“Fifty Dollars not of 50 Shades” is the hash tag my 16 year old Lil has been rallying for this past week. I am out to her in an age appropriate way and with the release of “that movie” and all the advertising that has gone with it I found myself in some very interesting conversations with her, which while not unusual at times the conversation was uncomfortable. It’s not always easy to articulate our own actions and desires in a safe and nonthreatening way to someone outside the community, it is even harder to do for those we love. After all until this week most everything she considered me going to was rope, and whatever that meant to her. We would go on to discuss not only her views on the movie and the portrayal of the relationship contained in it as abuse but for the first time we would spend several hours over a few days discussing exactly what it is I do in a way like never before. Deciding what and how to share it was one of the most challenging things I have done as a parent. It was important to be honest, and comfortable and at the same time selective with what I shared.
Not surprisingly Lil was very well read on all the talking points about why she was against said production. She went into detail, cited her sources, talking about a variety things in a very mature and open way. After a silence she added “I don’t think it is a very accurate reflection of your lifestyle. Are you offended by it?” Well fuck it got real very quickly and my time as a listener was obviously over.
Then she brought up my relationships and activities. It ranged from how do I feel about A, how long have I been close to B, do I get jealous of L &M and then a little while later she asked. “Do you hit X?” Admitting that I did and beginning to search for a way frame the nature of it in a generic way so she understood I didn’t just walk up and cold cock said person. Before I could though she prompted me “So how do you know what she likes?” Looking at Lil who was measuring my answer and listening closely “well we talked about it, actually we talked about it a lot, and before we played together we discussed specifics of what was and was not okay in our case. It is something we do in some form every time.”
She looked at me “So that is how you got her consent”? Which led to an hour long conversation in and of itself about consent not being permanent, that it has to be given every time, etc. It was really a strange conversation as I tried to explain it in detail yet in a vanilla and age appropriate way. It led to the concept of negotiation with me using candy as an example instead of actual activities. Snickers, Reeses, and Three Musketeers served as stand ins for kinks.
She then went on to ask about a few people she suspected I had played with and added “what are their safe words?” Hmmm the kid knew about safe words…guess it wasn’t that shocking.
Without missing a beat I rattled them off adding in if I pick its “key lime pie” and how that has become a bit of a running joke. Lil laughed commenting that all of them were funny to her. So we talked and talked and talked.
Then came the one question that I had never considered, the one thing I had not really done a good job of representing, and a gap that occurred because of my own orientation and interests. “Do you have female friends that are Tops? Like you…and do they play with men?” Really for all the things I do right how’d I miss that one? Explaining of course there were and she even knew a few but didn’t realize it.
“You still need to teach me to throw a whip” she’s been asking for years, I’m not really a whip guy so relenting I told her I’ll teach her to safely crack the whip I do have and if she really wants to learn I’d go to a local family friendly event with that theme. Then maybe I’d take her and let her learn from someone there.
It’s not the first time I’d done the kink 101 talk but it was the first time I’d done it with her and in such detail. I’m glad she is comfortable talking about most things with me. I’m very lucky that way and hope she can remain as open minded as she is is now.