Informed consent – a definition

I’ve said before that I believe informed consent is the absolute bedrock of what we do. Not only does it underpin safe, sane, consensual play and relationships/dynamics (or risk-aware consensual kink – or even personal responsibility informed consensual kink), but the wider world’s understanding that BDSM isn’t intrinsically abusive but is based on consenting to something where risk is understood and accepted is key to our future acceptance as a normal, non-scary part of the continuum of human sexual activity.

I’ve written before about the Informed Consent Principle – which originated here. I think it’s damn fine. But I’ve tinkered. I think it can be made slightly simpler. So, with respect to the original author, @Tanos, here’s my effort:

BDSM activities must have the informed consent of everyone taking part. All participants should strive to reach a shared awareness of risks and consequences. Consent cannot be given under duress or if any party has mental incapacity or is intoxicated.

 The original is:

The Informed Consent Principle is that BDSM requires the freely given informed consent of all participants; that participants should make genuine efforts to reach a shared awareness of risks and consequences; that if consent is given under duress or is invalidated by mental incapacity or intoxication then it is not legitimate; and that BDSM with this informed consent should not be criminalised or lead to discrimination.

I’ve just tried to shorten it and I’ve removed the phrase in red because I think that isn’t part of a principle itself, rather it’s an objective that we should be seeking to achieve for our community, with the help of the non-BDSM world.

Do you agree or disagree? Please leave a comment or do the poll:

Also see:

More polls on definitions here

The BDSM and money survey – first results

The BDSM and Money Survey – who took part, and first results

aveburysarsenThis is the first article detailing results from my BDSM and money survey. I collected responses between December 2013 and March 2015. 476 people took part, mainly recruited through BDSM websites, including fetlife, strangely normal and fetbook.

This article sets the scene: In the coming weeks I’ll write more detailed articles about the things people said concerning their BDSM spending. Other articles on the survey are linked at the bottom of this page.

Who took part?

Of the 476 people who took part:

  • 67% came from the UK, 27% from the USA and 6% from elsewhere
  • 53% were female, 43% male and 5% expressed another preference
  • 64% said they were heterosexual, 6% said they were homosexual and 31% said they were bisexual.

What kind of BDSMer?

When it came to BDSM, participants said they were:

  • 33% Tops/dominants, 46% bottoms/submissives and 21% switches
  • 21% Sadists/masochists, 63% Dominants/submissives and 16% Masters/slaves

Money and spending priorities

I asked people to say which UK or US income quintile they fell into. The least populous response contained 18% of the sample and the most populous 22% – so the response broadly reflects the population as a whole.

Looking at areas of BDSM spending, the most popular three clothing categories were:

When it came to toys the top three are:

  • Bondage items (84%)
  • Impact play items (82%)
  • Other (64%)

The percentages above relate to those who said they’d spent any money on any of these categories at any time.

When it comes to body modification, 35% had spent money on tattoos and 30% on body piercing.

BDSM as an Income

We asked whether respondents made any money from BDSM products or services. 17% said they had.

Of those, roughly a fifth said BDSM was their main source of income and a similar number said it was an important secondary source.

The top three paid activities were pro-domme (38%) and other sex worker, and making BDSM toys (both 21%).

How important is BDSM spending?

Only 13% of respondents said BDSM was their first spending priority (out of nine, excluding essential household expenditure like housing costs, food and energy). 15% rated it second and 13% third.

Across the sample as a whole family events took top priority, followed by holidays and eating out. BDSM was the fourth most important item out of nine. So, the people who took part take their BDSM pretty seriously.

The surveys

Please note that these surveys don’t have properly constructed samples – they are drawn entirely from people who see my posts on BDSM websites and choose to take part – all one can say is that they represent the views of the respondents themselves and not the BDSM community as a whole.

BDSM and Money – more articles

 

What do you call your partner – poll results

aveburysarsenTNFor nearly a year I’ve run a simple poll asking whether dominants and submissives have special names for each other and when they use them.

I’ve closed the polls, really because I’ve got bored more than anything else. Here are the results.

Naming policy

(ie what do people call each other).

NamingSubmissives most frequent response was that they used a general, not a unique name for their partner, followed by using their partner’s given name. However, only around a quarter of the votes from submissives were for using their partner’s given name and just under half were for using a special name – just not an unique one.

Dominants reversed this order of priority, being more likely to use their partners’ given name rather than any special name.

Naming protocol

(ie when do people use these names).

Protocol

I asked people when they used their special names – if they had them. Nearly one in four dominants voted that they didn’t have a naming protocol whilst less than half that proportion of votes from submissives agreed with this.

Dominants were most likely not to have any form of naming protocol. This was the least common choice for submissives.

Setting aside those who didn’t have a naming protocol, The most common result, for both submissives and dominants, was to use a naming protocol when by themselves or at scene events. The second most common return for submissives was using special names only when alone together.

Not proper research

This is a self-selecting sample of people who have responded to this poll over eleven months. I did my best to prevent repeat voting. But:

  • It’s a self selecting sample drawn from fetish/BDSM websites and Twitter.
  • People could vote on any or all of the options – so one vote does not mean one person responding.
  • There were 326 votes on the poll for dominants and 458 on the poll for submissives.

Thanks to all those who took part.

I’m still eagerly looking for participants in my US/UK BDSM and money survey. Absolutely anonymous – find it here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get a new picture of your kink

aveburysarsenTNI’ve updated my Excel spreadsheet BDSM dashboard.

Download it here: Belasarius_BDSM_dashboard_4.01

It now has 24 additional criteria including a new section on body

corset 001
Photo credit: skulptress9

modification for those of you who are into corsets, tight-lacing, piercing and tattoos.

It also has new options for recording your interest in pain and a few more play and sex choices.

This is what my kink now looks like at the time of writing.

My kink Nov 2013

The original “picture of your kink” spreadsheet is still available.

I will develop this further – The radargram is getting messy and i’d like to include both more kinks and a new section on BDSM roles.

Enjoy – and let me know what you think.

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BDSM and Education Survey – Kinksters vs the rest

aveburysarsenTNThis is the first article on this blog that I’ve written on the BDSM and education survey I did in June 2012 and wrote about on the old UK BDSM website “Informed Consent“. The background to this survey is here and the dataset is here.

It was a short survey, just asking about people’s BDSM orientation and their final level of education. 504 people answered it – but they were all recruited from a couple of BDSM websites and no attempt was made to collect a sample that could be seen as representative. it is a self-selecting poll: People that were interested in it responded, others didn’t. However, with the proviso’s noted in the background article (linked above) the educational levels stated by respondents to this survey were broadly similar to those stated in other surveys I have done (I will do a proper piece on that at a later date).

The table below states what people taking the survey said was their last level of education:

Last level

People who followed the original debate on “Informed Consent” will know that various research studies were cited that purported to show that the BDSM population contained a higher proportion of more intelligent or more well-educated people than the population as a whole. The debate was hot and the studies mentioned were much criticised. This survey also can’t be said to have met any of the necessary conditions for accuracy. But it does show the same sort of result as those other studies:

I’ve tried to compare the survey results with last levels of educational attainment for the UK population as a whole, using the last census.

Lastlevelgraph

It isn’t do-able, accurately, because the census uses different classifications (as will be clear if you follow the link above). However, I’ve tried to combine categories so it has some meaning.

All you can say is that BDSM people who answered this survey said they had quite a different educational profile than the population as a whole.

Fetish dressing – from the styles and relationships survey

aveburysarsenTNI noticed something in the figures  for the BDSM styles and relationships survey which went against my experience, so I thought I’d share: It’s just a bit of fun really…

Fetish dressing. Whaddya know. Men appear keener than women.

In the survey:

  • 21% of women, 12% of men and 17% of Tg folk said they disliked or didn’t do Fetish dressing.
  • 45% of women, 44% of men and 17% of TG people said they could take it or leave it.
  • 33% of women, 45% of men and 67% of Tg people said it was important or essential to them.

When you look at the keenest group, 6% of women, 16% of men and 50% of Tg

RUBBER PROTECTOR
RUBBER PROTECTOR (Photo credit: post apocalyptic design)

people said it was essential.

One lives and learns: Maybe I should have asked whether the dressed party was themselves or their partner. Perhaps I will.

Other articles from this survey:

Safe word survey – dataset

aveburysarsenTNI’ve now done most of the articles I intend to write about the results of the safeword survey I did, details of which and links to articles are here.

I’ve decided to put up the dataset for anyone to download and to do any further analysis they wish. Here it is:

SAfe_1

Attribution

All I ask is that:

  • If you publish anything about this data then please credit me as the source and link aveburysarsento the homepage of this blog  – belasarius.com. If you want to publish it with this image – that’s fine too.
  • That you under no circumstances claim any scientific, academic or statistical credibility for the data. Please make it clear that the responses are a self-selecting sample of 557 respondents recruited through the websites Informed Consent, fetbookfetlife and through this blog, gathered between 19 January 2013 and 3 February 2013: The data is simply what more than 500 people active on BDSM websites said about their views on safewords.

Dataset

The dataset is completely anonymised but otherwise complete. There were peculiarities with some of the data, so in the dataset I used (not the dataset that is downloadable here) I removed 24 records, leaving me with 533 to analyse.

  • I eliminated those records where the respondent only answered the demographic questions.
  • I   took out multiple responses from the same TCP/IP address (It seemed fairer to take out ALL responses from the same address rather than leave the first one in).
  • I also did not use stranger responses, such as the person whose sexuality was “Cod”, the people who had 557,774,456, 100,000 and 9,800 play partners in the last 12 months and, among a few others, the retired 18-20 year old and the 18-20 year old who had left full-time education at 16 and had a doctorate.