Why We Need a Consent Culture

What is Consent Culture?

A He Says – She Says Post

Rebekah says – Recently, I have either been the victim of, or a witness to, several “violations of consent.” In case you have never heard this term, it refers to an incident of touching another person without receiving their agreement to be touched. In most BDSM clubs and communities, consent is a requirement. In our events and especially our play parties, touching someone without their consent is grounds for being ejected.

First of all, why is this even an issue? You don’t touch other people’s things is one of those rules drummed into us from very early childhood. Every toddler has at one time been told this as they grabbed for the crystal candy dish at Grandma’s house. People’s bodies should carry an even stricter proviso. And yet there is a sense of entitlement to touching other people. We seek the comfort of physical connection, so we touch first, without thinking of what the other person may want. Pregnant women experience this, that somehow that belly goes into the public domain. In other situations, hugging is expected when greeting and leave taking. In best case scenarios, consent is at least sought non-verbally. if you don’t want to be hugged, I encourage you to say, “I’m not feeling like a hug right now. Thanks.” remember that no is a complete sentence.

No is a complete sentence. Click To Tweet

What makes the violations particularly egregious to me is when the perpetrator says, “Well it’s not like I had designs on you.” I see, so you grabbed my breasts in friendship? I’m sorry, but we are not Bonobo monkeys here. And even then, I imagine they have tribal alliances that are transmitted. Even the monkeys know who it is safe to fondle and who not to.

Trevor says – I was raised by a strict military father, and a mother that attended Woodstock and was a card carrying feminist.  I KNEW consent, long before we had this modern language for it.  It wasn’t just a matter of No means NO, it was being raised to respect my fellow human, be they male or female, whatever race or creed. Today we are putting a spot light on Male Privilege, Rape Culture and the Patriarchy.  To create a Consent Culture, men need to let go of entitlement and understand the experiences of women. As a man, I don’t have to suffer cat calling. My ability to perform my work is never judged based on my attractiveness or looks. My reproductive organs are seldom under scrutiny and no one has doubted my job description because I was a man (like female doctors mistaken for nurses) . Because I was raised in the patriarchy, I have to be vigilant for behavior that I may exhibit that resulted from that environment.

We say – Consent Culture is easy to develop. Ask before touching. Be kind. Be considerate. Treat each other with respect. Be willing to say no to things you don’t want, and accept a no graciously. Just because someone offers other people in a circle physical touch, doesn’t mean they want it from everyone. If you do not have an explicit agreement or relationship with someone, ask, “May I hug you?” Other phrases that work, “I would like to kiss you, is that all right with you?” or can I do, or would you like to __________?

Physical contact is way more fun when both parties are comfortable and desire it, and you are not in mystery about whether your touch is welcome.

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Suzi 18-06-2017, 12:55

This is an important post. One issue around allowing touch when we don’t really want it: our yes cannot be trusted if we aren’t willing to give a No. When we cannot trust a friend/partner’s Yes, we aren’t sure of their enthusiasm and the entire sensual experience, from a mere hug to sex, is less thrilling when we lack trust the other person is really “into” it.

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