I love that tail, where’d you get it? *pulls tail*
Those tattoos are so pretty, did they hurt? *grabs and twists arm*
Damn, I bet your precum tastes just like candy. *grabs crotch*
Every one of those quotes is something I’ve experienced personally or witnessed being done to someone else. The longer I’ve been in this community, the more it has surprised me to not see more consent being obtained before touching another person. While it’s definitely not an issue strictly in the leather community, it seems to me that our community would be the place I’d see more discussion of consent.
Most of the time, touching someone without consent is not malicious. It is almost always an innocent show of affection or connection for another human being. Coming from a pup’s perspective, I can’t say how many times I’ve had someone grab my butt, crotch, or hood. Growing up a fat kid, I’ve always relished in physical attention when I got it. But the older I got, and now identifying at least some of the time as a collared pup, anytime someone touches me without asking me or my handler it makes me uncomfortable and I’m not quite sure how to react. It leaves me in a weird bit of limbo.
While I do spend some of my time as a pup, I spend most of my time as a Handler. Because of that, I see things from the other side, as well. I see the anxiety it creates in my pup when someone he doesn’t know touches him, and it pushes me into protection mode. Those that know me, know I am very protective of my family, and know that I can get pretty loud. I’ve come to realize in most situations that is not the answer. Instead, it’s far better to handle things as politely as possible, and use it as an opportunity to teach someone.
I do think it is incumbent on those in our community to educate people - both people in the community, and people outside the community that are unfamiliar with the idea of a obtaining consent before touching someone. In my experience, most of the time this happens in bars, and it’s always a more difficult situation when alcohol is involved. Even with all of the noise, crowding, and alcohol, there is still the opportunity to teach someone. It’s important to educate people that it is not a simple personal bubble issue, but can actually be triggering for some individuals and is an important concern that falls on all of us to address.
That education doesn’t have to be complicated. For a collared pup or sub, a quick ‘may I’ asked of the handler or Master. For anyone else, a simple ‘do you mind’ can go a long way. A lot of people are not affected by random touches from strangers, but you never know the experiences of the people around you, so it’s always a good idea to ask. I think helping people to understand this is an important goal for our community, and for me as a Handler and pup.
All images provided by kagewear.