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C/NC, Ethics, Morals and the Law

January 20th, 2010

So last time I posted, the subject of consent, or lack of was brought up. There was a comment in kitti’s post that prompted a little thought to which I responded, but then on later reflection I decided there is a lot more to it, that part where real life gets in the way and tries to bite c/nc on the nose. So for those of you who haven’t read that post and its comments, please do so as the quotes I intend to use here are very snipped and really need the full flavour of the post and all its comments to be appreciated.

Britni talked about rape within a c/nc relationship, and how she thought that the prior consent made rape impossible, that any forced sex would be “rape”. I responded with “I won’t “rape her”, I will rape her without the quote marks” Britni said “Therefore, it’s not rape, because there *is* consent in some way. “Rape.” Not rape”

Now if we leave the whole issue of whether or not she gave me blanket or open consent to indulge in c/nc acts aside we are still left with a bit of a dilemma.

Firstly the legal aspects they are pretty straightforward. The moment she says “no” then there is no consent, any previous desires or agreements about prior consent are null and void. The first time she said “please don’t hit me again” I was legally in trouble, regardless of every word she had written about c/nc in messages to me. Simply put legally she can change her mind. Could the same not be argued on moral and ethical grounds? Can she not wake up one morning and decide she no longer wants to be my property, punchbag or even scrub my back in the shower?

Now for the part where it gets tricky, the morality and ethics.  Lets look at a promise of c/nc from the s-type as being akin to wedding vows. These are promises, ones nominally intended to last a life time. People however still get divorced, they change their mind. Even within the kink community we have seen countless “property of master_x eternally” type statements, but still these relationships end. By ignoring her when she asks me to stop, I am holding her to my ethical standards of how binding a promise should be (even if she didn’t actually make such a promise). She may really want me to stop, may even want to run out the door screaming and naked into the arms of a cop.

Some folks bow to ethical and moral standards by way of a safeword. Good for them, if it is a method of appeasing their conscience  that works for them. It may even hold a little weight legally too, given a sympathetic bench or prosecution team. In many places the legal aspects are very dangerous, certainly here where I reside there is no need for a complaint, never mind the pressing of charges or appearance in court of any “victim”. The legal community can mount a full prosecution on their own without the victim getting involved, or even having a say.

Legally, ethically, morally, all the terms, c/nc, blanket or open consent are worthless. Consent can be withdrawn at any time, all those lovely words are at best promises of intent much the same as “til death do us part”. Imagine that wedding, followed by a divorce where one party contests by way of  “you promised for ever”. C/NC is a rather silly idea, it is consent pure and simple.  It matters not if you choose the label c/nc, blanket consent, open consent, whatever. Consent can be withdrawn, it is purely up to whoever is in charge in the relationship as to how much notice is taken of any withdrawal. For us continuing consent is treated much as it was during what passed for negotiation, its a non-issue. If she tries to withdraw that nominal consent, I shall drag her back and deal with her as I see fit, regardless of whether she still consents or not. I hold her to my my moral standards of a promise is forever, her morality on the subject is of no concern.

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