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  • Alexandra Gold

Kink, COVID, and Consent

Kink, COVID, and Consent: Safe, Sane, and Consensual During Coronavirus

The BDSM community motto is “Safe, Sane, and Consensual.” How does this phrase apply during COVID-19?

During COVID-19, you still need to ask for consent every time you wish to engage in sex or kink related activities. This applies to those who live together, are married, are dating, or have engaged in sexual activity together before. This consent should be enthusiastic and ongoing throughout the sex or the scene. And during COVID-19, the skills of negotiating consent need to include discussions of virus risk-tolerance, disclosing contacts with others, and how one will communicate if someone in the circle or bubble tests positive.

Consent is incredibly nuanced and takes many forms. Libido and sexual needs may shift during quarantine or with the ongoing stressors of COVID. This looks different for everybody, but it is necessary to communicate with partners about these adjustments and incorporate essential additions to conversations regarding consent and safety. For some, consent is verbally negotiated. For other kinky relationships, ongoing consent may be outlined in a written contract between parties. In both verbal or written consent agreements, soft and hard limits and other preferences for all parties taking part in kink or sexual activities are outlines. It is important to check-in and make sure that this agreement stays updated throughout quarantine and beyond.

If you are quarantining alone and have no current safe consensual partners, the NYC Health Department’s Safer Sex Guide for COVID-19 recommends that you “consider taking a break from in-person dates” or dungeons and play parties and try “sexting, subscription-based fan platforms, sexy “Zoom parties” or chat rooms.” You can even find kink communities in fandom groups online. There are many safe, sane, and consensual options if you are lacking in person kink communities—communities where consent still applies.

Yes means yes—even when we are all spending our time indoors. There are safe kink communities out there, a few Google searches away.

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