There is something worth discussing that is deeply consensual but appears for all the world to be non-consensual, and it is not easy to express in words in the English language without using the term “non-consent”. Many in the DD community are adamant that they absolutely hate what they call “punishment spankings” and that there is absolutely no sexual element to them, and that they would do anything to avoid getting one.
They say all this, and I have no doubt that they are sincere, but they are clearly not in the same state of mind as a battered wife. They do actually prefer to be with a man who will do that, and not in the way that the abused wife ‘prefers’ not to leave her battering husband. The abused wife would most definitely wave the magic wand that would turn her abusive husband into a non-batterer; the DD wife would definitely not wave that magic wand to turn her husband into a man who would never give her a ‘punishment spanking’.
The states of mind are simply not the same. In the one case, there is no consent; in the other, there is. It may sound non-consensual, and one can understand why the casual reader might find it all rather alarming and horrifying, but as I have tried to show, it is actually consensual.
Given the limits of the English language, it is not unreasonable to describe this as “wanting non-consent” or “consensual coercion” or “consensual non-consent”. But for those who can't even begin to understand why anyone would want this, let me explain more clearly what this is all about, and thereby show that this is not a sign of being screwed up. So, what is going on in the mind of a woman who “wants non-consent”?
For the sake of simplicity, I think of this in the following way (and I'd really appreciate feedback/criticism on this, BTW).
There is the core “me” that must be consenting on an on-going basis and absolutely not distressed, otherwise there is a risk of a psychological catastrophe. Think of this as the underlying reality, such that if the core “me” were not consenting, I'd be in the same terrible state of mind as the battered wife. I want to explore, learn, evolve; I want to forge new paths and discover new things, but that always involves psychological risk, and I want to avoid real non-consent like the plague, because real non-consent is real distress, and that can be very damaging, as we have established.
Nevertheless, that is not the end of the matter, for there is something that draws even perfectly sane individuals to this thing I am calling “non-consent” but which is consensual. Why do so many seem drawn to explore these potentially risky psychological waters? Because such exploration, if successful, creates valuable new knowledge for that person. The exploration of ‘non-consent’ is (if all goes well) under the psychological control of the ‘non-consenting’ person. It is not psychologically infinite. It is circumscribed.
Think of it as being in just one part of your mind. That part of your mind might be not consenting, whilst the core you is enjoying what is happening in that part of your mind, a bit like you might enjoy a very scary film. Part of you has to be scared otherwise the film does not move you, but if the whole of you—or the core you—is scared, then you are overwhelmed with fear and thus distressed. The successful exploration of non-consent, like enjoying watching a scary film, is a rendering. In the one case, you have a rendering of non-consent; in the other, you have a rendering of being scared.
What do I mean by rendering (mental representation)?
Imagine your mind as a series of interconnecting thoughts, ideas, values, etc. Each thought you have is in a semantic context of other thoughts, standards, values, etc. The ideas are related to each other. In your mind, you could have a representation of and ideas about something. At this moment, I am thinking about drinking a cup of tea. In my mind, I have a rendering of that happening, except that I am typing, not drinking, so I also have thoughts about wanting to stop typing and actually drink some tea.
Now I am drinking my tea and typing one-handed, and I have satisfied tea-drinking feelings in addition to the idea of drinking tea I had before. But note that what I have in my mind is only ever a rendering of tea drinking (a mental representation of tea drinking), never the actual thing, because I don't have any magical way of drinking tea directly with my mind, I drink it in the ordinary way, through my mouth and down my throat. The tea doesn't go anywhere near my mind, so my mind's experience of tea drinking is not direct but only ever a mental representation, a rendering.
However, drinking tea and merely thinking about drinking tea are two different experiences. Just as being coerced and merely thinking about being coerced are two different things, when I am actually drinking tea, the tea-drinking rendering in my mind is richer, more complex. My brain is receiving more information when I am actually drinking tea.
There are different levels (loosely speaking). In a sense, when you (1) think about being raped or spanked against your will, you have a low-level rendering of non-consent in your mind. In this case, if you are just thinking about it and have no particular problem thinking about it, you don't really experience the non-consent. It doesn't affect you noticeably.
You could, if you were of a mind to, get more into thinking about that daydream. You could think about it in more detail, (2) imagine what the non-consent might feel like, think about more details of the experience, think about it as an experience. This would be a higher-level or richer, more complex rendering of non-consent. Part of you would be in some sense ‘experiencing’ the non-consent. For some people, this would be enough to distress them. Even this would feel psychologically dangerous to them.
Similarly, some individuals can't watch films depicting violence without being distressed, whereas others can enjoy them. Those who can enjoy such films have the ability to engage with the rendered violence without being adversely affected at their core, as it were. It is not that most who enjoy violent films are “desensitised to violence”: on the contrary, if they were, they would not enjoy such films, they would be bored by them or indifferent to them. Part of the enjoyment of the film is being interested in it, engaging with it, caring about the characters, wanting the good guys to prevail, and so on. You can only care about that if part of you fears that the bad guys might win, for example. That rendered fear or “being on the edge of your seat” is exciting.
Similarly, if you were, say, physically anaesthetised and drugged such that you were desensitised to pain and not really conscious, anything that might happen to you would not be having much effect psychologically at the time at all. That would not be exploring non-consent in the sense I refer to. So it is not that those who are drawn to ‘exploring non-consent’ are somehow desensitised. When you are exploring non-consent (for example, receiving a serious spanking ‘against your will’) part of your mind must be engaging with the non-consent, affected by it.
Another thing you could do would be to (3) act out some approximation of your daydream of non-consent with another person. This interactive version could be more circumscribed and pre-planned in detail, to reduce the psychological risk. Or it could be less planned, less circumscribed. This would increase the psychological risk and increase the complexity and richness of the rendering. That is to say, the less pre-planned and circumscribed the interaction, roughly speaking, the closer the approximation to ‘the real thing’.
Some individuals at some times will not even want to think of being subjected to something against their will (perhaps if they have just been raped for real), but at other times, might be quite happy to engage in quite a realistically acted-out rendering of non-consent. Some individuals will be interested in only very circumscribed role-playing acting out of non-consent. They might well prefer a set time for this role play, and think of it as a ‘scene’, and have a safe-word. These are ways of reducing the psychological risk—of circumscribing the rendering so that it does not get out of hand and cause real distress in their core self, as it were.
Other individuals are actively exploring and engaging with the idea of non-consent, and for some of those individuals, the ways of circumscribing the experience I have just mentioned would destroy the value of the exploration. For them, circumscribing it that much would make the experience empty and barren of knowledge-creating potential. They would not get much out of it. These individuals want to explore the idea more deeply. They want a richer, more complex, less circumscribed rendering.
It is quite possible to take the position that you would absolutely never willingly submit, even though you really want more than anything to be brought to submission by a strong man. Some women fight, run, lock doors, kick and scratch like a wildcat, or behave like real shrews, and yet, they can be bitterly disappointed if the man does not use force to make them submit.
In some cases, some individuals will want a much more realistic approximation to the real thing, and at some point, it seems not totally unreasonable to describe that as the person “wanting non-consent”. In a sense they don't, in that if the rendering in their mind is out of control psychologically, they will be distressed and definitely not wanting it, not consenting. But if it remains circumscribed and under their control, then they might well be in a state which can be described as “wanting non-consent”.
As to why individuals are interested in exploring non-consent, there could be many reasons, but what it boils down to is the pursuit of knowledge (in the broadest sense), psychological growth or improvement, increased psychological strength. It is not actually that people want to suffer the distress of coercion: what they want (consciously or unconsciously) is to learn something. Engaging with non-consent is psychologically challenging, and when you survive and meet a challenge, you come out the other side stronger, more able to meet other challenges too. That is a powerfully satisfying feeling, and knowing that you can do this can enable you to remain rational in entirely unrelated difficult situations. This is useful in life. Amongst other things, it means that you are less likely to be upset by things.
Of course not everyone is interested in this, and some increase their strength in other ways, or are intellectually engaged in other spheres, and that is fine. But for those who are interested in this particular psychological exploration, it is valuable.
Suppose a woman has spent 20 years searching for a man who will administer serious discipline against her screams and protestations, and when she finally finds such a man, she willingly gives him blanket consent to be in control and to administer discipline if he thinks fit. Suppose that she finds that instead of being happy and peaceful, she feels distressed and unhappy. Then she is not consenting, and unless she is in the paralysed state of mind many battered women are in, she will seek to make changes or leave the man.
But if instead she feels happy and peaceful and loves the man passionately and would not change him for the world, I think we can safely say that she is consenting, even if she says that she hates being spanked. Saying that she hates it and even thinking that she hates it is all part of her rendering, and is fruitful psychologically. And as I have said before, for many women, it is not the spanking per se that they crave, it is the authority and control of the man, and one way that might be expressed is by force (such as discipline) on occasion.
I have been looking at this from the perspective of the person wanting to experience things ‘against their will’ but the person wanting to explore it from the other side is also on a quest for knowledge. Rendering non-consent is not just psychologically risky and potentially valuable for the person receiving it, the same is true for the person doing it too. I shall say more about this in a future article.