Fucking Up

By Guy New York


One of the first times we played at party I slapped her across the
face as we fucked on the floor in a semi-crowded room. It was playful,
although it had more force than I had intended. She moaned and kissed me
as we continued our scene, and it wasn’t until days later that she
told me I had surprised her.

“You’ve never slapped me before, and you didn’t really ask.”

I stood there with my mouth open, wondering if possibly that was true.
Had I really never done that before? Had I not asked? Fuck, what the
hell was wrong with me and how could that have happened? We talked
through it, I apologized, and we discovered that she occasionally
liked a good face slap. But, talking was important, and I hadn’t done
it. I had, in fact, seriously fucked up.

It wasn’t the end of the world for us, and in some ways it helped us
get better at communicating, but it was a reminder that sometimes we
make mistakes. Sometimes I make mistakes, and when it comes to kink,
those mistakes can often be bigger than I expect. Even in the most
consensual play, there is plenty of room to miss each other, to push
too hard, tighten too much, or simply make a bad choice. Add in
alcohol, and it gets even messier.

It’s no surprise that kinky people are often some of the best when it
comes to talking about consent. We tend to process a lot, communicate
well, and check in often to make sure we are still on the same page.
But, after years of play, hundreds of parties, and more than a few
partners, we’ve also seen our fair share of mistakes, fuck-ups, and
down right abuse. We’ve been pushed harder than we like, and we’ve
done our share of pushing.

But, when we talk about it in public, when we write articles, offer
interviews, or pen books, we tend to end up in a black and white
space. Either there is or there isn’t consent, and anything else is
unacceptable. And as we move towards an “Enthusiastic Consent” model,
it becomes even blurrier and more difficult, because the reality is
every single one of us has had sex that didn’t involve enthusiasm of
any kind. Whether it was guilty sex, shameful sex, trying to save our
marriage sex, or simply tired lazy sex that we could have passed on,
we’ve been in that gray area more than we’d like to admit.

We can’t have a conversation about a thing without talking about
our own experience, and as much as we’d like the world to be
perfect, it isn’t. Conversations about anything that leave out our
mistakes, our errors, our shames, and our fuck-ups paint a picture
that leads towards more isolation. “Maybe I’m the only one who’s
experienced that,” we think, as we pull back. “It must mean that I did
something wrong. I’m sure they would have known if only I was as good
at this as everyone else.”

Talking about our mistakes isn’t easy. Admitting them isn’t fun. And
calling out friends and partners can feel nearly impossible. But if we
want to play in safe spaces, if we want to build a community that
thrives on trust, we need to be more honest than we’re comfortable
with. Not to make us feel better about doing the wrong thing, but
instead, to connect us as a group of fallible people who experience a
wide range of thoughts, feelings, and sensations as we embark on this
mission of continued discovery. If we want the world to become a safe
place, we need to admit when it isn’t, hold each other accountable
with as much strength and kindness as we can muster, and not pretend
that things are anything other than what they are.

I’ve fucked up. And I’m pretty sure you have too. If we talk now,
we can make sure that the wrong slap, the unwanted touch, and the too
forceful kiss don’t end up becoming habits. If we talk now, when our
mistakes can sometimes be fixed, when our poor communication can
improve, and when our errors are hopefully not life-altering, we can
make sure they don’t turn into abuse.