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Consent Consciousness: Why Consent is Key in BDSM

importance of consent

Deep trust is a fundamental need to succeed in all types of relationships. This is also true for BDSM. Consent is important in establishing trust and security between BDSM couples.

Consent grows when practicing healthy communication and upholding your partner’s boundaries. This way, each one feels secure and heard in the relationship.

The BDSM community prides itself on its ability to uphold consent consciousness. Before entering the lifestyle, one must completely understand the intricacies of consent – from comfort levels, boundaries to fears.

consent in bdsm couples

A BDSM relationship is a consensual one.

Long-term BDSM couples have always stated that entering the lifestyle takes effort and careful planning. This is because you have to painstakingly discuss which sadomasochistic act each one is “game” in trying, which ones are negotiables, and which ones are hard “passes.”


Even using toys have to be talked about at length. For instance, if partners use a whip, then each one must fully understand the implications of using this toy. Couples must be 100% honest to their partners (and themselves!) if they are open to engaging in said acts or if one is pressured to give in to the pleasures of the other.

Consent in BDSM has several main components. Let’s briefly discuss each one.

Pre-play Discussions

This is the important discussion between BDSM practitioners that takes place before the event. Partners discuss what activities they are open to doing and what are off-limits. These discussions also eliminate anxiety and embarrassment about sex. In essence, pre-play discussions is the first step in establishing consent.

Safe Words

Safe words act to immediately stop the BDSM play when it oversteps the boundaries of BDSM partners. Consent in BDSM means safe words are pre-planned since words like “stop” or “no” may be construed as part of the roleplay.

consent in bdsm safe words


Safe words created must be those that are unlikely to be brought up in BDSM sexual encounters. This way, practitioners can tell that one is withdrawing their consent. One common example of safe words is the use of “red,” “green,” and “yellow” depicting traffic light signals.

Aftercare

Aftercare, in the context of consent in BDSM, is the cool-down period after each sadomasochistic activity. Additionally, this serves as a good venue to discuss the proceedings of the recently ended BDSM play.


It’s an opportunity to talk about things that made you and your partner feel good and which acts made them scared and uncomfortable. This way, all conflicts and negative feelings that may arise from the event can be resolved immediately.


In the BDSM consent perspective, it’s another step towards reinforcing your and your partner’s boundaries. Aftercare also creates a space for self-reflection and examination, for instance, if your boundaries have widened its scope or if a previously enjoyed activity becomes uncomfortable.

consent in bdsm blanket consent

Giving consent is not as simple as saying “yes.” Saying “yes” does not also mean you agree to all terms of the BDSM event.


Blanket consent is a different approach to consent in the BDSM lifestyle. Instead of saying yes to each sexual act, the method changes to using the safe word to stop if things get too crazy.


Take, for instance; the agreed BDSM event is bondage and teasing. If your partner starts to stray away from what was agreed on, you can immediately use your safe word to say no firmly. This is a good practice of blanket consent.

Ultimately, it is like saying, “From this point onwards, I consent to every BDSM act planned on unless I use my safe word to stop it.”

consent in bdsm couple trust

This article can safely conclude that BDSM is not just “whips and chains,” as described by the hit Rihanna song. It consists of lengthy discussions, meticulous planning, trust, and respect.

BDSM is both giving up control and being in control over your partner. Such dynamics require deep trust and strong respect for the power of consent. Perhaps this dynamic is why the idea of BDSM makes it even more erotic and dangerous.

A piece of advice: before jumping headfirst into the BDSM lifestyle, one must learn about BDSM as a whole and not just what’s portrayed in popular media. (Looking at you, Fifty Shades!) The Foxtail App Blog has a number of informative but fun articles on BDSM that will help you soak up some much-needed knowledge. Get comfy and read up!

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