En route to negotiation, knowing I was nervous, he casually mentioned some terrifying implements of pain. Then he stepped back to better enjoy my reaction. The man is a sadist, no question about it.
So how can I explain why I never felt … leered at?
The answer is, I think, something I never expected to see amidst bacchanalia, 24/7 slavery and some truly sadistic mindfucks. It’s not just ethics. It’s ethics and restraint at a whole new level.
1. What’s a Hug?
Some people hug without thinking. Some ask permission before they hug. Eric Pride asked permission to hug after each demo scene.
I’m pretty sure we had all given him permission to do far worse. I know I had. So why did I say no?
I thought about it for days and I still couldn’t figure it out. Or why he’d even asked. It’s not about within-scene versus out-of-scene boundaries – he scared me before negotiations, remember?
But I did sign up to be scared, the more the better. A hug is different – it’s real-life intimacy. And he understood, even if I didn’t, that I had only consented to play.
2. 100% Consent to Mindfuck
I have always taken it for granted that you don’t do mindfucks on someone who hasn’t consented to them. And I could see practical reasons to avoid the panic, bondage-snapping and self-injury that might arise from messing with someone’s phobias (Edge, The Ultimate Guide to Kink, p. 412).
But during the mindfuck class, Eric Pride said he doesn’t even fake violations of hard limits. This confused me. One of the demo scenes was faked Russian roulette. Isn’t death a hard limit?
This only started making sense when I remembered that he always plays with a safeword, even in mindfuck scenes. And Mr Pride’s mindfucks are extremely convincing. If he hit a hard limit I would absolutely safeword, assuming I could. But if it looked like I was going to be stabbed to death, maybe I wouldn’t. Because he wouldn’t … right?
It’s about consenting to a certain level of fear (lots of it), not to mortal injury. But still 100% consent, every moment of the scene.
3. Consent Outlives Relationships
Just after Eric Pride’s class on managing breakups in the scene, I told someone about an ex, mentioning his shortcomings as euphemistically as I could. 24 hours later I was ashamed of myself, because the breakups class had shown me a better way.
And now I have finally done it. I sat down with my ex and we agreed on a story to tell our friends, both his and mine. It’s a very short story: we decided to stop being bad for each other, and it took us this long because we were good for each other in so many ways.
But now I have a new friend. And the lines of tension started ebbing from his face as soon as he heard about this idea. Thank God it wasn’t too late.
Edit: An excellent summary of the breakups class is now available!
Here are my takeaways from that weekend of classes.
1. Ethics is not just about right or wrong. It’s about doing the very best you can for people’s feelings.
2. Clear separation between kink and vanilla space is part of being serious about consent. It’s the opposite of Creepy Dom.
I have been working on (1) for some time now, just not at this level. But (2) wasn’t even on the horizon, and I can see that I’m really bad at it.
I hadn’t expected to learn about being an ethical sub from a dom. My failing, my lesson. But one that I’m glad to learn.
Do you have any stories of high ethical standards to share?
What praise is more valuable than the praise of an intelligent servant?