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Saturday, January 19, 2013

SL Letter of the Day: All the Red Flags

Posted by on Sat, Jan 19, 2013 at 10:13 AM

Originally published November 27, 2008:

I am a 28-year-old woman who has been with my boyfriend for two years. I would call it a stable, fulfilling, and kinky relationship. I consider myself GGG, and every time my boyfriend has brought up a kink or variation, I've been willing to try it. Some things became a permanent part in our play, others have gone into the "tried that, didn't like it" pile without any problems.

Recently, though, there has been a problem.

Eight years ago, I was raped. I have had counseling, but I am still sometimes troubled by nightmares and flashbacks. My boyfriend knows this. Lately, though, he has expressed a desire to explore rape scenarios. His ideal setup would be to obtain my consent in advance, then, sometime when the mood struck him, he would "attack" and take me, and I couldn't say no or use a safe word. Once the "rape" started, he could do whatever he wanted, and I would not be able to stop it.

I don't think I can do this, not without sending me into flashbacks. I told him that and, as this is the only time I have flat-out refused to even try one of his ideas, I hoped that would be the end of it. It hasn't been. He has been pressing it more and more, and there have been times when I've had to leave the apartment, I've felt so threatened. I've told him that if he keeps pressuring me like this, I will end the relationship. He's told me that by threatening to leave him, I'm manipulating him, and that I have no regard for his needs. But I just can't let him rape me, even in play. Am I really being out of line for not giving in to him on this issue and telling him that continued pressure for this would end our relationship?

Needs Her Boundaries

Dump the motherfucker already.

Someone who has experienced a shattering sexual trauma—rape, abuse, a world-class betrayal—has to make a good-faith effort to put the pieces back together again before entering into a new sexual and/or romantic relationship. We all have a right to expect emotional support from our partners, but our partners have a right to expect that we will be able to meet their reasonable sexual needs.

You did all the right things after you were raped, NHB. You got counseling, you got yourself together, and you entered this new relationship ready to be sexual and more than capable of meeting your partner's reasonable sexual needs. You are, however, suffering from some common aftereffects of sexual trauma—nightmares, flashbacks—that you do not have to apologize for and that he has to be considerate of.

And considering your history—and considering that your boyfriend knew about your history going into this relationship—ruling out rape play is perfectly reasonable on your part and should have been expected on his. Had this conflict ended with your refusal—even if it elicited a little sulking and douchebaggery on your boyfriend's part—I wouldn't be telling you to DTMFA. This rises to the level of DTMFA for two reasons.

First, no safe word? Unreasonable. No way for you to call a stop to it? What if he decides to rape you when you have the flu? Or when your parents are in the next room? What if your fucking appendix bursts in the middle of this "scene"? While some rape victims—excuse me: survivors—develop rape fantasies, those fantasies are paradoxically about control; the "victim" in a fantasy rape scenario gets to pick her "rapist," decides the hour and circumstances, and can call a halt to it at any time. A rape role-play scenario you can't stop when you decide you're done isn't just a rape role-play scenario. It's potentially rape. Just say no.

Second, the pressure. Stitch together all the red flags in China and you won't have one as large the one your boyfriend has raised. He's pressuring you to consent to sex that he knows is highly likely to leave you feeling traumatized. His unwillingness to drop this, NHB, suggests a desire on his part to traumatize you for real, not for pretend. And if you're already leaving the house because you feel unsafe, I would suggest that he's already succeeded in traumatizing you.

You thought this was "a stable, fulfilling, and kinky relationship," NHB. You were mistaken. DTMFA.


Comments (58) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
Seems to me that sex is something that gets decadent if it's too regular. People always want more and then it turns bizarre. Maybe another solution is to simply stop and cool down for a while and focus on things know...talking and taking day trips..
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on January 19, 2013 at 10:22 AM · Report this
seatackled 2
DTMFA, and when you move out, get help from several large male friends and acquaintances, perhaps the boyfriends and husbands of female friends.
Posted by seatackled on January 19, 2013 at 10:30 AM · Report this
No safe word and you get no say in what he can or cannot do to you? I agree with Dan; that's not a rape scenario; that's actual rape. DTMFA.
Posted by One Breath on January 19, 2013 at 10:32 AM · Report this
I was expecting the first line of the response, and was not disappointed. There's no way that this is (or hopefully was) a healthy relationship.
Posted by DarthKelly on January 19, 2013 at 10:53 AM · Report this
He's told me that by threatening to leave him, I'm manipulating him, and that I have no regard for his needs.


Why does he *need* to rape her? Knowing her history. Why does he need to have her relive the most terrifying moments of her life? Without a safe word to fall back on? To top it off he wants her it legally would not be rape.

Talk about manipulative.
Posted by wendysmom on January 19, 2013 at 10:55 AM · Report this
DTMFA, and if (under threat of losing you) he suddenly agrees to use a safe word, don't believe him. He doesn't sound likely to respect its use mid 'scenario'.
Posted by be careful out there on January 19, 2013 at 10:58 AM · Report this
TVDinner 7
Yeah, him claiming that she's manipulating him is terrifying. That is some varsity-level psychological abuse of the table-turning variety.

The thing about abusers is they're regular people most of the time, so you think, "Hey, 90% of the time s/he is the person of my dreams. Maybe the 10% of the time I'm ill-at-ease in this relationship is the price I have to pay for the 90% of awesomeness."

It's not. You deserve to be in a relationship with someone who drives you crazy because he puts dirty dishes on the counter instead of the dishwasher, not because he makes you feel unsafe.

Get out now. It will never get better.
Posted by TVDinner http:// on January 19, 2013 at 11:08 AM · Report this
DTMFA is too kind a term for this person. It usually applies to the ordinary kind of inconsiderate, uncaring individuals. Some of them might even learn from being dumped. This guy is in a whole different class.
Posted by DRF on January 19, 2013 at 11:10 AM · Report this
Looking For a Better Read 9


*(Kick Him In The Balls And Then DTMFA)
Posted by Looking For a Better Read on January 19, 2013 at 11:20 AM · Report this
A+ advice, Dan, and thank you for pointing out the ENORMOUS problem with the lack of safe words. Safe words are necessary and important, particularly for varsity-level sex. Asking her to relive a trauma--could be okay, in the context of a long and loving relationship. Persisting with asking despite getting a refusal--kind of shitty. Persisting with asking and demanding a total lack of safe word--get out of my bed. And honestly, if she managed to talk him down to including a safe word, it seems like he might be the kind of guy who might just ignore it in the scene. And that is actual rape, not rape-play.
Posted by hazakaza on January 19, 2013 at 11:33 AM · Report this
Alanmt 11
Wow. I hope she dumped him four years ago when Dan first gave her this advice. Dude's a monster. No safe words? wtf?
Posted by Alanmt on January 19, 2013 at 12:01 PM · Report this
@11..Ha! Didn't even catch it, but there it is in bold font.

(blushes a bit) :)
Posted by wendysmom on January 19, 2013 at 12:13 PM · Report this
Doctor Memory 13
Fucking hell, I swear this dude dated an ex of mine. (NHB: are you in NYC? Is his name Richard? I seriously would not be surprised here.) DTMFA and then change your cell phone number, because it's even money he goes stalker on you.
Posted by Doctor Memory on January 19, 2013 at 12:18 PM · Report this
You people need better hobbies...
Posted by Sugartit on January 19, 2013 at 12:33 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 15
I understand the need to rerun letters when Dan's too busy with other things to answer current ones. But I don't understand SLLOTD readers who respond to the writers of these years-old letters as though they were sent in to Dan just this morning. The situation has been long resolved, one way or the other.
Posted by Matt from Denver on January 19, 2013 at 12:40 PM · Report this
"He's told me that by threatening to leave him, I'm manipulating him."

So you are never allowed to leave him, by his rules. Talk about red flags formed of red flags. When you dump someone, you are not required to worry about their need to not let you dump them.

And no one should need to brandish the "rape victim with flashbacks" card to get out of a "no safe word, no choice about what happens" scenario. Non rape-victims are allowed to say "Oh hells no" to that one. And promptly dump any partner who brings it up a second time while explaining that his (or her) needs are not being met if you threaten to leave.
Posted by IPJ on January 19, 2013 at 12:48 PM · Report this
I remember when this letter first ran - I wish there was a way to know if the writer took the advice. I certainly hope so, and that she is now in a far more fulfilling relationship with someone who's not a manipulative psycho.
Posted by genevieve on January 19, 2013 at 12:48 PM · Report this
@15, until I read your comment, I hadn't noticed the date at the top of the letter and was about to chime in myself. I suspect most people commenting probably have overlooked the "originally published" bit and don't realize this is an old letter.

This does make me think, as I often do, that I would like to know what happened in the end with the writers. I hope this woman got out safely.
Posted by Lynx on January 19, 2013 at 12:52 PM · Report this
Doctor Memory 19
@15: oops, didn't realize that this was another re-run. (Dan had made a big deal out of coming back to doing these 'live' now that the book was finished, so I wasn't looking.) Oh well, hope NHB made it out.
Posted by Doctor Memory on January 19, 2013 at 12:56 PM · Report this
@15: Because either now or at some point in the future, someone in a similar situation is going to come across this column. Maybe another rape survivor whose partner is pushing for rape play; or incest play for someone who assaulted by a relative; or breath control play for someone who has (been) choked or almost drowned. Yes, the original writer has presumably moved on, but there is still value in the support given by the readers, reinforcing the idea that NO, you do NOT have to agree to be traumatized by your partner; that YES they are being unreasonable by not taking no for an answer; NO, you do not have to put up with that behavior; and YES you are doing the right thing by doing what you need to to feel safe, including DTMFA!
Posted by kdorian on January 19, 2013 at 1:01 PM · Report this
ShifterCat 21
Even if she hadn't previously been assaulted, it's still a horrendous idea.
Posted by ShifterCat on January 19, 2013 at 1:04 PM · Report this
Canadian Nurse 22
@19: It looks like the weekday ones are fresh, but the weekend ones are reruns.

My new habit is checking the original posts to see if any current regulars commented, and then waiting to see if they comment again, and whether they say the same thing.
Posted by Canadian Nurse on January 19, 2013 at 1:09 PM · Report this
Ophian 23
"He's told me that by threatening to leave him, I'm manipulating him, and that I have no regard for his needs."

Exactly. The LW is not meeting his need to disregard her needs. If she keeps that shit up, she'll probably stop tolerating intolerance.
Posted by Ophian on January 19, 2013 at 2:02 PM · Report this
Tell him you'll do it but after you reenact your Lorena Bobbit fantasy on him. Your bf is an uberdouche.
Posted by Ptyghm on January 19, 2013 at 2:19 PM · Report this
Ophian 25
@24, Ha.
Posted by Ophian on January 19, 2013 at 2:24 PM · Report this
lizlemon 26
This shouldn't even be a question. GET OUT NOW.
Posted by lizlemon on January 19, 2013 at 2:34 PM · Report this
The Max 27
I wonder if this was the letter that made that idiot instructor a few days back think Dano's relationship to rape is anything other than thoroughly mainstream and humane. I can see how a warped imagination (or Tony Perkins) could twist this around to that.
Posted by The Max on January 19, 2013 at 2:42 PM · Report this
@15 I think it would still legally be rape, though you're probably right that the boyfriend would argue it wasn't. Consent can be withdrawn, and if the other person continues to force sex then it is rape. I don't think you can legally take away the right of refusal from your future self even if you want to.

Christ, I REALLY hope this woman got out of there. What a nightmare.
Posted by 14thblackbird on January 19, 2013 at 2:58 PM · Report this
TVDinner 29
@15: 'Cause we missed the dates and lost the interwebs for the day. Play a sad trombone for me.
Posted by TVDinner http:// on January 19, 2013 at 3:57 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 30
@ 20, that doesn't make any sense.

@ 29, wah waaaaaaaah.
Posted by Matt from Denver on January 19, 2013 at 5:59 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 31
@ everyone else (who didn't notice that this was a rerun), since enough of you missed that, I guess it was easy to overlook.
Posted by Matt from Denver on January 19, 2013 at 6:02 PM · Report this
yucca flower 32
Sweet Zombie Jeebus! I hope Needs Her Boundaries didn't so much as DTMFA as "run the eff out the door and get a restraining order already"!
Posted by yucca flower on January 19, 2013 at 10:57 PM · Report this
Indy 33
There is literally no situation where it is acceptable for there to be "no safe word".
Posted by Indy on January 20, 2013 at 12:39 AM · Report this
If you don't get to say no or use a safeword in order to get him to stop raping you, then he doesn't get to say no or use a safeword when you take the scenario to its logical conclusion by flashing back, freaking out, and stabbing him in his sleep seventeen times, or inviting five of your biggest, strongest friends to come over, hold him down and beat him to death with one of his own kitchen chairs for raping their friend. Ask him if that sounds like a fair deal?

And by the way, it doesn't matter whether you were raped in the past or not. If he doesn't want to respect your safety boundaries, then he WILL find out what happens when shit gets real. Far better for all concerned that the way shit gets real is that he gets unceremoniously dumped for being a dick, than that things go further, quite possibly catastrophically for everyone.
Posted by avast2006 on January 20, 2013 at 12:45 AM · Report this
"He's told me that by threatening to leave him, I'm manipulating him, "

The correct response to that tactic is, "Well, you are right; we certainly can't have me manipulating you with -threats- of leaving, because that means either way, ONE of us is going to be staying in the relationship while not getting what they need. If getting out of the relationship is what I need in order to feel safe, I guess I had better just do it and be done. So...there's the door. We are through."
Posted by avast2006 on January 20, 2013 at 1:21 AM · Report this
nocutename 36
The thing that bothers me most about this letter is the way the woman is trying so hard to justify her not being able to accommodate him, especially in light that he bullies and pressures her constantly, and there's nothing in the letter to indicate that he routinely tries to please her or accommodate her desires or needs. She is apologetic for being unable to go through with what sounds like an extremely traumatic experience.

She is writing to ask if she's "out of line" for not being willing to let herself be raped!

No doubt there are men out there that feel/behave this way, but from here it looks like yet another case of a woman who has been socialized to defer to her man in all ways, to put the "relationship" before her own needs, even, in this case, at the cost of her own emotional and physical well-being. I cannot imagine a man writing an equivalent letter.

Some of these SLLOTDs are old and some recent. While I wish Dan would do more to tip off readers (perhaps he could introduce the letter in some way), I think that a letter like this might reach a woman in an equally unhealthy relationship who didn't write in but recognizes something of herself and her relationship in it, so it is valuable to run.
Posted by nocutename on January 20, 2013 at 8:11 AM · Report this
@36: "I cannot imagine a man writing an equivalent letter."

Imagine it. I had a girlfriend who did the same thing. Though it wasn't about rape scenarios, it was still definitely about using sophistry to get me to acquiesce to a situation that made me very uncomfortable and unhappy (she basically called herself poly while I was mono -- though it turned out she was really just a user taking out her issues over her husband leaving her on a succession of naive younger men), and making me the bad guy for daring to have boundaries.

Narcissistic, selfish assholes who indulge in sophistry as a way of trying to get their own way come in all stripes; and wanting to please your partner and preserve the relationship if possible is not a matter of patriarchal conditioning, it's what decent human beings do for each other. We even try to please people we meet on the street, let alone trying to accommodate our partners -- hell, it's the basis of being GGG.

Unfortunately, sociopaths know this about basic human decency -- that your fundamental reluctance to be seen as the bad guy is their ticket to push for unreasonable things, and they manipulate that reluctance to get you to agree in defiance of sanity. The term is "gaslighting." While female social conditioning is a valid concern in general, there is plenty of evidence of this guy arguing rings around his partner (his victim), more than sufficient to explain her reaction in this case. The fact that she herself "flat-out refused to even try" and she's the one who brought up leaving him indicates she isn't simply deferring to him in all things. But he used crazy arguments to counter that, to the point where she is asking Dan, "Am I crazy, or is he?"
Posted by avast2006 on January 20, 2013 at 10:52 AM · Report this
@33 "There is literally no situation where it is acceptable for there to be no safeword."

There are millions of situations with no safeword. Sky-diving. Giving birth. Surgery. Any kind of scene that is incredibly emotionally powerful for both people.

And more to your point, it is totally acceptable for a person bottoming to say, "I need a no-safeword scene. I want to have an experience beyond what I can tolerate in the moment. Tie me up, gag me, and trust me that I will accept whatever happens and not blame you." If that trust isn't there yet, then the top shouldn't agree, but are you telling me you can't even imagine a situation where that trust does exist and will not be betrayed?

Posted by EricaP on January 20, 2013 at 11:47 AM · Report this

No, I can't imagine that kind of trust. Because I have never felt the need nor the urge to give up my physical autonomy to that extent, and I can't imagine ever feeling that need.
Posted by migrationist on January 20, 2013 at 12:13 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 40
@ 38, I can only imagine such a trust coupled with a naive belief that nothing can go wrong. I can't imagine that a sexual situation is simply always going to work out, without any unforeseen unpleasant developments. Communication is always key, and a bottom will always need a way to let the top know that something's going wrong.
Posted by Matt from Denver on January 20, 2013 at 1:40 PM · Report this
@39/40, what about trusting a surgeon? Does the patient always need a way to communicate to the surgeon that something's going wrong? No, the patient agrees to undergo anesthesia, thus preventing any way to safeword. And, yes, sometimes things go wrong. Usually, the patient deals with it, but sometimes the patient feels the surgeon did something egregiously wrong. After the fact, the patient can complain or sue, but during the operation, the patient has no recourse. Is that absurdly naive of the patient?
Posted by EricaP on January 20, 2013 at 2:51 PM · Report this
For the record, I've done no-safeword scenes where I screamed bloody murder into my gag and would have liked to be able to end the scene. Afterwards, it was exhilarating to look back on the scene, and I'm happy I did it. I wasn't permanently harmed, and physically it wasn't as rough as child-birth (another scene I would have safeworded out of if there were a way).
Posted by EricaP on January 20, 2013 at 2:54 PM · Report this
Even tied up and gagged, you should have a safe action that can indicate a problem. No matter how much you trust somebody, a problem can arise. Have you never had any medical issues come up during sex? I mean, a minor one is more likely than a major one, but you need some way to indicate that something has gone wrong and needs attention. You can't predict when such a thing will happen. No way to indicate a problem just is a bad idea.
Posted by uncreative on January 20, 2013 at 2:55 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 44
@ 41, we're talking about sex, and only sex. If you're having sex with a surgeon while he or she is cutting you, yeah, you're going to need a safe word.

Regarding your experience @ 42... keep in mind that Indy @ 33 was reacting to the letter, in which it was apparent that the LW's level of trust in her boyfriend wasn't anywhere close to such a level of trust as you probably enjoyed with your partner. Personally, I can't shake the feeling that you would have been better off with it, regardless of how exhilarating you found it. But hey, it's your sex life, so that shouldn't matter. Just be careful about advising others that they should try it for themselves. It's possible that such talk contributed to the LW's feelings of confusion regarding her boyfriend's demands.
Posted by Matt from Denver on January 20, 2013 at 3:37 PM · Report this
@43 -- I agree that being able to communicate unexpected issues is a good idea. And it doesn't have to interfere with the no-safeword scene as long as it's the dom's judgment to continue or end the scene. That said, a no-safeword, no-communication sensory deprivation scene could both fairly safe and very intense. (Where fairly safe = more safe than driving on the highway.)

@44 -- It's silly to suggest a sub asking politely for a no-safeword scene is like a dom pushing a no-safeword scene on a reluctant sub.

That's like saying that someone who wants to try sky-diving (and understands that there's no safeword, and they can't end the jump halfway through) is contributing to plane hijackers tossing random victims out of the plane without parachutes.

Posted by EricaP on January 20, 2013 at 6:54 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 46
@ 44, what's silly is speaking of safe words outside of sex. You're failing to draw valid comparisons.

Now, perhaps @33 failed to consider what an experienced couple like you and your partner came up with. Your situation is a valid exception to an otherwise very necessary rule. But childbirth isn't sex, nor is skydiving, nor is surgery.
Posted by Matt from Denver on January 20, 2013 at 7:36 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 47
Make that @45
Posted by Matt from Denver on January 20, 2013 at 7:37 PM · Report this
Safewords just offer the illusion of control, allowing people to enjoy screaming "no, stop," while believing that if they say "safeword," the scene will stop.

But safewords aren't magic. Assholes sometimes ignore a safeword, or pretend not to hear it. Yelling "you better kill me now or I'll be calling the police as soon as I get out of here" is an even better safeword in that case. Unless you happen to have stumbled on a psychopath, who does kill you.

Or, if your dom collapses while you're tied up, you can't safeword out of that. Or, if you have a heart attack, you may not be able to safeword. Safewords are a useful tool, but they're not the only way to communicate. And they are never a substitute for common sense.

Posted by EricaP on January 20, 2013 at 10:57 PM · Report this
sissoucat 49
@37 I entirely agree.

One curious thing about manipulators is that, although one may think they are so clever to have found out about how to effectively guilt-trip others into doing their every wishes, they really are not very adaptative creatures.

If one of their previous victims gets educated about what manipulation is, and trains to un-earth it right away, they can't adapt to the idea that it's not working anymore. They try and try and push the same behaviour, even once it's stopped being effective.

Case in point : the ex-husband (I'm divorced at last !). His tricks don't work on me anymore, but he seems to be unable to change how he's dealing with me (we have children).

Some manipulative people have had to learn, from their disfunctional family, an alternative way of behaving, to ensure their basic needs were met through childhood. They use this narrow set of tricks on everybody in sight. The ones that fall for them, they use and abuse.

But they are not superior creatures able to find anyone's frailties and to turn anybody into jelly. They're pretty rigid in how they work, actually. Charm. Learn a tremendous lot about victim. Try pushing one single button. If backlash, retreat without apologizing, but start again later if not dumped right away. Escalate. Add entitlement, and grandiose descriptions of their own selves, and projecting their own behavior onto their partners (you're manipulating me !) - and that's all they're able of, really. That and violence.
Posted by sissoucat on January 21, 2013 at 2:13 AM · Report this
@45: " It's silly to suggest a sub asking politely for a no-safeword scene is like a dom pushing a no-safeword scene on a reluctant sub."

I entirely agree. It is silly. As far as I can see, they are so different, I don't understand why you even bring up the former when discussing the current letter, which is an instance of the latter.

Asking for your top to ignore the idea of a safeword scene is basically fictional. You are still aware that the person has a responsibility to not go too far, lest they face consequences afterwards. If he accidentally drowns you during a waterboarding game, he WILL be talking to the police. At a lesser degree, if he genuinely abuses you far beyond your actual tolerances, the consequence is that you may freak out and exact revenge in kind, or at very least refuse to ever play again. Even in the specific absence of a safeword, you are placing trust in -- and responsibility on -- that person to only create the illusion of going too far, but in actuality pay very close attention to your tolerances and not exceed them.

Posted by avast2006 on January 21, 2013 at 11:19 AM · Report this
@48: Safewords are not an illusion, they are a contract. If the person ignores your safeword when you invoke it, they have broken the contract, and it's no longer a game, but an instance of the real thing. In the case of the letter, that would be an instance of actual rape. At that point, they are an actual criminal, and deserve actual consequences.
Posted by avast2006 on January 21, 2013 at 11:32 AM · Report this
@avast, I only brought up the "sub asking politely for a no-safeword scene" in response to @33 who claimed:
>>There is literally no situation where it is acceptable for there to be "no safe word".>>

Since I was, at the very instant I read those words, in a situation with no safeword, and I thought every other reader probably was too, I just couldn't stand to let the "literally no situation" go without comment. Chalk it up to my frustration with people misusing the word "literally" if you like.

Re your comment @51, if you haven't negotiated about safewords, then your "no" operates the same way as a safeword. The only change a safeword brings is the ability to scream "NO!" in lusty delight.

"No safeword" scenes are different because you specifically promise not to blame them for ignoring your requests -- "no matter what I say, you don't have to stop. Stop when you want to, not when I want you to." That said, common sense still applies. If you scream 'Fire!' during a no-safeword scene, I would expect the dom to stop and check for smoke or flames.
Posted by EricaP on January 21, 2013 at 2:07 PM · Report this
OutInBumF 53
What's so awful having re-run SLLOTD's on weekends (where there used to be none), with fresh ones during the week? I'd rather rehash an old SLLOTD than do without for 2 days.
It's still fun to comment, even if the original LW is long gone for our expert advice.
Posted by OutInBumF on January 21, 2013 at 4:55 PM · Report this
@Erica, 52: You still haven't proved your point. If anything, your most recent comments support mine.

There are three basic levels of safeword:

1) In the absence of negotiations, all the standard words have the same function as a specific safeword, including anything along the lines of "No," "Stop," "I don't like that" or "Ouch, dammit, wtf?!" That's not "no safeword" it's "lots of safewords."
2) When a specific safeword is negotiated you are waiving the usual ones so that you can use them dramatically during playtime; but there is one specific word that means everything comes to a screeching halt.
3) When you negotiate for there to be officially no safeword, there are still a few that simply can't be ignored, like "Fire!" Also, there MUST be some sort of signal along the lines of "The ropes have slipped and I'm strangling for real" whereupon all action stops instantly lest you suffer severe injury or death. There is no situation where it would be appropriate to forgo (or ignore) either of those.

And again there is a presumed level of restraint on the part of the top. There is an implicit trust that he isn't going to take things beyond where you can handle it, or you don't get involved in the first place. I honestly don't believe that you have ever gotten into a scene fully expecting that he just might cut off your arms and legs with a chainsaw, and that's okay with you, you promise not to prosecute.

None of the above genuinely equates to No Safeword. It is at most a dramatic convention.

Finally, all of the above has no bearing on the situation of the letter writer, where one person explicitly wants to set personal safety boundaries and the other person explicitly wants to ignore them. There is absolutely no situation where _that_ behavior would be appropriate.

So, all things considered, in my opinion #33 has the right of it.

(I hope Letter Writer dumped him hard and fast, and told their social circle the reason why. He sounds like a sociopath.)
Posted by avast2006 on January 21, 2013 at 5:47 PM · Report this
Are you saying there is always a safeword, and it takes the form of common sense? As a metaphorical statement, I can agree with that.
Posted by EricaP on January 21, 2013 at 6:18 PM · Report this
Well, there always _needs_ to be one. I'm not saying everyone always operates as if there is one. I think you and I are in agreement on that point as well. Sometimes assholes ignore the safeword(s) at whatever level is in force at the time. And when they do that, it's always inappropriate.
Posted by avast2006 on January 21, 2013 at 10:12 PM · Report this
How many times is he gonna recycle an old rape, anyway?
Posted by Mister G on January 22, 2013 at 12:43 AM · Report this
watchout5 58
No safe word? End of this. You want to explore kink with me? At a bare minimum we're going to have one safe word. No room for compromise on that one. You're way better than whatever someone like that would think about you. No fantasy is worth unwanted sexual attention and/or advances, even if I was into that kind of thing.
Posted by watchout5 on January 23, 2013 at 5:04 AM · Report this

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