When it comes to kinks, a CNC fetish may sound intense because it has its own acronym and can come with some baggage. CNC stands for consensual non-consent, which means that you’re into the idea of playing out a non-consensual encounter with your partner… but one that you’ve previously established and consented to.
It’s effectively a type of roleplay in that way. But because consent has been a major topic of conversation in the zeitgeist recently, and rightly so, the idea of pairing the words “non-consent” with “fetish” can raise some eyebrows.
So let’s talk about this kink in depth to get rid of any misconceptions you might have about it and help fill you in if it’s something you’re interested in exploring.
Is CNC Problematic?
Now that we’ve touched on what CNC is, let’s get this question out of the way first and foremost. There’s a bit of a pervasive feeling that there’s something harmful, anti-feminist, or otherwise problematic about being interested in CNC.
But the truth is, in addition to there being no connection between mental disorders and sexual kinks, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be dominated or treated roughly in bed. There isn’t even anything wrong with wanting to roleplay a scenario where you’re raped or otherwise overpowered.
It doesn’t make you a bad person. It doesn’t mean you’re interested in violence in other scenarios. It doesn’t mean you have low self-esteem or you want to be treated poorly. It also doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy slow, sensual, emotional sex at other times.
The reality is you like what you like, and as long as your sex is safe, sane, and consensual, no one should judge what gets you off.
What About Rape Fantasies?
While rape fantasies can be a part of your CNC fetish, it isn’t the whole of CNC. There are many ways to explore an interest in rough or CNC play that don’t involve simulations of rape or similar interactions if that’s not what you're into.
That said, as long as all parties are enthusiastically consenting and your communication is healthy and honest, there isn’t anything wrong with exploring a rape fantasy with your partner. If that excites you, it doesn’t mean that you actually fantasize about raping, assaulting, or otherwise hurting your partner — someone you care about.
It’s most likely representative of a desire to explore deeper themes that are actually turning you on, so let’s explore that more in the next section.
Why Does CNC Turn You On?
Whether or not you’re self-conscious about it, you may wonder why consensual non-consent is so appealing to you. There are many reasons, not the least of which is wanting to explore a new variation of rough sex, which studies show is an extremely common interest that many people of any gender and sexuality enjoy.
CNC fetishes can be about power — but not necessarily in the way that you think! It can be about surrendering your power to another person and feeling vulnerable in allowing them to have control over you in a way that’s still safe and comfortable.
In that way, a CNC kink can be about reclaiming power for the submissive party, too. Because while you might think at first glance that the submissive party is disempowered in this scenario, even if consensually, it’s actually the submissive party who controls the scene.
They get to set their parameters; they have control over when to stop and how to engage — so while there’s a knee-jerk reaction to think of CNC play as negative, it can actually be a really healthy and empowering experience for everyone involved.
How Can You Engage in Your CNC Kink Safely?
The first step to trying out your CNC kink is talking to your partner. This doesn’t just mean a quick conversation where you vaguely state your interest. As a prelude to any CNC play, you should have a comprehensive conversation with your partner. This conversation should include boundaries, safe words, and an in-depth exploration of what you both want to get from this experience.
After all, the keyword in CNC is consensual. You’ll want to do as much due diligence as possible, even if it feels like overkill, to ensure that no lines get blurred in the heat of the moment.
Another useful tool can be making a “yes, no, maybe” list with your partner, so going into a CNC scene, you’re already aware of which things are definitely on the table, which are hard nos, and which may be appropriate depending on mood and scenario.
You can also ease into your exploration of consensual non-consent by engaging in some light BDSM before escalating to more intense scenes.
For instance, blindfolding your partner with our Fifty Shades of Grey Sweet Anticipation Blindfold is perfect for flirting with CNC before fully engaging. By blindfolding your partner, they won’t be able to be as in control of the situation as they would otherwise.
You’ll have to guide them and have more influence on how your sexual situation plays out. It creates a sense of submissiveness and anticipation without actually restricting your partner in any physical way.
Another option is slapping these Fifty Shades of Grey Sweet Anticipation Ankle Cuffs on your partner (with their approval, of course!) can be a great way to introduce the idea of one partner being submissive and the other being more dominant.
From there, you can combine these small degrees of restraint with rougher play if that’s what you want. Once you’re both comfortable with the scenes and parameters and safe in the knowledge that you’ll respect one another’s boundaries, you can discuss fuller CNC scenarios that you’d like to try.
As with any kind of fetish or kink, it’s also important to keep the communication going throughout. Because part of your CNC play might be making a show of protesting your partner’s advances or trying to resist them physically, you’ll want to be extra careful to check in after any scenes and re-establish expectations, boundaries, and safe words before playing even if you’ve engaged in CNC before.
Someone may have given you consent for something a few days ago and had a great time, but it’s important not to assume that this hasn’t changed. Especially with high-intensity play, it’s crucial to constantly check in outside the scene so that you’re safe to explore your fantasies within the scene.
If you have a CNC fetish, there can be a lot of shame involved in bringing it up to a partner or even in playing it out once you’ve had that conversation. But the truth is, your sexual kinks don’t make any huge statements about you.
And there’s nothing wrong with wanting to indulge in specific fetishes in the bedroom! Everybody has their kinks; many people fantasize about and engage in rough sex all the time.
When carried out safely, a CNC kink can be a fun way to explore power and vulnerability with your partner, bringing you closer. And that seems like a good thing in our books!
What Is Rough Sex, Who Does It, and Who Likes It? Findings from a Probability Sample of the U.S. Undergraduate Students | National Library of Medicine
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders | American Psychiatric Association
BDSM Disclosure and Stigma Management: Identifying Opportunities for Sex Education | American Journal of Sexuality Education