How to Seduce with Consent
By Susan Wright, Chairperson for the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom
When you’re kinky, it can be confusing to know what to say to someone you’re attracted to, especially if you don’t want to come off as a pushy or creepy. In fact, the best way to seduce someone is with consent. Just follow these tips and you’ll find it’s easy to talk about what you like.
Don’t Rely on Body Language
First, you can’t trust body language when it comes to sex. That’s because it’s too easy to misinterpret body language as a “yes” when really it’s your own desire that is influencing what you think you see. Another problem with body language is that people don’t always mean what you mean with a shrug or smile. For example, some people smile when they’re uncomfortable or embarrassed, not because they’re happy or into it.
Use Consent as Foreplay
To get consent, you have to use your words. Some people complain that talking about sex ruins the spontaneity. It’s actually the opposite. Talking about your fantasies and sharing your turn-ons is the best foreplay ever. It puts you both on the same page, ready for a fabulous experience. It’s much riskier to rely on chemistry and mind-reading, because that can lead to unmet expectations and missed connections.
Consent Means Listening
You may have a fantasy you’re dying to share, something you really like or always wanted to try. Being open is a great thing, but when you’re seducing with consent, you need to make sure you’re not pushing your own desires on someone else. You have to create an experience together for it to be consensual. The best way to do that is to listen first.
Instead of giving them a blow by blow of your own favorite fantasy, just wet their appetite by saying you’re into power exchange or rough sex. Then ask, “Have you ever fantasized about that?” It’s less threatening to pose the question as a fantasy, otherwise it can come off as pressuring someone to confess what they’ve done before. You need to build trust for that first.
Do Your Homework!
You have a big advantage if your potential play partner already has a FetLife account. Don’t squander it! Read their profile, and really pay attention to what they’re looking for. Are you both compatible? Are you on the right side of the slash and their desired orientation & gender? If so, ask about something they’ve said in their profile, or a fetish that they’ve listed, or a group that they belong to.
But what if you’re a rope bunny who’s met someone on OkCupid who says they like being in control, but they don’t mention kink? Don’t wait until you’re having sex to bring up BDSM. Once those juices get flowing, nobody is in the right state of mind to consent to something new.
Negotiating with Consent
It’s not enough to agree that you want to get kinky together - you need to talk about what you want to do together. You can break the ice by saying you believe deeply in consent, and want to make sure that they are into discussing this. If they are, then take the plunge and ask, “Have you ever restrained someone?” or “Has anyone ever tied you with a silk scarf or tie?” If they indicate any kind of interest, that’s great! Find out how they feel about, and tell them how it makes you feel.
Take Your Time
You can seduce someone with consent over dessert, or over several weeks through text and messaging. Talk about your own toys—bondage rope that runs like satin on the skin or fur-lined cuffs that are super comfortable to wear. While you’re sharing pics and texting, keep checking in by saying, “I want this to be good for you. Do you like this?”
Put the Ball in their Court
The goal is to opt-in when you negotiate, rather than focus on hard limits - you both have to agree on the things you want to do together. You can say, “I’d like to do this with you. What would make you comfortable enough to try something like this with me?” If they say anything other than Yes! Here’s how... like, “I don’t know,” or “I’m not sure,” then encourage them to keep talking about their feelings. You have to hear their fears and doubts to understand where they’re coming from before you can get onto the same page.
Safewords are Key
Always share your safewords before you play, just in case plain speech fails you. It can also be tough to say no when you’re in a submissive headspace. Intense sensations can trigger emotions and reactions you may not expect, so everyone needs an escape hatch.
Consent Can Be Withdrawn
Since anyone can stop what’s happening at any time, make sure to check in during the scene, especially when you’re switching activities. You don’t want to go to fast and leave consent behind. For example, if you’re going to give someone a paddling, first start with your hand to warm up the skin and get the endorphins going. Then ask them if they want more. Only if they say yes, then you can use the paddle. Another tip - if they’re a newbie or nervous, you can start with a fur paddle that will help your bottom relax and lean into the sensation.
Using Consent in Power Exchange
Consent can also help enhance your power exchange. For example, when you’re playing with a wireless vibrator you can start out by telling your partner to insert the bullet in themself. Then tell them to turn it on and how high to turn it. You stay in control as they actively consent by doing as you say. Then ask them to give you the remote control.
You can also put out an array of toys that you’ve both agreed to play with, and ask the bottom to choose. Tell them to ask for it if they want it. Beg for it! That’s consent.
Aftercare is a Must
Aftercare is important because it brings everyone back to a good mental and emotional state. Some people may want to be cuddled, while others want to be left alone for a while. Always talk about it before you play so you know what aftercare feels best for everyone involved. Again, opt-in to what’s being done in aftercare, so nobody is surprised when someone wants to get sexy as you cuddle.
Continue to seduce with consent by checking in the next day to talk about what you liked and didn’t like and what could make it better next time. That keeps the seduction going so you can play again!
For more information on consent, check out NCSF’s Consent Counts program and consider making a donation.