Sunday, March 20, 2016

Savage Love: Safe wording part deux, a response to "Doubts"

"You’re right to ding me for failing to advise Mr. and Mrs. THINK to agree on a safe word."

Posted By on Sun, Mar 20, 2016 at 11:58 AM

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You messed up in your response to THINK, the man whose wife wanted to engage in consensual role-play rape scenes despite having been sexually assaulted by a previous partner who didn’t stop “when she said ‘no.’” THINK said he worried “the same thing could happen” to him. Due to some ambiguous wording, you thought he doubted his wife’s account and was worried the “same thing” he was worried about was “being falsely accused of rape.” I think he was actually worried about accidentally making his wife relive that trauma in a non-sexy way. Although it was poorly worded, I don’t think his intentions were motivated by the fear of being falsely accused. His worries were based in the ambiguity of when does consensual rape play cross the line in this very delicate scenario. The other thing you forgot, the most important thing you forgot, the thing that should never be forgotten when talking about rough-sex role-play, consensual rape scenes, power exchange, bondage, or SM: a SAFE WORD!

Simple And Frequently Effective Word Omitted Recently, Dan!

THINK’s wife told him she was raped by an ex who refused to stop when she said no, SAFEWORD, and here’s how THINK described his concerns: “I’m over here wondering if her previous trauma was a result of her encouraging forceful sex and regretting it later, and I worry the same thing could happen to me.” [Emphasis added.] Awkwardly worded, yes, but THINK’s meaning seems clear: He didn’t want to go for it, like that other guy may have, and be accused of raping his wife if she came to regret it later. That doesn’t seem ambiguous to me.

But you’re right to ding me for failing to advise Mr. and Mrs. THINK to agree on a safe word. And I didn’t just leave “get a safe word” out of my response, SAFEWORD. It was worse than that: I deleted “get a safe word” from my response. There were two very similar paragraphs in the original draft of my response to THINK, both on the mechanics of making it happen, and I had to delete one paragraph for space. In an unbelievably stupid move, I deleted the one with “get a safe word” in it. I should’ve caught that, I didn’t, and I’m grateful to SAFEWORD and everyone else who did.

And remember, kids: We have a new universal kink/BDSM/power-exchange safe word: scalia.

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Dan Savage

Dan Savage

In addition to being a nationally syndicated sex advice columnist and author of books, Savage can also lay claim to being the only person at his home paper to have actually converted his sexuality into a profession. He has a boyfriend and a child. He is also wealthy beyond the dreams of avarice and cheats at racketball... more

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