a Barak & Sheba Article

Drive-bys, Grabs, Touching & Consent...
Tuesday Feb 14, 2012

Many teaching and learning experiences in the kink arena are imitative – in other words, it's the “Monkey see, Monkey do” approach. That is just one way that many of us have learned some of the physical skills in kink i.e. flogging, whipping, fire-cupping, etc. But there are some other aspects of the scene that should not be imitated without delving into the deeper aspects. 'Cause if you do? You might get in a spot of trouble. Let us tell you what we are talking about.

From the casual observer's point of view, it might seem as though Sheba and I pick random strangers out of crowd to touch, grab, fondle, kiss, or hurt. Perhaps the reverse is true, seeing multiple people come up to us and without a word, nuzzle our neck, grab us by the ass, or poke us and run. It can get even more confusing when you are new and see this happen in other instances, to many different people, so much so that it seems like these “Drive-Bys” are a common and accepted practice.

There can also be some confusion when seeing someone (or a bunch of some ones) arbitrarily jump into a scene in progress. You may have seen something like that at WW. While normally that is strictly verboten, (German for forbidden), normally there was either some unseen (by the observer) invitation, or there were pre-scene negotiations. Either way, someone watching might perceive the scene as a free-for-all and want to jump in. Without previous negotiations or a clear invitation, that can be overstepping boundaries and is considered unacceptable behavior.

Admittedly, this can be puzzling for the new and casual observer. It’s complicated because many of us know, and have known, each other for quite some time, and that may not be apparent. We have been coming to meet n greets, have gone to parties, have played, and have become intimate with one another. We take the time to become comfortable with each other and have developed an agreed upon level of consent. This doesn’t happen overnight and is never assumed. We always speak to our partners and playmates to insure that we are all agreed on what can happen between us and what is comfortable for everyone involved.

You might not know it if you were watching, as both of us are constantly being touched, stroked, poked, or loved on – but the truth is, we prefer to be touched only by people we know, are getting to know, or have agreements with and when we are open to it. In some cases, an uninvited touch for us is still as jarring as being sucker punched.

This is not to say that we aren't open to making new friends and exchanging touches. We are very interested in creating new relationships of all types. Each Meet N Greet, Event or Party, we meet wonderful people who we share with and create both spoken and unspoken agreements about how we will interact on different levels, verbally, physically and emotionally.

We created AIS as a very communal organization. While the idea is to have a welcoming organization that is a safe space to be open and sharing; there still are minimal boundaries that should be recognized when entering and attending events, meetings and gatherings. These guidelines help create a framework so that we can share intimacy and do things like “Drive-Bys,” while still maintaining our personal space boundaries and comfort zones with people we know and are getting to know.

So you see - seemingly non-consensual, random acts of intimacy aren't really random at all. We have put in the time to learn the each other’s level of intimacy and comfort. We have developed the trust and received permission and consent to touch in the way we are touching. If you haven’t spend that time, building that flow of energy, intimacy and consent? It's not a good idea to imitate what you see.

If you want to be part of the “fray”, then spend the time coming out to events, meetings and gatherings. Get to know the Columbus Community. Learn to share equally with others, and allow time to become comfortable with people, and them to become comfortable with you. Above all? If you are in doubt about a touch, ask first! Check in with someone to gain their consent – and see if the permission extends to an ongoing casual, play, or drive by relationship. You will be glad you did – because it’s good energy!

Barak & Sheba

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