In the BDSM world the slogan Safe Sane and Consensual is slapped to our collective bumper sticker. We are reminded of it in the same way our mothers reminded us of the golden rule, or to eat your veggies.I began thinking about the last word in those four dripping words, consensual.
Consensual, as the adjective in the aforementioned sentence, means to enter in to mutual agreement with another person. An important principal in BDSM, especially at public play events, or getting to know some new kinksters, this rule is adhered to; providing all a safe way to say no, the other party accepts the no without argument or concern.
But lets consider this word Consent in a larger context. What aspects of our lives are lived in a non consensual manner ?
I believe in the concept that we own our body, that property rights start with the individual. From that point on when we interact with others its either voluntary or an involuntary exchange of goods, services, or ideas.
On the subject of sexuality there are a great many laws that restrict our choice, or take it away from us.
For example, in Missouri they passed a law that restricts the various locations and activities that are considered adult business, i.e. strip clubs, porn shops, no nudity. Aside from what one may think about a persons sexual proclivities. Do not I as the owner of my property, have the right to do what I want on my property without infringing on anyone else body or property ? Consider the restrictions at a kinky convention. The owners of that property have to jump, cartwheel, and leap through a stretch of hurdles to have an event on their own property. The state has taken away the choices of the business who has paid for their property and is operating a business for profit.
Its not just the government creating laws that restrict choice, its special interest groups that actively campaign against the freedom of choice in all of us. Supporting spurious anti-discrimination, anti community laws that demand adherence to one rule, or demanding equality where equality does not exist. The latest example is the building of a mosque near the site of the former World Trade Center towers, its well within the purview of the property owners to build whatever they would choose.
Alternatively when it comes to marrying the partner of your choosing, the best answer for this would be, as Butler Shafer said; “why do you want the state to certify marrying someone of your own choosing, just perform your own marriage ceremony without the states approval”. Or at the same time, if marrying for tax benefits only, what about two persons who have no sexual connection that live together, couldnt they enjoy the tax benefits two hetero married individuals would.
In the end its not just the special interest anti-whatever group that restricts our freedoms. Its the State, its media shills, and the companies that leech money from it that is the gravest danger to our right to freely choose what is best for each. Its up to us as individual beings to apply that rule of consent to the rest of our lives, not just our recreational choices.