Intro to Consensual Non-Consent

Photo by Harshal Desai on Unsplash

Rape fantasies exist inside the minds of all sexes, in particular, female-identifying people. But why? Can it be explored safely? We find out…

A trigger warning for our readers before we begin. We will be discussing consensual non-consent in this article. Sometimes also referred to as ‘rape play’.

This involves consenting adults pretending not to consent to sexual activities. Please use your discretion on if this may still trigger you. 

Why explore non-consent play?

My personal take is that there is a primal element to these fantasies:  “the fantasy of submission reflects a desire to escape from the burden of self, from the chore of being responsible, and in charge of your own existence.”  

Some people feel shame around having these fantasies, but I believe they are just like other fantasies, and shouldn’t automatically be judged as “bad”.  I agree with one health writer, who said:

“What do rape fantasies mean? In my opinion, they are no different from any other fantasies. They are neither wrong nor perverted, they imply nothing about one’s mental health or real-life sexual inclinations. They just happen, to somewhere around half of women. If you have such fantasies and feel bad about them, I can’t tell you how to feel. But I can assure you that you are not alone. Rape or near-rape fantasies are surprisingly common.”

So, how does one go about fulfilling this fantasy when the subject is so tricky, taboo, and fraught with controversy?  


What is “CNC”?

Enter “consensual non-consent,” otherwise known as “CNC”. Personally, I am a big fan of CNC. It is not something I can talk about openly at parties. Not because I have any shame around my CNC kink, but because I am sensitive to sexual assault survivors and I never know how someone will take the mention of CNC, although there is evidence that some sexual assault survivors harbor these fantasies as well.  

As one psychologist put it:  “we may need to consider the possibility that this fantasy represents a normal, even a healthy, attempt by a person to regain some control over their sexuality, and the way in which their traumatic history affects them.”

CNC is a way to actually live out a rape fantasy IRL. There are some elements you should know before you even consider trying CNC.


CNC requires a partner you know and trust

First, let’s define the players in CNC. The person perpetrating the “fake rape” I will call the “top” and the person who is, let’s say, “receiving” the CNC, I will call the “bottom.”

CNC can be done between two loving and committed partners, or even with a friends-with-benefits type situation, so long as there is an incredible amount of trust. This should be someone you trust very deeply, and feel safe communicating anything with. Ideally, someone you have a solid sexual history with, regardless of the type of relationship. 


CNC requires specific consent and communication on steroids

Your level of communication must be at an all-time high. The top must get full and informed consent about every little detail prior to the CNC. Although this seems counter-intuitive and would break the spell of the CNC, it is vital.

YOU MUST HAVE A “SAFE WORD” AND A “SAFE SIGNAL.” A safe word is a word that is agreed upon ahead of time that means full stop of all activity. I use the word “red”.

A “safe signal” is a hand or body signal to be used when and if your bottom cannot speak the safe word (such as if there is something in his/her/their mouth like a gag). I usually use tapping several times in a row as a safe signal, or you can use a specific succession of grunts.


Discuss all the boundaries ahead of time: ie, what sex acts or physical acts (ie restraints, impact play, etc) are allowed, what areas of the body might be off limits, etc. If there are areas you are unsure about, do not guess – ask and discuss, this checklist can be very helpful. Advanced written consent is advised.

Start small – don’t jump in with a full-blown CNC session right away. Test the waters with a short session. Just one small overpowering act, like shoving them up against the wall and ripping or forcing some clothing off.   

Don’t undermine consent with alcohol or drugs

As a bottom, I will admit that I took a small shot of vodka prior to one of my CNC sessions just to loosen up. However, do not get buzzed or drunk or in any way impaired by drugs or alcohol prior to the CNC session.

That is playing with fire and is a no-no. I would recommend something soothing, but less inebriating, like CBD oil.

The spirit of “play” or “pretend” must always be present

CNC is essentially close to a total power exchange, which means one person (bottom) is giving all the power to the other (top). This can be really fun and provide a huge release for both partners, especially the bottom.

The fun only comes when this is done in the spirit of play – this is role play, and although setting the boundaries and consent ahead of time is a really serious conversation, the actual CNC session should be fun for both partners. (Tip for the bottom: choose clothing you don’t mind being torn off of you.)

How to have full consent and still feel overpowered

As is true with most things, your fantasy cannot be played out exactly in real life. You might be wondering: how can this feel like a “rape” if there is all this talking ahead of time and consent required?  

Answer? Improv.

What you say to your bottom, ie, “swooning victim”, is important here. Get into their head. This requires planning and some thought, but when you are in the moment, you need to just trust your instinct. Whisper things in the bottom’s ear that they had not anticipated. The bottom can also surprise the top by trying different things to escape, fight, or even try to pin down their top!

Another way is to include an element of surprise as to when the CNC will happen. For example, you could set the date for the CNC session, but not tell the exact time. My CNC top and I chose a date in the middle of the night, but I didn’t know what time. So that built up a lot of anticipation and surprise. Some people like to include an abduction to their CNC (again, it must be consensual).

Extended aftercare is a must

“Aftercare” requires that after the CNC session, the top not only communicate about what just occurred and “check in” on the bottom’s emotional and physical state, but also provide some touch and reassurance so that they know that what just happened was play…it was not real. 

This goes back to consent and communication: you must communicate what aftercare will entail, and schedule lots of time after the session for aftercare. Cuddles, cups of tea, fuzzy blankets, and words of affirmation are aftercare classics, but do what suits you best. 


The more intense the CNC, the more aftercare is required. Encourage the bottom to talk about what they liked and didn’t like immediately after the CNC. My advice is to ask “what did you like the most?” and then after they answer, ask “what did you not like as much?”. In addition, the days after the CNC there should be check-ins and communication.


If you carefully plan and know your partner’s desires and limits and follow these safeguards,
you will have a good chance of a having a safe, hot, steamy and successful CNC that can be fun,
cathartic and incredibly erotic!


Emily Anne is a bestselling author, sex coach and educator, who specializes in helping people expand their sexual horizons through BDSM and kink. When she’s not obsessively talking about sex, she’s hiking through the Hollywood Hills. Get some sexy education on her Instagram feed
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