Consent is sexy. (aka How To Prevent Rape).
After two amazing nights performing at Erotica Exotica’s: kink carnival one thing was made incredibly clear: consent is sexy! Participants at Erotica Exotica were invited to enjoy hot wax, shibari (rope bondage), spankings, nipple play, and electric play. Those not participating actively in the carnival booths were invited to huddle around the carnival stations and watch (after all, voyeurism is participation). Consent was a major topic of discussion at both events. The definition of consent is “to permit, approve, or agree,” (dictionary.com). This boils down to not taking what you want without being given permission. At the event it was repeated, “Just because you like the way someone looks doesn’t mean you have the right to touch them.”
This seems like fairly rudimentary concept. However, on a holiday such as halloween where ghosts, ghouls, and goblins are running a muck this can be overlooked. The two events were very different. In Boulder, several participants expressed how safe they felt and how much fun they had exploring erotic edges in a tight container. At the event it was shared how it feels to be touched without permission.
When my ass is grabbed at a party, or frankly even if I am touched unexpectedly by a stranger in a line at a coffee shop, I feel gross. I get a sinking sensation in my gut and I often feel myself contract and freeze. After being touched without consent it feels as if something has been taken from me. I have a habit when someone who is not in my circle of trust touches me unexpectedly to let them know I didn’t appreciate it – generally, I clearly state my preference of being asked before being touched. These conversations historically have generally been awkward at worst and profound at best.
The second night of the event something really upsetting happened. After several announcements about consent were made a friend of mine who was dancing, was approached from behind by two people who aggressively held hands and surrounded her. They began to jump up and down and dance aggressively. She stated multiple times, “I did not give you permission!” She then screamed and left the party. This event was witnessed by one of our performers who immediately let me know what had happened. I was enraged. Not just enraged, but I felt ill and terribly sad -how could this have happened after the agreements about consent had been made clear? I immediately stopped the party and reviewed the consent agreement with the participants.
In a party atmosphere things like this happen all of the time. I made an assumption that if the agreements were clearly explained, the consequences for breaking the agreements (immediate removal from the event and potential legal action) were clear, and if proper security and advocacy was in place that something like this would not have happened. This experience was eye-opening for me.
Consent is sexy. I love the feeling of being asked, “Can I please have a hug?” “May I please touch you?” I particularly appreciate it when people ask, “May I spank your ass?” Each time I receive a request such as these I am reminded of my personal agency and power, I am given the right to say “no,” and implicit desires are made explicit. When I am asked and I give my consent it makes for one hell of a time! When I am able to say “No” ;”No, thank you” ; or “no, but I would prefer X, Y, or Z” I am left empowered, elated, and turned on by my right to choose.
I write this as a reminder to those of you who love to give and receive touch. Touch is a magical thing, it has the potential to take us to unimaginable worlds we could never access independently. Touch is a powerful thing, it has both the potential to connect us to others and to potentially deeply disconnect us. Touch is a ferocious thing, it has both the power to heal and to potentially destroy. Let us remember the magic, power, and ferocity of touch. May we tread softly or heavily, but always with consent.
The next kink carnival is scheduled for December 19th at 8:30pm. To find out more information about our next Kink Carnival visit us here.
aka Jenna Noah
Founder Conscious Burlesque
MA Contemplative Psychology, PhD (Pending)
Specializing in gender and sexuality -LGBTQ friendly
Madame Merci is the founder of Conscious Burlesque®. She teaches Conscious Burlesque® workshops, offers private lessons, leads dance classes, and performs regularly.
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Here is a wonderful reminder of how to prevent rape from SlutWalk Pheonix
HOW TO PREVENT RAPE
How to Prevent Rape
If a woman is drunk, don’t rape her.
If a woman is walking alone at night, don’t rape her.
If a women is drugged and unconscious, don’t rape her.
If a woman is wearing a short skirt, don’t rape her.
If a woman is jogging in a park at 5 am, don’t rape her.
If a woman looks like your ex-girlfriend you’re still hung up on, don’t rape her.
If a woman is asleep in her bed, don’t rape her.
If a woman is asleep in your bed, don’t rape her.
If a woman is doing her laundry, don’t rape her.
If a woman is in a coma, don’t rape her.
If a woman changes her mind in the middle of or about a particular activity, don’t rape her.
If a woman has repeatedly refused a certain activity, don’t rape her.
If a woman is not yet a woman, but a child, don’t rape her.
If your girlfriend or wife is not in the mood, don’t rape her.
If your step-daughter is watching TV, don’t rape her.
If you break into a house and find a woman there, don’t rape her.
If your friend thinks it’s okay to rape someone, tell him it’s not, and that he’s not your friend.
If your “friend” tells you he raped someone, report him to the police.
If your frat-brother or another guy at the party tells you there’s an unconscious woman upstairs and it’s your turn, don’t rape her, call the police and tell the guy he’s a rapist.
Tell your sons, god-sons, nephews, grandsons, sons of friends it’s not okay to rape someone.
Don’t tell your women friends how to be safe and avoid rape.
Don’t imply that she could have avoided it if she’d only done/not done x.
Don’t imply that it’s in any way her fault.
Don’t let silence imply agreement when someone tells you he “got some” with the drunk girl.
And if you are still confused, try this:
How to Prevent Sexual Assault
1. Don’t put drugs in people’s drinks in order to control their behavior.
2. When you see someone walking by themselves, leave them alone!
3. If you pull over to help someone with car problems, remember not to assault them!
4. NEVER open an unlocked door or window uninvited.
5. If you are in an elevator and someone else gets in, DON’T ASSAULT THEM!
6. Remember, people go to laundry rooms to do their laundry, do not attempt to molest someone who is alone in a laundry room.
7. USE THE BUDDY SYSTEM! If you are not able to stop yourself from assaulting people, ask a friend to stay with you while you are in public.
8. Always be honest with people! Don’t pretend to be a caring friend in order to gain the trust of someone you want to assault. Consider telling them you plan to assault them. If you don’t communicate your intentions, the other person may take that as a sign that you do not plan to rape them.
9. Don’t forget: you can’t have sex with someone unless they are awake!
10. Carry a whistle! If you are worried you might assault someone “on accident” you can hand it to the person you are with, so they can blow it if you do.
And, ALWAYS REMEMBER: if you didn’t ask permission and then respect the answer the first time, you are committing a crime- no matter how “into it” others appear to be.