Consent vs Safe Word

One of the first and most important lessons I learned when I began training as a professional dominatrix in New York City was the concept of consent.

One word, seven letters, so much power!

I was always the one in my group of friends who’d get everyone excited about doing stuff…movies, trips, adventures, parties, cutting school, you name it.  When one of my friends would say no to any of my ideas I would always try to convince them to say yes.  And if they insisted I’d somehow manipulate the situation and get the yes I so badly wanted.  Little me felt so proud and powerful.

A few years ago I found myself researching the world of BDSM and training to become a professional dominatrix in New York City (you can follow my journey in SWITCH the Series).  I was quite taken by what I had read about the BDSM Industry….It was this mysterious, secretive, intoxicating and very misunderstood world I wanted to enter and experience for myself.

I had no idea what I was signing up for and how my life, my view of the world and my newly found understanding of human nature would change me forever.  And I mean this in the best possible way!

It’s my first week at work and I’m training at a legit Manhattan based BDSM Establishment near Bryant Park.  One of my managers calls me in their office and says to me:

“Kassandra (my pro domme name), when your submissive says no, you have to listen.  You have to respect that they’ve reached their limit and stop whatever it is that you’re doing.  Do you understand?”

I had already learned about the customers using the “safe word”, but I liked pushing people over their limits and quickly replied:

“What about the safe word?  I’ll stop when the customer uses their safe word.  I know this much.”
Let’s face it, I had no f***ing clue what I was doing!

My manager, seemingly annoyed, replied:

“Did you not hear what I just said?  If a customer says no, or stop, you do just that.  These men come here to heal, to let our their pain, their trauma.  This place is a sanctuary for them.  They feel safe when they’re here.  They can get very emotional during a session and feel extremely vulnerable.   People forget their safe word all the time.  Your job is to keep them safe and to respect their boundaries.  Got it?”

I did get it.  It was actually very simple but no one had explained it to me that way before.  Everybody gets it sooner or later.  When we say yes, we mean just that.  When we say no?  You guessed it, we mean no.

The conversation we’re having about consent, yet again, is one we should not have to have every couple of weeks.  Not at this time and age.  Same with the conversation about “boys will be boys”, “he was young, what did you expect?” and so many more.  We’ve all heard them before.

Friends, it all starts at home.  We all need to take responsibility for teaching one another to do and be better.  We must step up and hold each other accountable as well as our children, our family members, our friends, our school mates, our neighbors, our leaders.

I invite you to explore the BDSM world and experience it the way I did.  It’s an authentic and unique point of view.  It’s one that treats all people with respect.  It’s a beautiful world where men and women listen carefully to what the other person communicates and act accordingly — always from a place of love and respect.

Season 1 of the stimulating and compelling new series SWITCH is now available exclusively here.

Please share this newsletter with someone you care about…you never know what they’re really going through and how this may help them.

With love + respect,
Stavroula Toska

Invite your friends to check out SWITCH!