Without consent, desire cannot flourish ~ Carol Queen
Consent is far more than the absence of “no” – and is a vital social skill in and out of the bedroom. Consent culture is a critical piece of remaking our sex culture to be healthy, happy and pleasurable for us all. Consent culture is about empowering ALL of us to authentically navigate social and sexual situations with our boundaries respected and our dignity maintained.
On today’s episode we talk about building consent culture – and why consent is a vital erotic skill for all of us, even in long term relationships. Joining us is Kitty Stryker. Kitty Stryker is an outspoken writer and activist. Most recently, Kitty was the editor of “ASK: Building Consent Culture” a book featuring the voices of marginalized people on various intersections of consent and daily life.
In this episode (click play at the top of the page to start listening!) we cover:
- Working definitions of consent and consent culture
- Why consent has to go beyond “no means no”
- How to create and give ongoing, enthusiastic and active consent
- How systems of power complicate what we can say yes and no to.
- The role of consent in long term relationships
- How practicing consent in the bedroom can empower you in other parts of your life
- How to create more opportunities for consent in your interactions
Content warning – while this episode is focused primarily about consent and how to build a consent culture that benefits us all, we will also briefly touch on sexual abuse and rape – if these subjects upset you I encourage you to listen to this episode at a time when you can get extra support from those you love and trust.
One definition of consent is called FRIES, which was coined by Planned Parenthood.
According to Planned Parenthood, consent consists of the following:
- Freely given. Doing something sexual with someone is a decision that should be made without pressure, force, or manipulation, or while drunk or high.
- Reversible. Anyone can change their mind about what they want to do, at any time. Even if they’ve done it before or are in the middle of having sex.
- Informed. Be honest. For example, if someone says they’ll use a condom and then they don’t, that’s not consent.
- Enthusiastic. If someone isn’t excited, or really into it, that’s not consent.
- Specific. Saying yes to one thing (like going to the bedroom to make out) doesn’t mean they’ve said yes to others (like oral sex).
It’s not just freedom from rape, freedom from abuse, freedom from fear. It is also “freedom to”—freedom to express desire, to explore pleasure, to seek intimacy and adventure. ~ Laurie Penny