So, I was hanging out on the internets today, as you do, when I read an article about beloved Texas governor, Rick Perry.
While disputing these demands he claims that these guidelines were made without consulting people that run prisons - apparently he forgot to talk to Brad Livingston, the gentleman in charge of Texas Corrections, who stated in 2010 after reviewing initial drafts of the guidelines that "[I]t is apparent the Department of Justice gave careful consideration to the comments submitted by many interested parties during 2010, the [Texas Department of Criminal Justice] has few issues relating to the proposed national standards."
Anyways, while this topic is important and I urge you to read more about it the reason I'm posting is this part of Mr. Perry's letter. He claims that since instituting their own guidelines that there was "an 84 percent decrease in the number of allegations of non-consensual sex acts" The Slate article I linked to disputes that number, but the reason for my post is his calling it "non-consensual sex acts."
That's fucked up terminology, and it needs to stop.
I call the genre I write it consensual non-consent. I do it partly to emphasize the consensual part, but frankly, it's mostly because I know that saying "rape play" or even "consensual rape play" will scare people off. Consensual non-consent sounds safer. And in the context of a loving, trusting relationship that's fine.
But when we're talking about real people that aren't consenting to the act? It's fucking rape. Or sexual assualt if there's no penetration. Calling it non-consensual sex acts makes it sound less bad. And it's not just Mr. Perry doing it. If you follow sports you've read about Darren Sharper pleading not guilty to rape while admitting to witnesses he'd had non-consensual sex.
Here's the thing: sex is awesome. Whether it's your spouse of twenty years, or a really cool hottie you just met and hit it off with, sex should be two (or more) people coming together to have fun with their bodies in a very intimate way. It can be loving, silly, or both!
Rape is a whole different ball of wax. I despise shows/books/etc. that describe a rape as "then he began having sex with her" I know it's more graphic to say "then he forced his penis inside her" but to me that's a far more accurate description (brief aside: yes, men can get raped too. Women can be rapists as well. Sorry to be heteronormative here, but I'm talking about the media we see, and the media usually covers men raping women.)
I was raped when I was 18. I did not have sex with my attacker. He raped me. I've had sex with other people both before and after him, and I refuse to use the word "sex" to describe what he did to me even if the physical mechanics were the same.
I've played consensual non-consent games. I've struggled underneath partners that taunted my inability to get out. It's still not the same as actual rape. All I had to do was say "safeword", and they would have stopped. Plus we'd discussed ahead of time exactly what was allowed and what wasn't. Those games are still sex or sexual activity depending on what we're doing. (Not all C/NC involves penile penetration - cue "the more you know" music.)
TL/DR - Rape is not sex so don't call it that. Don't even call it non-consensual sex. Just call it rape.