Amongst my hipster degenerate friends of Brooklyn, I keep hearing the term “consensual non-consent” – or for those really in the know, “CNC.” So what exactly does this super intense-sounding kink entail? Basically, consensual non-consent a type of BDSM relationship or activity that involves a negotiated agreement between consenting adults to engage in a scene or relationship where one person takes on the role of Dom, while the other takes on the role of sub. In consensual non-consent, the submissive partner agrees to give up their autonomy and allow the dominant partner to have complete control over their actions – with clearly defined limits of course.
Consensual non-consent explained
It’s an interesting phenomenon that I don’t think could have existed 50 years ago back when women (who let’s be real, are the subs in most Dom/sub relationships) were considered second-class citizens. But now that a large portion of them are boss bitch types – particularly in progressive hubs like Brooklyn and east London – it makes total sense that they are fiending to have their man take total charge – giving them the space to relax and be ravaged.
Men, on the other hand, whose masculinity is constantly being undermined by a feminist culture looking to cherry pick what’s acceptable versus unacceptable behavior for a woke man (i.e be in touch with your emotions but not so much that it makes the woman feel like she has to take care of you) is bound to be drawn to a power exchange where he gets to play king and is free to act on the primal urges he’s been socialized to repress.
Consensual non-consent in action
I certainly fall under the category of women who have had a rape fantasy at one point or another. There’s something inexplicably hot about the idea of being so desirable to a man that he simply can’t resist your divine feminine sexuality and needs to overtake you in order to release his pent up sexual energy. But there really has to be a perfect confluence of forces at play to make that sort of sexual scenario as enjoyable in real life as it sounds in your head.
When I first brought up my rape fantasy to my college boyfriend at the age of 18, he was disgusted, which sent me into a shame spiral. I didn’t bring it up until years later, at which point I had been sexually assaulted multiple times – something I bring up because it has the potential to prevent a consensually non-consensual encounter from going as planned. It’s one thing to get off on the idea while masturbating but when you actually have a man forcing himself on you, more times than not, it’s going to trigger traumatic experiences and turn into a less than enjoyable affair.
I had a lover who had a fantasy of taking in me in my sleep and I was on board — at least in theory. It sounded pretty fun to wake up to some guy I was wildly attracted to inserting his beautiful cock into me. But the reality was not fun whatsoever. We tried a few times, but each time, I would push him away and go into panic mode, as I relived past experiences of being entered without my consent. Luckily though, not all people are plagued by PTSD that prevents them from living out their consensual non-consent fantasies.
My friend Lola for instance, matched with a guy named Tyler on Feeld who listed consensual non-consent as one of his interests. A girl boss on the streets and a sub in the sheets, she was intrigued and DTF. For the most part, she described the experiences as some of the spiciest of her life and quickly developed an attachment to him. But in typical fuck-boy-posing-as-progressive-and-poly fashion, Tyler left her high and dry, ghosting her when she sent a text about wanting to talk expectations.
What’s more is that I later found out that he had never actually given her an orgasm in the 10 or so times they had hooked up. This, of course, infuriated me. A true Dom satisfies his sub on every level – physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Yet here was this guy parading himself as an evolved sexual being, coercing lovely Lola into forceful, unprotected sex without giving her anything in return. When I heard that he was into scaling mountains and was a masochist of a workaholic, I started to get a sense of that archetype he fell under.
In a patriarchal society where men are forced to choose between power and connectedness, Tyler had chosen power 10 times over – to the point where he was so out of touch with his emotions that he needed increasingly intense and stimulating outlets to satiate the deep spiritual void within. Lola would never be enough – not because she is anything other than an absolute goddess but because Tyler doesn’t view himself as enough and will therefore always be chasing for things outside of himself to get his fix.
Another girl friend of mine, Alexia, found herself in a relationship with a guy named Don with whom she had caught serious feelings for. The kind of good girl who never has sex on the first date, Alexia’s sex life with Don started out as pretty vanilla. But about six months in, Don felt comfortable enough to express his deepest, darkest fantasy – following Alexia home, “kidnapping” and “raping” her. She was taken aback and began questioning everything about their sex life up until that point. “Is this why he can’t get hard unless he’s choking me or doing something violent?” she asked herself. They ended up breaking up not long after, before they ever got to the point of turning his dreams into a reality. As much as Alexia wanted to satisfy her man, she couldn’t help but be weary of his dark desires.
A harmless kink or something more sinister?
As someone who has worked as a sex worker and partaken in my fair share of twisted sexual fantasies, I am certainly in no place to judge a person who jerks off to the thought of raping someone. As long as it remains a fantasy or is enacted in a way in which all parties give their enthusiastic consent, I can’t be mad at it. But I can be skeptical about expectations versus reality. In all three examples outlined above, consensual non-consent failed to work out in practice.
In my case, it triggered my PTSD. In Lola’s case, the guy involved was an energy vampire who enjoyed leading women on for his own selfish needs. And in Alexia’s case, she felt disturbed by the pathological nature of her partner’s desires. It might be fun to get into the consensual non-consensual Dom/sub dynamic every once in a while, but when a guy can’t get it up unless he’s inflicting some kind of violence – consensual or not – upon his partner, things start to get a little questionable.
While I know there are loads of people out there who probably do enjoy consensual non-consensual role play, I implore anyone interested in trying it to proceed with caution. Communication is key. It’s not just about consenting beforehand, it’s about constantly checking in throughout to ensure no boundaries are crossed, as well as giving honest feedback to your partner afterwards. It’s tricky to navigate because it takes a certain level of vulnerability for someone to even open up about their interest in such a taboo sexual kink to begin with. Their partner will likely want to appease them – either out of love or fear of not being able to sexually satisfy them – even if they have their reservations.
Developing a strong level of communication that emphasises trust and respect, not only ensures that consent is established but also helps to further develop your relationship with the person. If both partners understand that a strong relationship with mutual respect and trust is important (over and above sexual activities), it can help to further grow and deepen the bond between two people.
My approach to sex has always been to try it out once to see if I like it. You never know until you try after all. But if your partner is super into it and you’re not feeling it yet feel pressured to pretend you do in order to make them feel good about themselves, you need to check in with yourself, your boundaries, and your relationship. A healthy sex life is all about being comfortable enough to have uncomfortable conversations. Only then can trust be built and authentic love connections be formed.