- How do you negotiate the consent and boundaries of 'safe, sane, and consensual' with your partner?
Like an increasing number of my fellow travelers, I do not believe in safe kink. I would go so far as to say that the mere idea of safety partially compromises the allure, efficacy and possibilities for discovery in kink. One of the fundamental notions that is therefore understood from the very beginning of any interaction is that what another person and I are proposing to participate in with one another is inherently unsafe; let us not labor under any delusions to the contrary. If we're having this type of conversation in the first place, plain-spoken acknowledgments of danger lurking among our intentions usually ups the excitement level that much more.
The word "sane" I consider a bromide and a palliative, and as an truthful assertion pertaining to anything to do with BDSM ascertainable only a posteriori. In fact, if someone feels compelled to assert to me their sanity, said sanity is thereby immediately suspect in my book.
Consent is perhaps the only term I consider meaningful of the three above. Consent emerges not from anything like a call-and-response-type exchange ("It is my intention to tie you up now." "That would be agreeable."), but from the feeling of trust, faith and mutual advantage discovered endogenously in the consideration of something possibly unsafe and, in a conventional sense, of questionable sanity. With time and the understanding that the person I am with will do me no harm, consent abides whatever it is that we determine we would like to do.
An example: a current partner and I are very fond of breath control play. We have never negotiated it, and it has evolved over many months to a fairly pitched and risky degree. It's beginnings were humble enough - I had gagged her very thoroughly and she had experienced trouble breathing. I rearranged things a little more to my liking (and comfort level), but none the less effectively, and we had a very nice scene. It was not until I mentioned the severity of the gag that she was prompted to tell me that she had found her gasping for breath very exciting, much to her surprise. We are now somewhat expert in a variety of ways of controlling her air supply, and she finds them all very much to her liking. Not safe, questionably sane, adventitiously consensual, and, as it turns out, one of our favorite things.