Consent is Sexy.
Most people in their lives have had the sex talk? If you didn't have the sex talk with your parents, you probably learned about it in school or through the internet. But did you ever have the consent talk? For many people, this can seem like a very simple topic to understand, but do you know all there is to know about consent?
This past weekend, I had the pleasure of teaching on the Couples Cruise. For those that don't know, Couples Cruise is an adult, sex positive cruise where attendees can take educational courses on sexuality as well as participate in some open, nonjudgmental sexual spaces. In charged environments like this, emotions can run high. It's natural to want to kiss someone, touch someone, have sex with someone. Desire, though, should always gain consent before acted upon. Which will allow both of you to give and receive in the most pleasure possible.
I'd like to tell you about something that happened to me on the ship. This is not to embarrass anyone but to open up a dialogue about all the ways where consent is important. On the ship, I ran into a nice couple. The husband of the couple began complimenting me on what they had heard about me on the cruise. Those compliments soon changed to flirtation. I was flattered because I really enjoy flirting. Being complimented isn't so bad either! The wife very quickly noticed we were talking, came over to join our conversation,and immediately began telling me how much she was attracted to me. This again felt nice, but quickly became overwhelming and uncomfortable when she began touching my butt when we hugged. Now don’t get me wrong, I love my “booty lovens” when it feels good to me that you have asked. I felt myself having some resistance standing there, talking to them because she didn’t ask to touch my booty. I am not saying that even if she had asked I would have said yes, yet she didn’t allow me to have that choice for myself. That's where one of my harder boundaries came into play. As I was relaying information to them about one of my Pleasure Playshop™ she took her hand and placed it in my hair and vigorously moved it around while complimenting me. My hair is a boundary of mine. With my own partners, I can be incredibly protective over my hair. When this lady touched my hair, I immediately had to vocalize my feelings about not liking her running her hand through my hair. I know she meant no harm and she vocalized how excited I made her and was losing control, yet it made me pull away and not feel good about our connection. This brings up an important discussion about consent.
Consent means permission for something to happen. Most people know that consent is needed before sex can occur. Consent, though, refers to many things. Touching in itself can be very sensual in nature. Touching is also intensely sensory. Most people touch others without consent every day- whether that is from patting someone’s back as a greeting or touching someone's arm during conversation. We think of these things as harmless, but consent should always be acquired before engaging in a physical way. Once that consent is acquired, that consent applies to that one act only. Someone agreeing to letting you touch their hair does not mean that it's okay to touch anything else. Kissing does not always mean sex. Graciously accepting compliments does not mean it’s okay to touch someone’s hair.
Everyone has unique boundaries. Participants within Kink/BDSM will be the first to tell you that everyone is different. Although it may seem contrary, a person may find extreme whipping or spanking pleasurable but feel uncomfortable with their hair being pulled. Sometimes people have PTSD from past trauma that can be triggered if touched in certain spaces, and these spaces do not always appear sexual in nature.
What is also important to understand about consent is that it only applies to the moment. A good friend of mine when dealing with stress does not like to be hugged, but on their good days, affection is really great for them! They expressed this to me early in our relationship. Now, if I want to give my friend a hug, I simply ask if it's okay before giving.
Asking is very important with consent because sometimes people are too afraid to let others know when they are uncomfortable or when a boundary has been overstepped. A great way to avoid anyone feeling uncomfortable or intruded upon is to simply ask!
Consent is sexy. I mean that in a literal way. It may seem strange to ask for permission to do certain things, but asking for consent allows the other person to feel safe. Asking for consent also lets the other person know that you care about their well being. A deeper, more sensual experience happens with consent. Fear quiets and we allow ourselves to feel safe and loved in an intimate moment.
I've spoken about communication before and I'll mention it again because it's just that good! Communication allows everyone to have a much better experience. Just like being open and communicative about what we like and how we like to be pleasured, communicating our boundaries and desires with other people makes for a great overall experience! Communication allows for honesty and truth, and we experience sex honestly, we become connected with our partners. Being connected with our partners, allows us to have rich, orgasmic experiences.
Next time you are in a sexually charged situation, try asking for something you want from the other person. Whether or not they agree, that person is likely to respect you more. They know you are a person that can be trusted.
Consent and sex go hand in hand. Do you know your boundaries? No? Write them down. Talk about them with your partner. Always ask before participating. Never make assumptions about consent, whether it's a new partner or someone you have been with many times. Have safe words-like red, yellow and green-when engaging in sex. Communication is important with consent and I don't know if there is anything better than feeling connected in consent.
Ask! And watch as the world gets sexier with consent in it. I know it did for me ;)