Kink Month Kickoff: The Sexy Guide to Informed Consent

Kink Month Kickoff: The Sexy Guide to Informed Consent

One of the best parts of the national conversation around sexuality has been the adoption of new customs surrounding consent. To kick off Kink Month with a bang, let's dive into a concept called informed consent. It's all about enabling dignity of choice—because nothing says "sexy time" like knowing exactly what you're getting into! After that, we'll run through the things you should tell and ask. Spoiler alert: It's more than just "Is this okay?"


While it might make you feel like BBQ Karen, trust me, people actually hate having even the tiniest risks brushed off. Nothing ruins the mood faster than an unexpected "Oops!"—especially in the bedroom. With kink, that oopsy can mean someone fainting, falling, or even the big death when we should be focusing on many little ones.


Official Definition

Informed consent is the process by which a person voluntarily confirms their willingness to participate in a particular activity after being informed of all the potential risks, benefits, and alternatives. It ensures that the person has the opportunity to ask questions and receive answers before making a decision.


My Definition

Informed consent means having all the information you could possibly need to know, even if remote, so that you can experience any consequence, side effect, or complication with dignity instead of surprise. Ideally, you'd be able to say things like, "welp, I hoped that wouldn't happen but at least I knew" or "Glad I knew so I could choose." Whether it be a medical procedure, sexual activity, job, relationship, sport, drugs, or anything else where someone holds information that could keep you safe. You should sound like the end of a medication commercial, even if it's unpleasant. People are allowed to say no to risks even if you're willing to accept.


What's the Point of All This?

With informed consent, fear is not the ideal outcome; curiosity is. You should tell people what you would want to know and more. You should ask about anything that confuses or concerns you and never stop until you are satisfied. If you can't be satisfied, I don't recommend you participate. This rule has always kept me safe in life.


In my experience, standard consent leaves a lot of room for exploitation, with phrases like "I thought you knew," etc. None of this is ideal within the confines of a sexual experience. So let's elevate the conversation to make our interactions more beneficial for everyone.


Where Does This Idea Come From?

Informed consent has its roots in medical ethics and legal standards, dating back to the early 20th century. The concept gained prominence after the Nuremberg Trials in the aftermath of World War II, leading to the development of the Nuremberg Code, which emphasized the importance of voluntary consent in medical research. Over the years, the idea has evolved and expanded into various fields, including sexual health and kink communities, to ensure that all parties involved are fully aware of and agree to the conditions and risks of any activity.


But in my life, it's a practice instilled by watching my grandmother. Johnnie Ethel would often ask people, "Is that alright," "Are you sure," "You know X consequence could happen, right?" The specific phrase she'd say when the grandkids would get to picking on one another, "If everyone ain't having fun, no one is." She was very clear that us cousins were to treat each other with respect, all of us at all times. It wasn't always a serious issue, but the practice has been embedded in how I handle all things, including kink.


How to Handle Informed Consent in Kink

Handling informed consent in kink involves clear, open, and honest communication between all parties involved. Here are some key steps:

  • Pre-Scene Negotiation: Before any scene, discuss boundaries, limits, and safe words. Make sure all participants are aware of what will happen and agree to it.
  • Ongoing Communication: Check in regularly during the activity to ensure everyone is comfortable and consenting. Use safe words or signals to indicate if something is wrong. Make it weird so it stands out, I use waffle.
  • Post-Scene Aftercare: After the scene, provide aftercare to all participants. This includes physical care and emotional support to ensure everyone feels safe and respected.
  • Review and Reflect: After the activity, discuss what went well and what could be improved. Make sure everyone had a positive experience and felt respected.


Things to Disclose:

  • Nature of Activities: Clearly describe what activities will take place, including specific actions, techniques, and scenarios.
  • Risks and Safety: Outline any potential physical, emotional, or psychological risks involved. This includes short-term and long-term effects.
  • Limits and Boundaries: Communicate personal limits and hard boundaries. Ensure that all participants understand and respect these limits.
  • Health Concerns: Disclose any relevant health issues or medical conditions that could affect the activity. This includes allergies, injuries, or chronic conditions.
  • Experience Levels: Share your level of experience with the activities involved. This helps set realistic expectations and ensures appropriate measures are taken.
  • Previous Trauma: If comfortable, disclose any past trauma that could be triggered by certain activities or scenarios.
  • Expectations and Goals: Clarify what you hope to achieve or experience. This includes emotional, physical, and psychological outcomes.
  • Safewords and Signals: Agree on safewords or signals that can be used to pause or stop the activity immediately.
  • Duration and Intensity: Discuss how long the activity will last and the intensity level you are comfortable with.
  • Aftercare Needs: Outline what kind of aftercare you require post-activity to feel safe and comfortable.


Things to Ask About:

  • Comfort and Willingness: Ask if the other person is comfortable with the proposed activities and willing to participate.
  • Previous Experience: Inquire about their experience with similar activities to gauge comfort and skill levels.
  • Health and Safety: Ask about any health conditions or concerns that need to be considered.
  • Limits and Boundaries: Confirm their personal limits and boundaries. Make sure these are understood and will be respected.
  • Safewords and Signals: Ensure that safewords or signals are agreed upon and understood.
  • Preferred Intensity: Ask about their preferred level of intensity and how long they are comfortable engaging in the activity.
  • Triggers and Trauma: Gently inquire if there are any triggers or past traumas that need to be avoided.
  • Aftercare Preferences: Ask about their aftercare needs and preferences to ensure they are met.
  • Mutual Expectations: Discuss what each party hopes to achieve or experience from the activity.
  • Check-Ins During Activity: Agree on how you will check in with each other during the activity to ensure ongoing comfort and consent.


Additional Considerations:

  • Communication Style: Determine how you will communicate before, during, and after the activity. This includes both verbal and non-verbal communication.
  • Backup Plan: Discuss what will happen if something goes wrong or if one party wants to stop the activity immediately.
  • Emotional Impact: Consider and discuss the potential emotional impact of the activity and how it will be handled.



For further reading on informed consent, you can explore these sources:


By following these guidelines, we can ensure that our interactions are respectful, informed, and consensual. Let's make Kink Month a time to celebrate not only our desires but also our commitment to each other's well-being and safety. Let us know if you have any questions!

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