a Barak & Sheba Article

Speak Out!
Friday April 17, 2015

A big part of the AIS Mission is to create a safe and open environment where consenting adults can experience, explore and discover themselves as sexual beings. The most important word in that sentence is “safe.”

There are so many facets to that term – safe. So what are we really talking about… certainly not the Webster’s Dictionary definition; which says safe is, “an absence of risk.” We are referring to the “feeling of safety or security.” What is that feeling and why is it so important? When a person feels safe and secure they are more open and receptive to talking about or trying new things which gives them the ability to stretch their concepts and understandings…to be more open minded and to grow and learn more about themselves or their surroundings. When a person doesn’t feel safe, they are on alert, they are either scared or anxious, and sometimes both. When there is a lack of security or safety a person is focused on their basic survival emotions – there is no way they will feel willing or able to look within or do any self-exploration.

One of the most important ingredients to create and maintain a feeling of safety is the knowledge and experience that there are rules and parameters in place to keep us safe. AIS (and other Kink groups) make it possible for people to experience this feeling of safety through having strict rules about Consent. Consent is the very basis of what it is that we do. Consent is what separates legitimate connective acts of BDSM from illegal acts of assault and/or battery. Non-consensual touching and behavior is strictly forbidden in at any and all AIS events meetings and gatherings.

Consent is not the absence of “No”, it’s the mutual co-creation of a “Yes”. There is a huge continuum of forms of Consent… from “micro-consent” where each and every separate act requires permission – prior to proceeding. “Can I hold your hand?” to “Can I kiss you?” to “Can I touch your genitals?” to…etc…wherever you continue to negotiate the contact. Each act is asked for and consented to – or it is not done. Then there is the other end of the continuum – “blanket consent” where once consent is given, everything thereafter is fine, until consent is once again withdrawn. “I consent to anything and everything you can imagine – including all sexual acts, power exchanges, and SM activities, until I withdraw that consent.” Hopefully, you know that this takes time, trust and an ongoing relationship? Probably not that great an idea to offer this on a first date. But? It's your body, your consent.

While we have covered the very extremes of the consent spectrum, most people fall somewhere in between the two. Regardless of what type and parameters of consent each person chooses, they are entitled to determine what they will or won't accept. And here in the kink community, non-consensual behavior is NEVER acceptable.

Why do we bring this all up? Well… creating and maintaining a safe space is a top priority for us. But we can't be everywhere all the time. It’s important that if anything happens that makes you feel unsafe, or if something non-consensual occurs, we need you to let us (or an AIS staff member) know. That way, we can actually do something about it. It's everyone's job to make our community safe and the way we do that is by reporting non-consensual behavior.

The Columbus Community is called a community because we are all part of a greater family. It is so important that we care for and about each other. Please do your part by letting the leadership, staff, or event promoters for any event know if something happens to create an unsafe environment.


©2015 Barak & Brat Sheba

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