard.

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