Another fun game to get used to consent and boundaries is to play the 3 minute game. Ask to do something with your partner; ie. Can I give you a shoulder massage. Partner to feel into their body and answer from that place, if it feels like a yes, then go ahead. However if the boundary or sensation is telling them that they are not comfortable with that, then simply say NO can you choose something else. Once an agreement is reached, put a timer on for 3 minutes. If it’s a shoulder massage that’s been offered, then it’s just the shoulders, you don’t go up the neck or down the back or arms…it’s just the shoulders. That is what you asked for. This keeps it in consent and within agreed boundaries.
You can then extend that into more of a sexual component if you are both in consent and in agreement to explore in that way…
No-one Should Ever Experience Consent in the Shadow
The more conscious and present we become the easier it is to connect from a place of authenticity. Sexual crimes of any nature is a crime against life. Perpetrators have mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and children so it’s incredibly hard to fathom how this happens. However one thing we know for sure is that it’s been happening since the beginning of time. That doesn’t make it right, that does not justify it to continue to happen.
The #metoo campaign has started to lift the lid on a worldwide capacity and women are saying NO MORE. Enough is enough! The Dalai Lama said something along the lines of “It will be the western women who will change the world”…change is coming – How does it get better than that!
We can’t change the past however it’s how we move forward into the future, that makes the difference.
Whenever there is touch, there are 2 factors, the person doing the touching and the person receiving the touch. You can touch for the other person’s benefit/pleasure or you can touch for your pleasure, how it feels for you.
There are 4 factors in the container of authentic touch. You are doing the touch, they are not doing the touch and it can be for the other person or for yourself.
Giving and Receiving
When You Are Doing touch it’s for the other person. It’s about giving, being in service and coming from a space of connection, appreciation, being useful, a place of devotion, valuing the other person and learning what sort of touch they like.
The receiver is not doing and are expressing that they may be touched and are allowing the touch. They are receiving the gift of being given to by surrendering, receiving the pleasure, being of service, supportive, useful and witnessing and being part of the experience.
You can also be doing the touch for yourself by absorbing the touch, taking it for your experience. This is about being responsible, having integrity and gratitude.
Again the receiver is in a space of not doing, they are receiving the gift of touch through being adored, attended to, supported, nurtured and valued.
An example of giving could be giving your partner head so they can experience it.
An example of absorbing could be doing head on your partner for your benefit of how it feels to do it.
Consent Can Change Every Ten Seconds…
What I mean by that is what is ok, one moment may not be ok the next moment or the next day. Consent for ourselves is about feeling into our body to see if our body wants or desires that type of touch in that moment. We are to conditioned to endure or put up with touch that we may not be enjoying and for some reason through upbringing we have difficulty in saying no, this is not ok, I’m not liking this or simply say STOP. Checking in and communicating is always a great place to start.
Try This With Your Partner or Even a Friend
Here’s an activity you can try around giving and receiving with your partner. Ask for permission and then touch their arm in a way that will feel nice for them. That’s giving.
Then touch their arm for your benefit. How does it feel on your hand, on your finger tips as you run your hand over their arm? With both play with the touch, as in light, firm, whole hand, back of the hand, fingers.
Of course with consent you could apply the same technique to their back or their genitals…
In part 5 of this blog series of 5 we look at another fun activity where we can play with boundaries and explore how to say yes and no.
Boundaries play a big part with consent and something that a lot of people don’t understand or know how to create them in many aspects of life. Think about when you were little and you were visiting Aunty Bertha or Uncle Bob or whoever and all they wanted to do was give you a big hug. Engulf you into their arms and you really didn’t want that hug, yet mum or dad are telling you, be polite, say hello, give them a hug.
So we want to feel into the energy or the space of what feels right in our body at that moment…
A Fun Game to Practice
Sit with your partner or friend and play the boundary game, it’s pretty simple. None of it’s actionable. Ask your partner/friend 3 times if you can do something to them. Make it something you know they would like and also make it something you know they won’t like. Regardless of the question, the partner/friend has to say YES. However, before answering feel into your body, then say YES and then feel into how that actually felt to say yes to something that you did not want to happen or experience and the difference it felt when you actually would like to say YES. Then reverse roles.
The 2nd part of this activity is exactly the same, though this time, one person will ask 3 more questions and this time you will again feel into your body however you will answer NO. Again feel what that feels like to say NO to something you do want to have and what it feels like to say NO to something you definitely don’t want.
You can expand on that with intimate touch. This really helps you to get present and have awareness of what you wish to receive and not receive. I recommend all people in relationship do this regularly.
In part 4 of this blog series of 5 we look and explore what exactly Consensual Touch is.
I’m going to discuss the different aspects of consent from 4 different perspectives coming from what’s known as authentic consent, or consent in the light. As well as talk about the 4 different aspects of the shadow side of consent. This information is taken from Dr Betty Martin’s Wheel of Consent, www.bettymartin.org which I’ve been taught as a Somatic Sexological Body Worker and use in my practice.
The Shadow Side of Consent…
When you are in the shadow and coming from the place of “doing” you are in fact giving from a place of control, cohersion, entrapment, bullying and martyr slavery.
When They Are Doing Touch
When in a place of they are “doing” to you, its allowing the behaviour and will bring feelings of abuse and being violated, which can allow you to become the victim.
When they are coming from the “doing” mentality it’s for their own gratification, it’s about being lecherous, getting a feel, groping, molesting, leering, abuse and rape.
When in a place of “doing” to you it’s about receiving their behaviour of being manipulative, selfish and cohersive. In other words it’s all about them.
No person should ever experience the shadow side of consent, however it is prevalent in society. The #metoo campaign which I also wrote my about my experience is paving the way for change.
So how do we bring about change for ourselves?…
When one person thinks they are giving and the other person thinks they are allowing, then no-one is actually receiving. We are tolerating it and it’s on the edge of consent and we think about it…how often are we doing this time and time again.
In part 3 of this blog series of 5 we look at boundaries. How can we recognise what they are for ourselves and some fun games to practice it.
With the huge outpouring on social media for the #metoo campaign, I’ve noticed a lot of discussions from people that still don’t quite get the implications of non consensual touch. They certainly understand the consequences of rape and sexual assault however for some reason they seem to be missing the point around sexual harassment in the variety of forms it comes in. At the end of the day there is no place for any of this.
The #metoo campaign is a great starting point to start creating the change the world requires…
With the #metoo campaign, what it shows is that when the veil of silence lifts, it creates the possibility of something different. It unburdens everyone – it allows the hidden shame and the secrets carried to be laid down for all to see.
To show that you are not alone, that there are so many others who have had similar experiences, some worse than others, yet still have experienced some form of sexual abuse or sexual assault.
Not about being a victim…
This is not about being a victim or even about gender, although I believe the statistics would show that women are the main receivers of this abuse. It’s about speaking up, putting a voice to what’s been carried silently, sometimes for years, sometimes for decades.
The energetic aspect alone from this sharing has a massive potential for change. It’s in the open, it’s being talked about, it’s not being hidden anymore.
And isn’t that what we all want to see…
If we wish to live full, happy lives where we can love ourselves and connect deeply with another human being and experience the fullness of an intimate and sexual relating experience, then we need to un-bury all these secrets and emotions that we have squashed down inside us.
We need to learn how to become present in our bodies and not be in our heads or completely out of our beings, so we can connect to ourselves and another.
We disconnect from ourselves, because of shame, guilt, lack of self worth, inability to love ourselves, body image issues, whether we are good enough, lack of confidence and more.
So we disconnect, often unknowingly from ourselves, our bodies, our hearts and our genitals…
In part 2 of this blog series of 5 we look at both sides of consent. By that I mean when we are in consent from the “light” and when it’s coming from the place of the “shadow”. Here we start to delve into the “dark” side.