Blanket Consent

Updated: MAY 30, 2017
Reviewed by Dr. Laura McGuire
on May 25, 2023

Blanket consent is a mutual agreement that consent will be voluntarily waived. In other words, comprehensive consent is given, ahead of time, for all acts and situations that will arise in the future. Once blanket consent is given, it is generally not revoked.

Blanket consent, as it applies to sexual relationships, is generally used in a BDSM context. It was originally used only in committed relationships, but in recent years has been controversially applied to play sessions as well. Some submissives will wear a collar to show their blanket consent.

Blanket consent is sometimes called consensual non-consent and metaconsent.

More About Blanket Consent

When people enter into a blanket consent arrangement, they generally do so without knowing what will transpire. This can be risky, especially as blanket consent tends to be irrevocable in most cases.

Because of these factors, blanket consent requires a high degree of trust and understanding on the part of the participants. As it leaves people open to potential abuse and safety risks, it is seen as a controversial arrangement in the BDSM community. Many feel that it gives a dominant the freedom to act against their submissive’s will. They add that due to the risks associated with BDSM interactions, consent should be explicit and ongoing.

However, some people in owner/property and 24/7 master/slave relationships happily operate under an agreement of blanket consent. Some members of the BDSM community even argue that blanket consent is inevitable for any long-term relationship, as the submissive will reach a level of deep trust where he or she knows that blanket consent is safe. However, it should take time, communication, and negotiation for a submissive to reach this level.

A submissive should not agree to blanket consent if they do not have the same likes and dislikes as their dominant. The submissive should also understand the dominant’s inner workings before agreeing to blanket consent.

In some corners of the online BDSM community, blanket consent has been applied to rape play with safe words. However, total power exchange lifestyle participants and some other members of the BDSM community do not approve of using blanket consent in this context, as they feel the lack of communication which comes from this agreement may lead to serious psychological harm.


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