November 2017
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be careful w sexual consent: discuss meaning, risk, safeword, triggers, roles, acts, sobriety, needs


icon: "honesty (me, outdoors, gazing straight at the camera with a solemn expression)"

There are a lot of ways to to cause others pain and even damage despite the very best of intentions, especially with sex and kink. This is not a comprehensive list, but it includes the most common ways I see people making consent mistakes. Here's a more in-depth discussion of most of this list: how to be careful with consent. Quoting myself: "EVEN IF you follow ALL of these steps, you may STILL accidentally coerce or violate someone. We live in a rape culture that makes it very difficult for us to understand consent, to respect our own boundaries and the boundaries of others; so sex is dangerous. We need to go in knowing we can hurt each other, and being careful to minimize that risk."

I have never discussed all of these things before first having sex with someone. There's always something I didn't think of, but I work towards being the absolute best I can at consent with each person I have sex with. I treat consent as an ongoing process of becoming more and more in-tune with what the other person wants and needs in sex.

To be fully careful with consent you need to:
  1. discuss the meaning of sex/kink for each person involved.
    • is everyone involved aware of current relationship structures and additional partners (if any)?
    • do any of the people need a shared emotional/spiritual meaning for sex/kink?
    • do any of the people need shared attitudes toward bodies for sex/kink? (I do)
    • do any of the people have a need for future connection or particular kind of relationship after sex/scene?

  2. discuss STI/pregnancy risks & how to manage them.
    • disclose your STI status and your risk factors and ask about theirs.
    • if relevant, discuss birth control and what to do in the event of barrier-method fail or pregnancy.
    • ask what methods of protection they want, tell what you want, and then go with whichever is more cautious.

  3. choose safe words/signals.
    • at least choose a word/signal that means 'stop everything'.
    • describe what you want the other person to do when you use the safe word.
    • it's good to have a non-verbal signal as well as a word since some people can go non-verbal when triggered.

  4. discuss known triggers and what to do in the event of an unknown trigger.
    • tell them your triggers and how you need them to react if they accidentally trigger you.
    • ask what they need you to avoid or be cautious with and what to do if you accidentally trigger them.

  5. discuss roles (or lack thereof) and define terms.
    • roles must be consented to and you can't guess what someone else would like.
    • define terms: there are hundreds of definitions out there, don't assume.
    • describing a typical scene/sexperience in detail is a good way to find unconscious expectations.

  6. discuss specific acts & label as ask-each-time or whatever.
    • ask what parts are okay to touch, when.
    • ask what kinds of touch are okay, where.
    • ask about marks before making any.
    • ask about sensitivities.
    • ask about oral, manual, toys, penetration, etc.
    • ask if there is anything that is never okay.
    • ask about which parts/acts are ask-first every time, and when in doubt ask first.

  7. define acceptable sobriety emotionally and physically.
    • how much intoxication is too much for sex/kink between you?
    • what level of emotional instability is too much for sex/kink between you?
    • what level of physical weariness/sleepiness is too much for sex/kink between you?

  8. discuss related needs which sex can compete with or create.
    • Do any of you have a strict bedtime?
    • Do any of you need privacy (such as not being overheard, or not having your shared stories told)?
    • Do any of you need a certain amount of aftercare time?

And within each sexual experience you need to:
  1. check for sufficient emotional & physical sobriety.
  2. ask in a way that makes it easy to say no.
  3. assume no particular acts to be included and no particular length of time.
  4. check in: pay attention to reactions and non-verbals, ask questions.

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Comments
sovkista ══╣╠══
May I put this on my Tinder profile?
belenen ══╣garrulous╠══
Sure!
tarakins42 ══╣pic#126393471╠══

I've found myself in some bad situations when none of the above was discussed or even remotely thrown out there. Just reading it makes me feel uneasy but it's so important and I hope others take something from this. Thanks for sharing.

belenen ══╣artless╠══
oof, I know what you mean. I'm sorry about this making you feel uneasy, but glad you appreciated the share.
tarakins42 ══╣╠══
of course, anytime!
jwaaaa ══╣╠══
good work!
Please Visit!



Please Visit!
belenen ══╣garrulous╠══
thanks!
ragnarok_08 ══╣Original ★ lady love╠══
Thank you for sharing this - all of this is so important.
belenen ══╣effervescent╠══
you're welcome!
zimtkeks ══╣╠══
belenen ══╣artless╠══
glad you like it! And I agree.

(screened as per request)
raidingparty ══╣╠══
Wow!
Very thorough, thank you!
belenen ══╣effervescent╠══
Re: Wow!
welks!
bayonetta ══╣╠══
I wish I had had a list like this before I was intimate with most of my previous partners. Most of them just made an advance on me without really gauging any verbal or nonverbal cues to determine whether I was up for that, or even ASKING, and unfortunately I am the "too nice" type of person who's "too nice" (read: timid/doormat) to say no (I'm working on this) . . . what that has resulted in is a lot of emotional baggage I could have done without. None of it was nonconsensual, but emotionally/mentally I felt really uneasy and kind of anxious--not how a person should feel when having sex, I think. If I could go back in time and undo those encounters, I probably would.

I hope it's all right if I add this entry to my journal's memories.

Thank you for sharing such a concise and well-written list.
belenen ══╣analytical╠══
*nods along while reading*

This was very true for me too. It took me a while to realize that if not all of me is on board, I need to not say yes. Even if my mind wants it and my body doesn't, or vice versa -- it's gotta be ALL of me or I will end up with a nasty aftermath.

Feel free to add any of my posts to memories if you wish *smiles*
on communication, social justice, intimacy, consent, friendship & other relationships, spirituality, gender, queerness, & dreams. Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.
Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.