But what I know, after a lifetime of studying BDSM, is that this type of play is impossible to perform safely and ethically without the most stringent and deeply understood mutual consent. I won’t do it with just anyone I pick up at a show or find on the Internet. Along with most ethical kinksters, I always start a new partner—even one who is champing at the bit—off with deliberate, slow, and limited forms of BDSM play. Every toy, every humiliating phrase, and every aspect of the tempo and intensity of the scene are negotiated carefully in advance. I wouldn’t role-play a scene involving force or reluctance on anyone whose reactions I didn’t know like the back of my hand. And when I do play that way, I’m not only listening for safe words: I’m reading the reactions of my partner, continually looking for their arousal, for that light in their eyes that tells me that they’re on board. I am looking for adverse reactions, too, and I check in if I see or hear signs of a panic attack or dissociation, like a change in breathing pace, voice tone, or the size of pupils.
If anyone ever reacted to me the way Ghomeshi’s victims reportedly responded to him, with signs of obvious reluctance and disgust, I would stop, instantly.
Maybe Ghomeshi is telling the truth and has respected the consent of his partners, but I don’t buy it. The xoJane piece and the anonymous reports from his other victims seem of a type. They tend to paint Ghomeshi as an abuser, not a kinkster. Real kinksters have a healthy fear of the devastating consequences of violating consent. If I fancy someone, I won’t lay a finger upon them until I am convinced of their eagerness. Unlike Ghomeshi, I do not slake my thirst for domination and control upon unwilling and clearly protesting people.
Read the whole piece, by experienced kinkster and professional dominatrix Margaret Corvid.