What Is Consensual Non-Consent?

What Is Consensual Non-Consent?

Sarah Riccio

Maybe you've heard of consensual non-consent and want to learn more about it, or perhaps you've always had CNC fantasies but never knew what to call them! Whatever brings you to this guide, I'm here to answer all your questions about consensual non-consent.

Come along as I breakdown the essential information about consensual non-consent, including what it is, why people enjoy it, and how to safely incorporate your CNC kink into partnered play.  

What Is Consensual Non-Consent?

Consensual non-consent, commonly referred to as CNC, is a type of roleplay that emulates some form of forced activity. Simply put, CNC involves two or more adults pretending to engage in non-consensual activity. Make no mistake: Consent is fully and enthusiastically established before and throughout play. Every time.

CNC roleplay typically involves sex of some kind, whether it be oral, anal, vaginal, or any other sex you can think of. Many people incorporate consensual non-consent into rape fantasies wherein penetrative sex is "forced."

In all CNC scenarios — rape play, especially — it is mandatory for players to have a safeword, which is a word or phrase that can be invoked to end a scene immediately. We'll discuss safewords in greater detail later but, for now, think of them as an emergency brake.

More: Learn about BDSM Safety

Some folks explore CNC in ways that don't involve sex or nudity at all. For example, the dominant player might command their partner to silently stand in the corner as punishment. Again, no one is actually forced to comply in this scenario, but it's common for the submissive to feign reluctance and refusal.

Before we move onto the next section, it bears repeating that CNC is completely different from real-life sexual assault or other forms of forced sex. Forced, non-consensual sex is not part of BDSM in any way. All CNC (and kink in general) involves consenting adults who negotiate and agree upon terms before and throughout play.

Now, you might be wondering: What's the appeal behind consensual non-consent, anyway? Well, let's take a closer look at why CNC is such a commonly enjoyed kink.

Why do people like consensual non-consent

Why People Enjoy Consensual Non-Consent

Consensual non-consent fantasies are more common than you might think, with 61% self-identified women having fantasized about it at least once. As with all kinks and fetishes, everyone has their own reasons for enjoying different types of CNC play. (1)

That said, there are some common pleasure threads within CNC dynamics, including power play, fantasy fulfillment, exploration of the taboo, and healing past trauma.

Learn more: What Does Safe, Sane, and Consensual Mean?

Fantasy fulfillment

Many people are drawn to consensual non-consent because it allows them to explore sexually deviant behavior in a safe environment. Obviously, no one wants to be raped; but if someone has a rape fantasy, the safest way to explore that is within the controlled context of CNC.

Not everyone who enjoys consensual non-consent has a rape fantasy, though. Some people simply find pleasure in exploring dominant and submissive power dynamics through CNC kink. Remember: CNC roleplay can involve power exchange without sex of any kind.

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The taboo factor

Another thing that draws people to consensual non-consent is the taboo factor. Engaging in something considered "forbidden" by society can heighten arousal for those who are turned on by the concept of "sexually deviant" behavior and doing things they're not "supposed to" do.

Sexual behavior that's considered outside the realm of what society deems "normal" is a consistent theme throughout all of kink and BDSM. Remember: the word kink itself implies something that is not straight or in line with typical convention.

Watch: What's the Difference Between a Kink and a Fetish?

Coping with past trauma

In some cases, folks use CNC roleplay as a way to process past traumas or regain control over situations where they felt powerless. However, it's essential to approach this with caution and ensure that all partners are emotionally and mentally prepared.

While consensual non-consent can be a healing way to work through trauma, it is not a substitute for professional therapy. If you do choose to explore CNC as a coping mechanism, it is extra important for all players to establish trust and effective communication strategies before engaging in play.

Consensual non-consent

Establishing Trust and Safety for CNC Play

Consensual non-consent roleplay is not something you can just jump into on a whim. In fact, it's common for couples to draw up documents that outline safewords, terms, and agreements before engaging in power play of any kind.

While it isn't necessary to put anything in writing, one thing is for sure: the more prepared you are for a CNC scene, the more likely it is to be seamless, sexy, and safe.

Learn more: BDSM Red Flags

Importance of Pre-Scene Negotiation

When you and your partner explore consensual non-consent together, one of the first things you'll do is negotiate wants, needs, safewords, hard and soft limits, and anything else you feel compelled to discuss. Negotiating your CNC scene beforehand isn't just important for creating a safe space — it's necessary.

An example of something you might discuss during negotiation is punishment and reward. Most kink scenes that involve dominant/submissive roles incorporate protocol wherein the "Dom" either punishes or rewards their submissive, depending on their behavior.

More: Explore the ins and outs of dominant and submissive relationships!

Common punishments include things like spanking, flogging, and degrading language. Frequently used rewards are praise, kisses, allowing a partner to have an orgasm, and gifts.

Spanking may also be used as a reward! Remember that every partnership can design its own terms. As long as all players give enthusiastic consent, you're free to dictate the nature of your kink relationships.

Of course, consent can be revoked at any time, regardless of any prior negotiation. For example, if you consent to receiving a spanking as punishment, but change your mind when it's time to be spanked, that is completely fine. The submissive player enjoys being submissive and should never be forced to do something they don't want to do.

If can be difficult to distinguish if a player is expressing genuine discomfort or pretending to be upset for the sake of a roleplay scene. That's where safewords come in. 

Setting up Safewords for CNC Scenes

While negotiation is a big part of understanding and communicating boundaries, establishing safewords is the best way to ensure that consent is never violated. A safeword is a word, phrase, or signal that commands all play to stop immediately

Safewords are established before a scene and are non-negotiable. If someone invokes their safeword during play, their partner should not suggest that they try to continue. Think of a using a safeword as a quick way to communicate a hard stop.

A safeword might also be a hand gesture, which can be the best method if verbal communication is impaired due to bondage or use of a mouth gag. Your safeword can also mean slow down instead of stop. Many people use the word red to mean stop, and yellow to mean they need a break, but don't want the scene to stop completely. 

There is no limit to how many safewords you can come up with, but it's important that you pick words and gestures that are easy to remember, and that all players are fully aware of each safeword and its meaning before play begins.

Learn about emotional self-care strategies

Checking In During a Scene

In addition to establishing safewords, it's essential to maintain open communication throughout a CNC kink experience. Regularly check in with your partner during the scene to make sure they're feeling good, have everything they need, and want to continue. 

It's also good to debrief afterward to discuss what worked well, as well as areas that might need adjustment for future scenes. This debriefing should happen after aftercare, which is still very much a part of play.

Learn: What Is Aftercare?

Remember: aftercare is a time to bask in the warmth and affection of each other, tend to any sore areas on the body, and come down from the high of subspace and Domspace. Aftercare also helps to build a foundation of confidence, trust, and open dialogue, which all serve to enhance the quality of relationships in general. 

Final Thoughts

Now that you're an expert on CNC, you might feel ready to give it a try! Just remember that establishing safewords and consistently confirming consent is the key to a safe and pleasurable experience. Remember to prioritize each other's wants and needs and enjoy plenty of aftercare.

In the meantime, don't forget to follow Delicto on Instagram and TikTok for more product reviews, tutorials, and sex education. If any questions arise, you can always reach out for a consultation. Play safe, everybody!