When something goes wrong

The survey

A few months ago I made a survey presenting some consent incidents scenarios and you had to indicate how responsibility was distributed between top and bottom.

The responsibility could be entirely of the top, mostly of the top, equally shared, mostly of the bottom, or entirely of the bottom.

The scenarios weren’t only serious consent violations but mostly situations that were difficult to interpret.

It was also difficult to determine how responsibility was distributed not knowing how the negotiation was done, the background, how people communicated, etc.

For this reason, the same scenario could be read in different ways, so much so that the answers were sometimes distributed with a high variance without a specific interpretation of the facts prevailing.

The survey was not done out to find out who to blame for an incident or to decide what the right answer was.

The purpose of this survey is firstly to present some critical scenarios that can serve as a stimulus for reflection, for example in a workshop or a debate, and secondly to see how the various answers are distributed “on average” and then to reflect on whether we agree or not and if these values ​​can tell us something.

The survey was in three languages: Italian (for the Italian scene), English (international), and Russian (for the Russian community). For the Russian version I have to thank Alexander Mirble (@mirble on Instagram) who translated it.

I collected 75 answers for the English version and 133 for the Russian one.

This page presents the answers to the International version. Here you can find those of the Italian one.


At the end of a brief negotiation the bottom says “You really can use anything you want on me”, and the top answers it is fine by them. During play, the top uses a whip the bottom doesn’t like, so the latter complains about having had a bad experience at the end.


During the negotiation, the bottom clarifies that they are ok with everything except being hit with hands, for example for spanking. During the session, the overexcited top strikes a couple of light spanks on the bottom’s ass, thinking it is pleasurable anyway.


During the negotiation, the bottom makes a long list of possible practices: whip, wax, ropes, spanking, cat o’ nine, insertive toys, flogger, etc. During the session the top also uses a belt, which was not listed by the bottom. At the end, the latter points out the incident complaining that for them the belt is an object loaded with bad memories so they wouldn’t have wanted it to be used.


Top and bottom negotiate in detail what the bottom does and does not like: tickling is one among their limits. They also agree on a safeword. During play, the top forgets and begins tickling the bottom, who doesn’t stop them, nor calls the safeword. At the end of the session, the bottom states that they said not to tickle and that it wasn’t pleasant.


A bottom (somewhat experienced with some practices, but not with ropes) asks a top (neither a beginner nor overly experienced) to be bound. They define some aspects of the negotiation and they have a beautiful and intense floor bondage session. At the end the arms of the bottom bear some marks, and they complain because they are a poolside life guard and they have to work on the next day. Neither of them had touched the subject of marks, because the top assumed the other could understand they could happen, while the bottom didn’t know it.


Top and bottom want to have a bondage session and they negotiate it in depth. Among other things, they talk about possible physical impairments. The bottom knows they have a serious hernia, but for fear of not being able to play they don’t point out their condition. At the end of the session, the bottom experiences strong back pain.


Top and bottom decide to have a whipping session together. They negotiate several aspects, and they agree on a safeword and a safegesture. During the session, the bottom is facing the wall and suddenly starts crying while the top cannot see it. No safeword nor safegesture are used, and the top doesn’t stop. At the end the bottom is desperate because the partner didn’t stop even if they cried.


A top and a bottom occasionally play together also using the cane without ever having had a problem. One night, during a play party, they decide to play. They briefly negotiate the session and, among other things even if they didn’t explicitly mentioned it, the top also uses the cane. The bottom, however, complains saying that they didn’t specify using that instrument that night, and that it was actually annoying because a few days earlier they had a bad experience with it, so they didn’t want it to be used.


A top proposes a bottom to play, and among the various practices suggests to do a mummification. The bottom accepts to play but not to be mummified because it is not among their favorite games. So the top illustrates the beauty of that game and convinces the bottom to accept it as well. At the end of the session, however, the bottom in not satisfied since even if they did agree they weren’t really interested in being mummified.


During the negotiation the top and the bottom decide on several aspects and they agree in particular on “doing nothing sexual”, without however clearly specify the details of that. During the session, the top inserts a finger in the bottom’s mouth, who stops them saying that was a deliberately sexual act.

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