Consent isn’t Just About Tea

Me, most of the time. Meaning if I'm conscious. (Image from Buzzfeed.)

Me, most of the time. Meaning if I’m conscious. (Image by Sian Butcher/Buzzfeed.)

Emily Nagoski (PhD), (the woman who wrote Come as You Are: The surprising new science that will transform your sex life) wrote a post entitled: The one reason I haven’t shared that tea/consent thing.

This is what she’s talking about, if you haven’t seen it or need a refresher:

The text of the video (with some spiffy illustrations by Sian Butcher) can be found here.

Emily… Dr Nagoski? She seems like the sort of person who’d say, ‘Please, call me Emily.’ So. Emily, makes a few very good points.

One is that many perpetrators of sexual violence don’t care about consent–they know the other person isn’t interested but feel entitled to the other person’s body. Gross. But that’s correct. Those people think their tea is so amazing you’re going to have it no matter what.

And the other was that even when people don’t necessarily want sex (I’ve just typed tea there) they want what goes along with it so they’ll accept the sex in order to get the other things. A person may say yes to sex when what they really want is just to be held or a relationship or an emotional connection. Or something even more complex like they want to be able to say they had sex with a particular person.

To my mind, the sexual act has been bestowed such importance that any other physical affection is viewed as precursor. (I’m approaching this from a vanilla point-of-view. I think kinky people should have the self awareness and communication skills to be able to express exactly what they want and are hopefully mature enough to honour their partner’s wishes.)

I think that, many (vanilla) people don’t know how to ask for just a back rub or a cuddle or to have their hair brushed and to say, ‘This doesn’t have to lead to sex,’ because they expect to have to put up with sex–even if they don’t want it–to get the closeness or whatever it is they want. That’s what Western culture has taught women and men.

We teach men that touching is bad–men who touch other men are gay and weak (which is terrible!). Touching someone is only allowed for fucking and fighting.

So if a romantic partner initiates contact the non-initiator will often think it’s the go-ahead for sexytimes. I mean, you chose to start touching me/asked me to touch you, so clearly you want the touching to be everywhere. Or in the swimwear region, at least. Touching is for fighting or fucking and I don’t want to fight you (though we can if you don’t want the other one.)

Nope. Sometimes people just need a back rub or a cuddle or they want a control scene. Sorry, I know this was supposed to be about the vanillas, but people can want one specific thing and not every other thing.

The point is, genitals are not the only way to be close to another human being. I know. It’s surprising.

Western culture has lied to you, men. Western culture has lied to us all.

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