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Consent occurs when all parties involved in a sexual act give permission to participate in specific acts or specific types of relationships. For many partners, consent may be as simple as asking if it's okay to touch a partner in a certain way and only doing so when the partner says "yes." Consent is an important aspect of sexual relationships because it helps ensure that all people are respected and feel safe.
In BDSM, consent tends to be obtained through detailed negotiation before a scene (either by contract or verbal agreement) and maintained by using safe words during a scene. This is because BDSM play often pushes more personal boundaries and involves play that may be uncomfortable, painful or even dangerous. Consent can be revoked at any point during a BDSM scene or relationship.
Taking the concept of consent one step further, those in the BDSM community often use the term informed consent. Informed consent means all parties are able to give consent and are aware of all necessary facts prior to granting consent. Generally, a person cannot grant informed consent if they are mentally incapable, under the legal age of consent, not fully informed of the risks involved, not told the truth about partners involved, etc.
BDSM is based on mutual consent between all adults involved. It is important to note that BDSM practiced without fully informed consent is considered abuse.