Originally posted on September 25, 2018; updated on December 5, 2022
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When I first started getting in touch with my kinky side and learning about BDSM, I became obsessed with consensual nonconsent (CNC). I thought CNC—also known as rape or ravishment fantasies—would be the ultimate way to lose control. By obsessed I mean I thought about it daily, researched it constantly, and knew it was something I needed to do. I started reading Casual Encounters on Craigslist regularly (back when that section still existed) to see what my options might be. Ultimately I was too scared to go that route, though, and it wasn’t until I met Vagabond that I was able to make my dream come true.
Communication is key when planning a CNC BDSM scene, and the more the better. It may not sound sexy to discuss every little detail in advance, but doing so will help you enjoy the scene in the moment that much more.
Think of it as akin to choreographing a dance. If you practice a few steps at a time and slowly add to them, the end result will be a seamless performance that incorporates improvisation and creativity rather than a clumsy attempt that results in you stepping on your partner’s toes.
Over the course of our relationship, we’ve done a fair amount of CNC in our BDSM scenes and have compiled this checklist to help us—and hopefully you and your partner—design fun and fulfilling scenes. We’ve also provided an example of how we used the checklist to orchestrate our own scene. (If you subscribe to our newsletter, you’ll receive a free downloadable CNC scene planner worksheet.)
Keep in mind that you don’t need to incorporate everything in the kitchen sink into one scene. If this is your first time doing CNC, start slow and only include a few elements. Over time, you can add more or try spontaneous CNC. You should learn basic steps before you try to ballroom dance.
- CNC BDSM Scene Checklist
- A Sample BDSM CNC Scene
CNC BDSM SCENE CHECKLIST
- Goal feelings. Why are you interested in CNC? What feeling do you want to achieve by enacting a scene like this? Communicate these feelings to your partner to set the tone of the scene.
- If you’re the submissive, do you hope to feel ravished? Brutalized? Humiliated? Controlled? Something else?
- If you’re the dominant, do you hope to feel even more in control? Savage? Sadistic? Something else?
- Orgasms. Are orgasms expected or desired for one or both people? If so, how will they be incorporated?
- Roles. Do you want to pretend to be other people in the scene (i.e., burglar and unsuspecting resident) or will you be yourselves?
- Safewords. What safewords will you use? Make sure you decide on one that means “stop the scene” (i.e., “red”) and one that means “slow down/change what’s happening” (i.e., “yellow”). Come up with a gesture or other nonverbal safeword as well in case the sub can’t speak in the moment. Practice using the safewords beforehand.
- A warning about unconsciousness. A lot of people online ask if there’s a safe way to do CNC while the sub is unconscious. The answer is no! Don’t do this. Although this is a popular fantasy, it’s not safe to enact for a number of reasons. For one thing, an unconscious sub cannot safeword, which is hugely problematic. Also, there is no medically safe way to induce unconsciousness. And finally, if you’re unconscious, you’re not going to remember CNC, so what’s the point?
- Triggers. What are your positive and negative triggers? Positive triggers are words, actions, etc. that will rev you up in the scene in a good way. For instance, if being spit on during CNC makes you fight back more intensely, tell your partner that. Negative triggers can cause you to recall past trauma or evoke undesirable feelings. Absolutely disclose any known negative triggers when you negotiate. But also prepare for the unexpected. How do you react when negatively triggered? Do you cry? Have a panic attack? Explain to your partner what your reaction might look like. Then talk about what you want to do in the moment if you’re negatively triggered. Of course, you can use your safeword, but it’s still good to discuss the possibilities beforehand. Keep your negative triggers in mind as you discuss language, rough body play, and more (see below).
- Play intensity. How will the intensity of play in the scene differ from your regular play? For example, if you’re normally a very obedient sub, will you fight back?
- Language. How will the language you use in the scene differ from what you say during your usual scenes, if at all? Will you up the intensity of dirty talk? What type of language is unacceptable? For example, if you’re not into being called a “cunt” during regular play, will that word still be off limits in the CNC scene, or will it be allowed to increase the intensity? Will words like “no” or “stop” be used and ignored?
- Rough body play. What elements of rough body play will be used? This is probably one of the most important things to discuss because serious injury can result if you don’t. Leave no stone unturned in this discussion. Consider:
- Physical limitations. What body parts are off limits for rough body play? For example, if you don’t want to be kneed in the balls or slapped in the face, clearly set those limits.Are there physical injuries or limitations that need to be taken into consideration? For example, does one of you have an old shoulder or knee injury that could flare up if you move a certain way or apply too much pressure?
- Consider marking areas of the body that are off limits with erasable marker so you don’t need to remember very specific spots during the scene.
- Practicing. Will you be incorporating any new rough body play elements that you’ve never tried before? If so, practice them first. For example, if you as a sub have never hit your dom before but you know you will in your CNC scene, set aside time to practice this beforehand (not during a scene) so that you can feel confident in your technique during the scene.
- Implements. Which implements, if any, will you use in the scene (i.e., rope, paddle, flogger, belt, knife, etc.)? Will they be used any differently than in regular play? If so, how?
- Marks. Are marks or bruises acceptable? If so, are any areas off limits? For example, if you have to go to work the next day, you might not want marks where coworkers can see them.
- Setting. When and where will the scene take place?
- If it’s inside, what rooms will you be in? Will you stay in one room the whole time or move from room to room?
- What obstacles or objects should be moved out of the way beforehand to avoid damage to yourselves or the objects (i.e., extension cords, precarious breakables, awkwardly positioned furniture, dumbbells on the floor, etc.)?
- Witnesses. Is there a chance you might be seen or heard by other people? If so, what can you do to make this less likely?
- Inside. If your scene is inside, consider:
- Prohibiting screaming or yelling or only doing so in rooms where neighbors or others are least likely to hear
- Lowering blinds or shades so that neighbors don’t see anything that might prompt them to call the police
- Limiting use of walls to those that are not shared with neighbors
- Donning costumes (i.e., ski mask, Halloween mask, etc.) where you won’t be seen
- Outside. If your scene is partially or completely outside, there are a whole host of additional things to consider involving legality. Do your research. Karley Sciortino has a great anecdote in her book Slutever about getting questioned by the cops in the middle of a consensual abduction scene.
- Inside. If your scene is inside, consider:
- Beginning. How will your scene begin? Will it involve an element of surprise or will both people know exactly when it starts? This may be dictated by whether you’re pretending to be someone else. For example, if one of you is masquerading as an intruder, it’s likely there will be some element of surprise. If this is the case, discuss the parameters. For instance, if you have no clue that your partner may grab you from behind and hold a knife to your throat, you could be startled to the point of causing an unintended injury.
- Size differences. Is the dom much shorter or smaller than the sub? Vice versa? If there’s a large size difference, you’ll need to plan for this because physical struggle may either be ineffective (in the first scenario) or harmful (in the second). If the dom is much smaller, then you may want to plan a more threat-based scene as opposed to one that’s predicated on physically overpowering the sub. For example, the dom could pull a knife (real or fake) on the sub and get them to obey from fear. Once the dom maneuvers the sub into the desired location, they could handcuff the sub to something to immobilize them. Another possibility would be to start the scene mimicking a consensual sexual encounter that turns into CNC. This way, the sub will already be “in position,” so to speak, and the dom will have an easier time incapacitating them with handcuffs, rope, and so on. If the dom is much larger and stronger than the sub, then you’ll need to consider this when you negotiate any rough body play.
- Clothing. What type of clothing will each of you wear? Consider:
- What costume elements, if any, you’ll need (masks, etc.)
- How easy or difficult the clothing is to remove (lots of buttons or fiddly hooks might be problematic)
- Whether damage to the clothing is acceptable (probably not a great idea to wear your favorite dress if it’s going to get ripped)
- Where you’ll be before the scene starts and how that affects your clothing choices (if the scene starts right as you arrive home from work, for example, you’ll need to plan your outfit carefully)
- Practical paraphernalia. Are there unsexy yet necessary things that will need to be included in the scene, such as condoms, lube, or a towel? If so, make sure these items are accessible and ready to go. The last thing you want is to be fumbling around with a condom wrapper or an unexpectedly empty bottle of lube in the heat of the moment. Also consider creative ways of incorporating such things that won’t totally disrupt the flow of the scene. For example, the dom could command the sub to apply lube to themselves to make sure they’re wet and ready. Or the dom could incapacitate the sub and apply it for them. The act of putting on a condom can be billed as not wanting to catch a disease from “a dirty whore.” You get the idea.
- Placement of implements. If you’re using implements in your scene, where will they be? Consider:
- When you’ll need them in the scene and where you’ll be at that point
- Whether you want them in plain sight to increase tension or whether you want them somewhat hidden to maintain an element of surprise
- Where to place them to avoid fumbling or digging around, especially if you’ll be in the dark or dim light
- Foreplay. Is more traditional foreplay expected or desired? For some people, especially women, struggling and fighting might need to be accompanied by some form of vaginal or clitoral stimulation. I recently read about a woman who needed to be stimulated with a dildo during CNC before her partner could penetrate her with his penis because he was too big to enter without a warm-up. As with practical paraphernalia, think of ways to include foreplay without upending the dynamic of the scene. For example, in the scenario I just mentioned, the dom could command the sub to use the dildo on herself to get ready for his giant cock while he touches himself.
- Ending. How will the scene end so that it’s clear to both of you it’s over?
- Aftercare. What is your aftercare plan? Keep in mind that CNC scenes can be extremely intense for the sub and the dom. Make sure you discuss possible aftercare needs for both of you, including what to do if one of you is negatively triggered during the scene.
A SAMPLE BDSM CNC SCENE
PLANNING OUR SCENE
Goals. Before this scene, Vagabond and I discussed the details over the course of several days leading up to it. Because we’ve done CNC a fair amount, our overarching goals had already been established—basically to intensify the power exchange. My goal for this particular scene was to fight back more than I had in the past, and one of his goals was to incorporate rope. We also knew that we would be ourselves during the scene and wouldn’t be playing characters, so to speak.
Limits. With safewords set (we use the traffic light system—red, yellow), we moved on to figuring out the language and types of rough body play we wanted to incorporate. I was comfortable with any derogatory language he wanted to use during the scene as long as it didn’t make me feel subhuman, which is a hard limit for me (i.e., “you’re a piece of shit”). I also let him know that I would be saying things like “no,” “stop,” etc. and that those directions should be ignored during the scene.
I’m normally a very obedient sub, but I do like to fight back in CNC scenes. I wanted to intensify that aspect of this scene by hitting Vagabond harder and with more intention—as opposed to just flailing around—to both increase the level of struggle and fulfill some of his masochistic desires, so we decided it would be best to practice beforehand. This involved him giving me a lesson on how to hit him hard in the chest and me practicing on him repeatedly over the course of an evening.
Biting, scratching, slapping, punching, hitting, choking, and hair pulling would all be up for grabs during the scene. Kicking was out as was anything involving injury to his balls or my breasts, which were extremely tender at the time due to hormonal changes. We were OK with marks or bruises as long as they wouldn’t require an explanation to other people.
Finally there was the matter of implements. Vagabond told me he wanted to use rope to restrain me during the scene as well as a knife to threaten me. We have a lot of experience using both of these, but we hadn’t used them in a CNC scene before.
Logistics. Initially, we thought about doing the scene on a weekday right as I got home from work, but ultimately we rejected this plan for a number of mundane reasons:
- I ride the subway home, which means I have to touch germ-ridden poles, which in turn means I need to wash my hands as soon as I get home.
- I generally wear dresses to work, none of which I want ripped or cut.
- I’m usually starving when I get home and find it difficult to focus on other things until I’ve eaten.
- Depending on what happened at work that day, either or both of us might need to decompress for a few minutes at the end of the day.
While boring, these are the kinds of logistical concerns you need to consider. After thinking it through, we decided it wasn’t practical for Vagabond to attack me right as I walked in the door. Instead, we decided to do the scene on a kid-free weekend when we knew we wouldn’t be stressed out from work or distracted by logistical nuisances.
Although we knew the scene would be happening in our apartment, we needed to determine exactly where. In the past, we had been somewhat limited by space, but we live in a bigger apartment now, so I was interested in starting the scene in the living room and moving to our bedroom. We have a strip of unobstructed space that divides the dining area from the rest of the living room, so we decided that this was where the scene would begin.
Given the proximity of our living room to our neighbors’ front doors, we also knew we needed to be fairly quiet at the beginning, particularly since one of those neighbors goes in and out of her apartment frequently to walk her dog. We agreed that we would keep the living room portion of the scene relatively short and that it would be limited to quiet grappling or other rough body play that wouldn’t involve loud noises. Vocalizations would be kept to a minimum.
Once we knew the landscape of the scene, we had to decide how to start it. I felt that I needed an opportunity to mentally switch gears beforehand as well as a clear indication that it was time to begin, so I proposed that I would take our recycling down to the basement of our building at an agreed-upon time and my return to the apartment would be the starting shot.
Since I knew it was likely my clothing would be ruined in some way during the scene, I opted to wear leggings and a t-shirt that I didn’t care about but were easy to get off and suitable to be seen in outside the apartment. Vagabond chose to wear jeans and a t-shirt because he felt it would lend credibility to the idea that he was so filled with lust for me that nothing could stop him from ravishing me, including pants that are difficult to get off when someone is fighting you.
Planning the exact moment when the rope and knife would make an appearance in the scene wasn’t really possible, but Vagabond decided to keep them within easy reach in the bedroom so that he could access them quickly once we moved there from the living room.
Because our CNC scenes typically involve a lot of struggle, which essentially functions as foreplay, actual intercourse doesn’t tend to last long since we’re both pretty excited and exhausted by that time. I do need lube, though, because I have vulvodynia, a chronic pain condition that can flare up during sex if there’s too much friction.
Orgasms are inconsequential to me in CNC because I find the scenes to be so fulfilling in every other way, so we didn’t plan to incorporate one for me in this scene. This meant that the scene would conclude once Vagabond came. Neither of us normally requires much in the way of aftercare, so we didn’t plan anything beyond snuggling and debriefing a little afterward.
On a quiet Sunday evening, I changed into gray leggings and a t-shirt and told Vagabond I was taking the recycling downstairs. When I came back into the dimly lit apartment, my heart was beating fast in anticipation. I was standing next to my desk in the living room when he approached me and took hold of my arm. I immediately began twisting away while being careful to remain quiet.
He wrestled me to the floor, where I continued to resist by hitting him on the arms and chest. He pulled my hair and tried to pin me down. Eventually, he grabbed my arms and dragged me across the hardwood floor to the hallway, then forced me up and half carried me to the bedroom where he threw me on the bed.
The scene intensified once we were in the bedroom, where we felt less inhibited. Vagabond grabbed a piece of rope and began trying to tie me down, but I fought back and squirmed away any time he attempted to pin me. I hit his chest, arms, and anywhere else I thought I could land a decent blow. I said “no!” repeatedly and asked why he was doing this to me.
He showed no mercy as he continued to subdue me and wear me down. At one point, he handcuffed one of my wrists to one of his to limit my movement, but he realized he couldn’t be as rough as he wanted to that way, so he removed them after a couple of minutes.
He yanked my t-shirt down over one shoulder and wrestled a piece of rope around my torso, pinning my arms. He roughly pulled my leggings down to my ankles so that they would restrict my leg movement. Once I was bound, he pulled out the knife and held it to my throat while calling me a whore who was getting what I deserved. I knew not to resist at that point because a slip of the knife could be deadly, so I lay there whimpering while Vagabond slowly ran it over my skin. He set it on the bedside table after a few minutes and pulled off his jeans.
I was panting and exhausted as he used the knife to cut my underwear off and squirted lube on my pussy. He tried to enter me, but I managed to wriggle my hips away to make it harder. I wasn’t able to keep him at bay for long, though. As Vagabond thrust into me, I felt the vestiges of my control slip away and I was completely present in the moment. There wasn’t much I could do to fight back at that point, but I did manage to bite him hard enough on one arm to leave a bruise.
He flipped me over onto my stomach and continued grinding into me as he pulled my hair and called me a cunt and a whore. When he came inside me a few minutes later, it was cathartic and electrifying at the same time. I immediately started crying—not unusual for me during or right after an intense scene. Vagabond untied me and hugged and kissed me. We snuggled for a bit and then cleaned up.
In the hours and days that followed, we discussed what we liked about the scene and what we wanted to improve upon. We both thought the scene was incredibly hot, but we realized afterward that we had forgotten to lower the shade in our living room when the scene began. Our apartment looks out onto other buildings, so if someone had seen us and decided to call the cops, we could have had a Rear Window situation on our hands. Not ideal.
Vagabond also said that he would’ve placed more lube in more locations so that it could’ve been more accessible at different points during the scene. We both agreed that we wanted to figure out a way to incorporate an orgasm on my end next time—maybe forced orgasms or something along those lines.