If the principle of consent is not just reserved for sex, then in how many different contexts can it apply? In the August TAAAP Pride Chat, some of the participants questioned why “consent” is typically discussed around only sex (or, if taken any further, only physical touch), arguing that it should be applied to other forms of intimacy, as well — and that got me to thinking: if we’re going to ride this train, let’s take it even farther than that.Continue reading
Tag Archives: consent
For some people, asking for consent feels like asking someone their opinion of your inherent desirability and maybe even your worth. Rejection of an activity can feel like a rejection of your entire self.
This is a problem. It’s not healthy for your entire relationship to be on the line every time you ask someone for sex. You need and deserve to be secure in your own desirability and worth without relying on the unpredictable sexual urges of other people to maintain that security. Your partners need and deserve the space to say “no” freely and without emotional pressure. […]
Plan ahead of time how you can work through these feelings without making your partner feel punished or obligated to change their mind. If you have a regular partner, it might be good to let them know about your insecurities and how you plan to handle your response, so they know, for instance, that if you need to go for a walk or take some alone time, you’re not punishing them and you don’t want them to change their mind to placate you – that you know it’s your responsibility to work through your feelings and that you’ve got it handled.
You can also preempt some of these insecurities by working on finding other ways to feel good about your body or to feel close and connected to another person in a way they do freely consent to.
Today I’ve added this as recommended reading onto my sex-as-worth principle post.
Hey guess what I’ve been thinking about again also. Did you guess CSA rhetoric? Because the answer is CSA rhetoric.
Saw this comic on sex & consent, had things to say, deleted the draft, then several months later, saw it again. So here we go. Take two.
The comic there expresses a nice idea, mostly, good examples and advice etc. etc. but the part that caught my attention was this: the green-haired person in the third panel who says, “Wait a minute! I’ve been with my wife for 15 years. There’s no way we cover all of this [checklist] every time we have sex! We usually don’t even explicitly ask each other! Are you saying that we’re not having consensual sex??” to which the blue-haired narrator says, “Of course not!”
At which point in my mind I hear the sound of screeching brakes.
I’ve seen this kind of objection play out before, sure, in contexts where someone has dared talk explicitly about consent — it’s happened often enough that I can’t even remember specifics of when or where. What gets me is not the confusion over implicit communication, or even how readily someone jumps to assure them, “No, not at all! You’ve merely misunderstood the message. I wouldn’t dare impugn your honor, my 100% ethical friend who has never done anything wrong!”
What gets me is how consistently there’s always someone, even a complete stranger, ready to interject this way in the first place and essentially say, “You trust me, right? You have faith in me, right? You believe I’m not a rapist, right?”
And I’m like… the heck? I don’t even know you. I probably wouldn’t be rock-solid certain of those things even if I did know you. Why are you expecting anyone, let alone strangers on the internet, to assure you how much they’re sure you’ve never raped?
Note that this is different from the anxious uncertainty of “oh man, I’m scared I may have hurt someone.” This is something else. This is “Excuse me, are you suggesting that I, Me, a Good Person, am somehow not flawless? For I, Me, a Good Person, have in fact done the-things-that-I’m-interpreting-you-as-saying-are-unethical, so clearly you ought to be ashamed of yourself, or at least explain in a way that clears my name.”
I shouldn’t even have a dog in this hunt, since I don’t group communication and consent as the same thing anyway. But geez, it bothers me, people thinking they’re entitled to automatic couldn’t-possibly-be-a-rapist trust, or even couldn’t-possibly-need-to-improve-on-the-communication-front trust. I try to mentally give everyone a null value there. And from the consistency with which I see “No I’m sure you’re fiiiiiine”-type answers, it almost sounds like not-automatically-placing-unwarranted-trust-in-people is some kind of taboo, if not simply unconsidered as an option.
I guess I just don’t understand going through life without a little paranoia.
Remember that essay, “Hermeneutical Injustice in Consent and Asexuality,” that was making the rounds a while back? Remember that post I made on concurrent and reflective consent?
Recently I re-found this post called Asexuality and Felt Consent [cw: rape, vomit, kind of a weird discussion of the ethics of celibacy], published over a year ago, that talks about much of the same things. I’m wishing I’d held on to this.
[cw: rape culture, invalidation talk, and abstract talk of rape, CSA, etc. including vague talk of personal experiences]
I’ll be quoting/responding in snippets, so if you want the full context, you can check the links first.
Here’s an idea I heard from someone else and want to pass along. It’s relevant to starchythoughts’ post Hermeneutical Injustice in Consent and Asexuality, and I’m writing about it partially in response to Vesper’s more recent reflection post and the kinds of things they wrote about here.
30 Comments | tags: consent, hermeneutical injustice, in which the blogger chooses not to spare your poor eyes, mapping the gray area convo, sexual violence, violation, violence | posted in Asexuality Talk
Vesper’s been writing Things that make me want to write Things but I’m kinda scared & also my thoughts are disorganized.
One of the Things is a summary/rephrasing/discussion of a consent model post by someone else… which I’m ambivalent about referencing because then I’d be expected to link it, and it’s kind of weird if I don’t — but the original post has… stuff that I’m not even sure how to word the trigger warnings for. ‘Cause I feel like those are less effective when they’re too vague for you to know what kind of stuff you’re in for, if that makes sense. So I dunno how to handle that. When you’re too vague, people just get curious, you know? And I don’t want that to become a distraction.
The other of the Things is a personal story but oh God I don’t know how to prepare for the emotional fallout.
Fun fact, when I was first exposed to consent seminars and deliberate education on that kind of thing, I was a little wary of it at first but also quickly impressed with it as a good idea, because prior to that point in my life (college), people just didn’t talk about this stuff. So I remember having a tentative positive impression of the whole thing. Because I believed “people in my culture just don’t know how to communicate about this, or that it’s okay and good to communicate about it explicitly.” That’s what I believed. And maybe that still is partially true.
But the more I’ve grown and the more I’ve developed my thoughts on the subject, the more I’ve become dissatisfied with their surface approach toward basic communication templates instead of underlying values, because the actual larger problem at hand is that American masculinity is a cult of violation.
5 Comments | tags: American culture in general is a cult of violation but y'know, consent, gender, masculinity, relationships, sex, sexual relationships, sexual violence, sexuality, touch, violation, violence | posted in Asexuality Talk
Today I found out someone linked one of my posts and a post of Libris’ in a post arguing that, as long as it’s within certain circumstances, it’s okay and even good for a man to make a woman have sex with him when she wants not to. I will never sleep again.