Kink in exile

Notes from a kinky nomad

Don’t touch!

I used to have a custom made button that said “don’t touch without asking, if I say no stop asking.” I am a very friendly kind of girl, but one thing I can not deal with is people who will touch without permission. I don’t just mean blatantly sexual touch either; I don’t want you to slap my back any more than I want you to slap my ass unless I said you could.

Why do people think it’s ok to touch without permission?  And why does this happen a lot more in mainstream interactions than kink or other alt sex circles?  Do other people find this to be the case as well?  I mean there are plenty of people in alt sex circles who will push boundaries, but in my expirience even they understand that consent is a community norm.  The common scenario in my expirience with mainstream circles is that someone will touch me in a way I find inappropriate, I will ask them to stop and they will at best look a little confused but stop, but more often than not say something to the effect of “oh I don’t mean it that way” and continue the behavior.

How does being in the mainstream give you license do things like this?  And does this mean that I can get drunk, slap my vanilla friends on the ass, assure them that I don’t mean anything by it and that will be acceptable?

Written by kinkinexile

July 6, 2007 at 10:36 am

Posted in exile, personal

5 Responses

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  1. I sympathize with you! Since I’m male and you’re female you probably have more of a problem than I do, but I have noticed that there are people who simply cannot communicate without laying hands on you. It’s not sexual (at the most it’s affection) but they simply HAVE to touch. They may not even realize they’re doing it.

    Touching is sexual to me. Although I have been known to express affection by touching, most of my touching is meant to be sensuous or arousing. And I damned well don’t get sensuous or erotic with people I don’t KNOW will welcome it! I suspect you are the same way.

    I try to keep away from the “touchers.” I don’t think there’s any other way of handling it.

    The Incompleat Curmudgeon

    The Curmudgeon

    July 6, 2007 at 11:35 am

  2. Yes, I agree. Why is touching more okay in not-kinky circles? Because many children are taught that touch is a good thing, and signals community and familiarity, which are in turn good things. Grooming and all that. Kink groups and some alt-sex groups (swingers are an exception) have an additional set of manners to learn that overwrites normal manners to a degree. Most of the time, I think that’s a loss, but touching rules are an improvement.

    Although the touching without permission thing can be taken a little too far. When you casually embrace your longtime partner and six people squeal “No! Bad kinkster! Don’t touch without permission!” that, in my mind, also intrudes on my boundaries.

    Body language might work like your button, although if you carry yourself in a way that discourages touching, it will also likely discourage other kinds of familiarity that you may want.


    July 7, 2007 at 3:53 pm

  3. I succumb to the guilt trip… Yes, you can slap your vanilla friends on the ass and it doesn’t mean anything :). *Pauses to remember that she may be the only vanilla friend….* Pam (when we used to live in the same city) regularly slapped my butt, humped me, and when drunk, grabbed my boobs. For that matter, so did Chrissy… and none of us are lesbians… back to that human sexuality being fluid rather than static…

    Anyhow, touching is a cultural phenomenon, which you well know. What’s acceptable in Latin America is not in the US is not in Asia, etc. And then there’s friends v. lovers v. coworkers. It’s all very complicated and personal.

    Like, I’m perfectly fine with my friend M. at work giving me a hug and a kiss when he sees me, but at the last fancy event, he put his arm around me (that’s ok) and started touching my hair (not ok). I associate hair and face with intimacy (only allowed to family, close friends, and lovers), but he probably didn’t mean anything by it except that my hair was under his hand and it was soft so he touched it. And I figured it would be more awkward to say something about it rather than not, so I just smiled and then said I need to refill my glass and left, because I really can’t be explaining all this at a work party.


    July 7, 2007 at 6:52 pm

  4. I don’t think it’s necessarily a function of the fact that this is an understanding of the boundaries of touch, but rather an understanding of what boundaries and limits are in general, and an awareness that other people’s boundaries may not be the same as your own.

    I find alternative sexuality communities much more communicative about boundaries, touch or otherwise, than mainstream communities. In the mainstream world, you are taught only that some boundaries are not to be crossed and others are, not how to negotiate what are acceptable boundaries. That’s the difference, I think.


    July 8, 2007 at 2:38 pm

  5. I’m inclined to agree with Renata.

    Culture and context are really everything. To contrast, when I’ve had conversations with numerous Brazilians, it feels to me as if their “personal bubble” is much smaller than my white suburban counterparts. To place one’s hand on someone else’s shoulder while in conversation is usually felt to be a friendly act of communication/connection. In contrast, if I were to do that to an average white-suburban person, they might feel it to be a big invasion of their personal space. In essence, what defines acceptable touch and personal space differs from culture to culture. In the instance I mentioned, touch is such a non-issue that some might even feel surprised or shocked if someone expressed their discomfort at such a gesture.


    July 10, 2007 at 12:19 am

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