New Federal Consent Laws with Susan Wright-S04E27

Recorded: 3/20/2022 / Published: 10/14/2022
  • In this week’s episode of The Krypt we are learning about new federal laws defining consent and decriminalizing BDSM from Susan Wright, the head of the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom. 
  1. Safe, sane, consensual, and informed
  2. KNKI: Knowledge, No Intolerance, Kindness, Integrity
  3. “Submission is not about authority and it’s not about obedience; it is all about relationships of love and respect.” -Wm. Paul Young
  • – “New Federal Consent Laws with Susan Wright-S04E27”
  1. Important Links:
    1. The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom: 
    2. The American Law Institute: 
    3. The Evolution of the Model Penal Code “Consent” Definition: 
    4. Check out Susan’s first visit to our podcast: 
  2. Consent, as it is practiced in the BDSM communities, is accurately reflected in Section 213.10 of the MPC, with “Explicit Prior Permission” preventing criminal prosecution of activities that are truly consensual and do not result in serious injury. Permission is “explicit” when it is personally given, orally or by written agreement, along with:

(a) specifying that the actor may ignore the other party’s expressions of unwillingness or other absence of consent;

(b) identifying the specific forms and extent of force, restraint, or threats that are permitted; and

(c) stipulating the specific words or gestures that will withdraw the permission.

  1. Dick Cunningham has been assisting in the revision of the Model Penal Code on Sexual Assault as part of NCSF’s Consent Counts project, helping to establish this legal framework that acknowledges the use of safewords, protecting those who use them properly, and equipping prosecution for when they are violated or when serious harm is done. Survivors who are sexually assaulted during kink activities also may now be covered by “rape shield” laws, meaning that their prior sexual behavior with others generally can’t be used as evidence, reducing exposure to possible stigma attached to kink activities. 

“Without this change, BDSM practices, even when consensual, might still be violating the law,” says Susan Wright, Spokesperson for NCSF. “In fact, there is not a single appellate court decision in the U.S. that has accepted consent as a defense in an assault or abuse prosecution arising from BDSM conduct. This case law has established that using nipple clamps or dripping hot wax on someone constitutes ‘serious bodily injury,’ when in reality, these are relatively mild activities.” 

Section 213.10 may be cited in opinions and briefs in cases involving BDSM activities, even in states where the legislature has not adopted the MPC on Sexual Assault. 

  1. Needs explanation: the new MPC on Sexual Assault includes a general definition of consent for sexual activity, in which consent may be inferred from behavior—both action and inaction—in the context of all the circumstances. Neither verbal nor physical resistance is required to establish that consent is lacking, however, consent is ineffective when given by a person who is incompetent to consent or under circumstances precluding the free exercise of consent. 
  2. Explicit Prior Permission
Important Links:
  1. Full show notes:
  2. National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
  3. NCSF Kink Aware Professionals:
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