How do you ensure your sexual behavior is consensual? Do you ask permission before kissing or touching? How does consent co-exist with fun, flirtation, and surprise kisses from people we like?
Consent isn’t a difficult concept. When you ask permission, you ensure the other party desires to engage in a particular behavior with you. Consent must be expressly given. It is not implied when someone smiles at you or talks to you. It is not implied because someone liked what you did to them at the last party.
We recently attended a large lifestyle event with a lingerie theme. It was a highly charged sexual environment filled with a hundred or more sexy swingers in varying stages of undress. Women and men alike were in sexy outfits and removing more and more clothing throughout the night. Sounds like a great time. Yes, it was …. but after the party, some women expressed feeling violated by people touching them, kissing them, or exposing them without express permission.
When individuals experience this feeling of being violated or disrespected, there is something seriously wrong. When we first “joined” the lifestyle, we learned that “no means no”. Frankly, that’s not taking it far enough. Certainly we should all feel comfortable saying “no” to anything at anytime to anyone. Most swinger events and parties advertise their event as a “no pressure” environment where you are welcome to participate or not participate to your own comfort level. If this is the case, why is it that we end up sometimes still feeling violated or pressured?
Instead of waiting for people to say “no”; we should be waiting for people to say “yes”.
There is a misguided perception that asking permission will ruin the mood. The story society tells us is this: When a man and woman get together, the woman is coy and flirtatious, enticing the man to make the first move. As a woman, I’ve found myself guilty of waiting for guy to make the first move, while playing hard to get or feigning subtle disinterest. I’m beginning to realize this makes me part of the problem.
The challenge for myself is to consider how do I show my own “enthusiastic consent.”
Here are some ideas about how I might do that:
- “I would like for you to kiss me now. Would you like to?”
- “I like the way you’re touching me.”
- “Yes, please.”
- “I like what you’re doing to me.”
- “I’m interested in kissing you. May I?”
- “You are incredibly sexy. Would you like to make out with me?”
- “Please kiss me when you see me tonight.” < — This allows for the fun of a “surprise” kiss; while making my consent known in advance.
- “Touch me here, please.” <—- Encouraging him during an encounter.
Leave a comment with your own ideas. What words do you use to ask permission? What words do you use to show enthusiastic consent?
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