Tag Archives: consent

What a Good Guy Barometer Looks Like

You can measure the quality of a guy by the proximity of which he brings up condoms. It’s a direct relationship: the sooner he mentions them, the better he is!

At the bottom of the barometer scale is this guy:

You’re both naked. You’ve been rolling around, kissing, whatever. It’s hot. You’re at that point where you’re getting worried about proximity of genitals on genitals, so you roll it out. “Hey, are we ready for a condom? Should I grab one for us from my trusty bedside stash?” (You’re always stocked, of course, because you enjoy some healthy slutting. It keeps things fun!)

This one’s a bad egg, though, and he’s going down the Wonka trash shoot: “I’m too big for a condom,” he says. Or, maybe: “I can’t feel anything with those things on.”

He’s a dick, so you don’t want his dick.Hot-Peni-small

 

The middling man goes here:

You’re edging toward naked, or maybe you’re fully naked. You’re rolling around, rubbing closer. It’s getting hot in here. That moment comes again. Looks like there’s going to be some hetero-normative penetration in not too long, if you’re reading the signs right. You sort of pause, maybe, or slow down, and he notices your slight deceleration before you get the words out. “Should we get a condom?” he asks.

Winner! Super hot when the guy takes some responsibly and asks first!Hot-Peni-medium

 

And the stellar, gold-star, barometer busting man?

You’ve been talking all night. It’s total heart-to-heart. Heart-to-heart moves on to mouth-to-mouth and you decide to move things from the couch to the bedroom. You sit down on his bed, and the music goes on, the lights go off. He says, holding your hand, ready to start kissing you again, “Just so you know, I have condoms if we need them. No pressure though.” Swoon!

This guy’s a winner.Hot-Peni-large

What do you think? What makes your barometer burst?

Monologues are independent stories. Opinions shared are the author’s own,

#MySexPositivity by Angel Noir

This self-help Kinkster and leather champion understands how sexual and gender stereotypes can constrain our minds and fear our authentic selves. Her workshops function to breakdown shame and help people discover and play with sexual creativity in safe, holistic ways. Angel Noir believes that sex positivity is fundamentally collaborative. It will not continue to progress as a community and philosophy without support from each other.     

1) Identify one or two trends, or influential people in the Sex Positive community that you identify with (or are inspired by) and those trends which you relate to not-so-much.

Narrowing down my answer to this question is by far the hardest part of this interview! There are so many exciting sex positive folks and trends right now that it is difficult to choose only one or two! One of my very favorite projects ever is The Gender Book. It allows one to easily discuss gender and breaking free of stereotypes with a wide array of age groups and even provides colorful visual aids. It’s inspiring and easily relate-able. Within the Kink community, I’ve been able to play with gender identity and explore my own expression. I have found great freedom within androgyny as it subverts and transcends simplistic binary, masculine/feminine categories.

I’ve also been inspired by Kali Williams and her work on informed consent and sexuality education accessibility. Erotication is an amazing body of work. Her collaborative site showcases a host of educators I admire in one smart package and gives me hope for a future that includes safe options for exploring sexuality without the threat of being ostracized.

2) How do you define “sex positivity” for yourself and your work? In other words, what is your primary passion and how do you distinguish your writings and interests from other branches of thought within the sex positive movement?

AngelNoir-We-have-a-lot-of-work-to-do-QuoteI believe that everyone should have the right to love and explore their sexuality in the ways that feel right to them without fear of judgment provided there are no consent violations. We have a lot of work to do to break down the many cultural stereotypes that shroud sexuality in shame and secrecy. It’s my goal to support any work that serves that agenda and this is an ever present goal in my own work. Every mind control workshop I conduct or behavior modification program I craft spends at least some time examining each participant’s motivations to ensure that my work is being used in ways that promote this version of sex positivity. Sexual freedom and the responsibility it entails seems to me a logical part of human evolution. It seems equally obvious that we all must work together to evolve.

3) What directions do you think sex positivity will take within the next 5 – 10 years? Or what topics and with what platforms would you like to see sex positivity develop more thoroughly within the next 5 – 10 years?

For me, there are four areas which I watch closely and feel strongly about: Polyamory, Kink, Consent awareness, and sex workers’ rights.

I would love to see far more acceptance of polyamory, the decriminalization of kink, and a serious shift away from the rape culture we currently live in. I believe we have the capacity to accept and embrace the importance of companionship and create safer more fulfilling career options for sex workers. In general, I support the growth of activism that promotes abandoning shame and embracing our authentic sexual selves.

Angel Noir is a sex positive activist, kink and sexuality educator, and neuroplasticity warrior. She is the titleholder for Miss Virginia Unlimited Leather 2014 and is working towards releasing a book on erotic mind control. Her central goal in life is the creation of mutually beneficial interactions and relationships with other self aware, sex positive individuals. Angel Noir spent her early life immersed in a kink-charged environment. This helped mold her views on the horrors of sexual shame that society perpetuates. To overcome her own demons she harnessed the power of neuroplasticity and is now reprogramming the parts of her personality that don’t suit the person she wants to be.

Opinions shared are the author’s own. Want to participate in this interview series? What is your sex positivity?

Understanding Consent

Follow @Condommonologue and @Radsexpdx

To share this poster, simply copy the HTML embed code below and paste into your blog post, tumblr or anywhere else that uses html:

Let us know how and where you share the poster and we’ll swing by.

This poster is inspired by one of the most progressive pieces on consent yet. “The Consent Post” by Elena Kate exposes the inherent problems of the “No means No” approach and re-frames consent as “Yes means Yes”. What’s more, she goes beyond simple definitions by acknowledging nuances and complexity. It is contrary to what most sex education programs teach (if consent is mentioned at all!); consent is not a single uniform act of permission. Elena writes that consent is an on-going, “cooperative investigation of options, and a careful, considerate selection that is approved and preferred by all parties involved”.

What do you think?

Check out more illustrations by the Condom Monologues collective!

#MySexPositivity with Kali Williams

This sex positive is all about action and open access. Kali is a BDSM expert with 13 years experience in the adult industry and has devoted herself to sexual education for adults. Her sex positivity is to enable informed choices. She founded the Kink Academy in 2007 and branched out to Passionate U, both education websites for adults of all levels of experience. She is also the founder of the Fearless Press, which explores the intersection of sex and other aspects from everyday life from relationships to spirituality and personal style. She wants to see more inclusion of Kink in the mainstream and sex workers’ legitimate voices taken seriously in academia. 

1) Identify one or two trends, or influential people in the Sex Positive community that you identify with (or are inspired by) and those trends which you relate to not-so-much.

It’s exciting to see Sabrina Morgan growing in her public writing about the sex positive community and the sex worker perspective. She’s really insightful and gets straight to the heart of whatever she’s talking about. Also, Charlie Glickman has always been one of the most inspirational people in the community in my opinion. He manages to talk about really complex issues, particularly regarding sexuality and gender identity, in a way is easy to relate to and understand.

As far as trends go, I’m excited to generally see a lot more people actively interested in being sex educators. Even more importantly I’m excited to see some nationally known educators doing trainings for up and coming sex educators. When I started doing BDSM workshops there weren’t any ways to find mentors or learning specific to the sexuality field.

I’ve been thinking about it and while there are trends that I don’t relate to as part of my personal identity, I am still excited to see progress that’s being made in those other areas of the sex positive community.

2) How do you define “sex positivity” for yourself and your work? In other words, what is your primary passion and how do you distinguish your writings and interests from other branches of thought within the sex positive movement?

For me, the definition of “sex positive” is the same as it is for “feminism”… it all comes down to choice. Even the Kink phrase “safe, sane & consensual” is pretty subjective, at least the “safe” and “sane” parts. The #1 requirement is consent, and more specifically, enthusiastically informed consent.

For-me-the-definition-of-sex-positivity-KALI-QuoteSo the “informed” part has become a driving part of my personal mission and is the reason I founded Erotication in the first place. There are a lot of “risky” activities in creative sex, but that doesn’t mean we should shy away from them. There are a lot of risky things in any aspect of living life outside of a closet! But to educate ourselves in every and any way possible opens up the possibility for a lot more successful (aka positive!) sexual experiences.

In terms of how that distinguishes my work, it has been particularly important to me that “sex positivity” is reflected in the wide range of topics made available on Kink Academy and Passionate U. It can be easy to censor based on my own preferences and interests, but instead I look at whether the people teaching and being taught are highly considerate of physical and mental health, safety and consensuality.

3) What directions do you think sex positivity will take within the next 5 – 10 years? Or what topics and with what platforms would you like to see sex positivity develop more thoroughly within the next 5 – 10 years?

My biggest personal and professional hope is that sex positivity both within the community and in the mainstream will continue to give kinksters more acceptance. I truly believe the ‘kink movement’ needs to take a similar path to the ‘gay movement’ in coming out and talking with others. When more people realize they know someone who is kinky then the stigma will finally start to fade. I also hope that sex workers become more recognized and respected within the academic sexuality arena. It’s been beyond frustrating to be left out of important discussions because of what I like to call ‘in the field’ work. When sexuality professional organizations acknowledge the kind of learning and insights that can come from being a sex worker, there will be a lot more potential for cross-over activism.

Obviously, I have a bias but I hope that video-based, online learning about sexuality continues to grow. I believe it’s like the VCR for porn. It opens up this huge opportunity for private learning on the user’s end and massive reach for educators.

Regardless of all the online community that’s building these days (which is an awesome thing!), in-person events will always play a big part in both activism and education. I think using videos and forums to create a strong foundation allows the face-to-face time to be more meaningful and efficient.

Opinions shared are the author’s own. Want to participate in this interview series? What is your sex positivity?

Condoms Are Consent

My story is about how, for me, safer sex is intrinsically tied to consent. I cannot give consent without feeling safe. One time during sex (however safe I felt) the guy took the condom off without telling me. He figured, once we got this hot and heated, there were no cues that I was saying “no”. I feel guilt sharing this because I know people will judge me for having sex with this guy even after his display of Jerk-Assness; even after he breached my consent. People will judge that I lack self-respect; that I gave mixed messages; that I’m a slut. Whatever. I’m telling this story because issues of consent are not easy to navigate flow-charts. I’m saying that lusty desire and consent can be full of emotional contradictions.ConSentConDom

It was New Year’s Eve. The cocktail of booze and dancing at a friend’s custom party led to flirtation and ultimate make out sessions between “Gladiator” and I (I was dressed as “Uhura” from Star Trek). We had not really talked before but tonight I was feeling that I could have some casual sex. At that point in my life, in the context of that party, and our swelling chemistry, tonight I knew and wanted casual, just-for-fun sex.

I slipped into the new year sloppily kissing. An hour or so after midnight, we said goodbye to friends and got in a taxi and went home. We were tipsy but I felt in control. I felt safe. We sloppily made out some more. It got to the point where he was looking for a condom which I insisted upon (I worked at Planned Parenthood. Condoms are like second nature to me so I had no problem standing my ground despite his subtle condom-disgruntle).

Halfway through the act, he pulled out to switch positions. When we switched again, I reached down and felt his bare, condomless dick. “Where’s the condom!?”

“Oh, it was bunching up so I took it off.”

My heart dropped. WTF!

I yelled at him for his lack of respect for me and rolled over. I was beside myself. Angry. I did not consent to this! But despite feeling violated, I didn’t want to get up from the bed and walk 2 miles home alone in the early freezing morning. I was fine with just turning my back to him and falling into a boozy sleep.

The next morning I woke up next to him and he started to kiss me again. I liked his kisses. He made me feel hot.  I tried to forget about last night and just be “cool”. No fusing. This was just-for-fun, after all.

We got hotter. Sex was on the cards again.  Then he tried to have to sex with me without a condom again!star trek face palm

I gripped his naked dick before entering me and said to him with a heavy breath, “We are not having sex without protection.”

He swiftly located a new condom and I helped put it on.  The compromise, between my feelings of unease and our lust to have sex, was that we used a condom. I had sex with him again. He kept it on. Soon after, I trekked home in my New Year’s costume feeling like this is not the way the real “Gladiator” would have fucked “Uhura”.

Monologues are independent stories and the opinions shared are the author’s own.

#MySexPositivity with Ashley Manta

See sex positivity through the eyes of empowerment guru, Ashley Manta, and you’ll start to redefine your weakness for strength. By a personalized, “be yourself” approach to sexuality & gender, her work unveils taboo topics like STIs, sexual violence and body confidence. Adaptive and progressive as the sex positive community may be, Manta argues that it lags behind in the way of STI awareness and prevention. Words like ”clean” and “dirty” are not in this teacher’s vocabulary; “vulva owner” and “body safe dildos” are.

1) Identify one or two trends, or influential people in the Sex Positive community that you identify with (or are inspired by) and those trends which you relate to not-so-much.

One of the trends that I love in the sex positive community right now is the emphasis on collaboration over competition. For a long time, sex educators and bloggers were operating from a model of scarcity where there must be a finite number of potential readers or audiences and thus we must push each other down to get our message out. Now we are supporting one another in every possible way. I first noticed this when I attended Tristan Taormino’s “Sex Educator Boot Camp” at CatalystCon East in March. She pointed out that we’re all in this together and by supporting each other, we’re creating a thriving community. Doing something as simple as keeping a blog roll or a “sex positive resources” page on one’s website is enough to show visitors “hey, I’m not the only game in town and I want you to find a voice that really resonates with you.” I would always prefer that someone hire me because they vibe with me and not because they think I’m the only option they have. There are so many amazing educators with different experiences who bring rich conversations to any audience. I want people to experience all of them, not just me.

A trend that I’m less crazy about is the “consent is sexy” messaging. As a sexual assault survivor and someone who has done extensive work in sexual violence prevention, I appreciate the intention of the message. It’s a catchy phrase and it does get people talking about consent, which is a good thing. My concern is that it’s an oversimplification. Consent is not always sexy—sometimes it’s downright awkward. Having a conversation about boundaries, STI testing, and other pre-sex talking points can be incredibly difficult. That does not make it any less necessary. I think it’s important to let people know that these conversations can be challenging and that good sexual communication takes practice. “Consent is sexy” can make it sound like having an explicit talk about boundaries is akin to an aphrodisiac. It’s just not that simple. I worry that people will hear that message, make an attempt to start the conversation, and then become discouraged when it gets awkward. I would like to see more nuances in discussions about consent rather than trying to boil it down to a catch phrase.

2) How do you define “sex positivity” for yourself and your work? In other words, what is your primary passion and how do you distinguish your writings and interests from other branches of thought within the sex positive movement?

IveLearnedToLeanIn-1As a sex educator, I categorize my work as sex positive because I take a “no-shaming” approach to education. I believe sexuality is healthy, normal, and entirely optional. Rather than take a “sex is awesome everyone should do it” stance, I prefer to communicate a “be yourself” message. I would hate to alienate people who are asexual or not at a sexual point in their lives. At the same time, I make every attempt to celebrate sexuality in those who do choose to be sexual. I also believe sex positivity means sexual inclusivity, so I try to make my language about gender and sexuality as broad as possible. That means saying “vulva owners” instead of “women” and “how to please your partner” instead of “how to please your man.” We live in an incredibly heteronormative, ableist, and cisgender normative culture and I want my writing and teaching to model inclusivity.

My primary passion is teaching. I believe that by sharing my experiences, I give others permission to do the same. My friend and colleague Kate McCombs calls it “being a beacon of permission.” I would like to take sexuality out of the realm of giggles and whispers and bring it into daily conversation. I’m a huge fan of Brene Brown’s work, which emphasizes vulnerability as being the key to connection (TedTalk video). As much as appropriate, I try to model that in my writing and teaching. I use my birth name instead of a pseudonym, share my story of being a sexual assault survivor, and write about living with Herpes and struggling with body confidence. I’ve learned to embrace discomfort and “lean in” to awkward conversations, because those are the ones that tend to bring the deepest connections with others.

3) What directions do you think sex positivity will take within the next 5 – 10 years? Or what topics and with what platforms would you like to see sex positivity develop more thoroughly within the next 5 – 10 years?

When I think about how much things have changed in just the past 5 years, I get so excited about the future! One of the things I see happening in the sex positive movement is a greater reliance on technology for getting the message out to the world. Social media, video chat, webinars—these tools are going to bring sex positivity to a greater audience than ever before. I believe we’re going to get to a point where distance is no longer a barrier to bringing an educator into a classroom.

As more information begins to disseminate among the general population, I think there will be a trend toward body safe materials in sex toys and products. Currently the sex toy industry is completely unregulated, and I think with a growing awareness of the dangers of chemicals in certain types of toys, there will be a push for more regulation or oversight.

I would love to see the notions of “clean” and “dirty” disappear from conversations about STIs. This is an incredibly stigmatizing way to talk about having or not having an STI. Because it starts at an institutional level (not those words specifically but the emphasis on “STIs are bad”), I’d like to see Public Health and Sex Positive communities take a different approach to prevention and management. That will eventually trickle down into social norms. Having an STI is not the end of the world. Being ignorant about STIs is dangerous. There are consequences to not treating something like Chlamydia. That’s why we need to raise awareness and encourage testing. At the same time, I think we’re going to start realizing that STIs are part of being sexually active. The prevalence of HPV is skyrocketing and more than 20% of the US population has Herpes. I don’t think that shaming people who have an STI is going to aid in prevention. If anything, it makes people less likely to talk about it. I think we need education about STIs and barrier options and greater access to testing and treatment.

A project that tackles STI stigma is The Herpes Opportunity. Recommended by Ashley.  

Opinions shared are the author’s own. Want to participate in this interview series? What is your sex positivity?



Promises I Didn’t Know I Made

YouNeverOweSexI was out late with friends. I was 19-years-old and lit up with enough alcohol to make me silly, energetic, and flirtatious. I was flirting without aim – with female friends and male friends, and without thinking through intentions. I didn’t have any real design, I was just feeling good. We went from bar to bar. I was spinning and heady. At one point I remember grabbing a guy’s hand and running off, speeding the group along.

Later that night, I went back to my friend’s apartment. I was sleeping on her couch, or that was my plan. That is, until her upstairs neighbor, who was the boy whose hand I had grabbed, led me off to his bedroom. I was pliant and thoughtless; young and inexperienced.

In his bed, he kissed me. His hands started roving over my body. That sobered me up somewhat. Finally, I was thinking about where I was and what I was doing. And I didn’t want to be doing it. I pulled away and told him as much. To his credit, he did stop touching me. Not as much to his credit, he then preceded to beg. “Please,” he said. “You held my hand.” He waited. “Please, have sex with me. You held my hand.” I again told him no. He continued, “Please have sex with me!”

I’ve never felt so stone-cold and turned off. He wouldn’t relent. He pleaded, begged, and I finally realized I had to remove myself from the situation because he was not going to stop or accept my “no.” I left his room and went down to the couch at my friend’s place.

In the morning, I brought it up with her. She was not impressed – with me. Like him, she said, “But you held his hand. You flirted.”

And so I did. I wouldn’t say it was my most responsible night. I wasn’t thinking through my actions, their consequences, or what they might communicate to others. Some growing up has helped that sort of thing. But he was also not responding to me. Would he really want to have sex with a girl whom he badgered into it? Was the sex more important to him than my desire for it? I was lucky, in that my indiscretion led me to the bed of a rather sad, wheedling boy, and not an outright aggressive one. He wouldn’t let my “no” be, but other than attempting to force me with words, he didn’t force me. I left annoyed with him, sobered that he was so much more interested in having sex than whether or not I wanted to have sex- but otherwise unharmed.

I also left shocked at my friend, and that she would assert that any sort of flirtation amounts to a promise for sex; that the so-called promise obligates a woman to later deliver on that sex, no matter how she feels or what she wants; and also that flirtation justifies men to be pushy as they make their claim for what they feel they deserve, impervious to what the woman might want herself.

It was not the first time, or the last, that a boy would beg me to have sex with him, or tell me that I had effectively already made a promise of sex to him through my behavior.

In many of those cases, my behavior was far less promising and flirtatious than it had been on that night. For instance, one evening I watched a movie alone with a male friend. We talked, enjoyed the film, and he made a move. It was unwelcome, and I told him I wasn’t really into it. He wouldn’t accept my no, either. He grew increasingly belligerent about it as I continued to assert myself, saying that I was obligated to have sex with him since I’d watched the film with him. The night ended with me kicking him out of my house.

There are no promises in sex or love. Consent has to happen all along the way. And men’s desires don’t get to trump women’s desires. Unless both people are into it, and both people are saying yes, the situation sucks.

Monologues are independent stories and the opinions shared are the author’s own. Do you relate to this story? Share in the comments.

What gets me hot?

Or, switch the question around a bit: When do I feel hottest?

The answer may not sound so hot at first: safety gets me hot. Or, in other words, I feel hottest when I feel safest.

I don’t mean that indiscriminately. I don’t mean I’m a medical kit fetishist. I don’t salivate over sterile gauze and neosporine tubes. I also don’t get my knickers in a twist over seat belts, locked doors, and the before-take-off emergency directions on airplanes. What I mean is that in the context of sex, safety is a must. Only when I feel truly safe do I also feel free, uninhibited, and able to totally enjoy what’s going down between me and my partner(s).

Consent Makes Me Horny

The sort of safety I need comes in a lot of forms. One of the most basic forms is consent. There’s no way I’ll get into the bed of any man or woman if I think they won’t hear me when I say “no,” and long before that look for me to say “yes”. Sex is never a promise. Watching a film together, drinking together, making googly eyes at one another across a table, is never a promise. Just like getting into bed with someone is also not a promise. Respectful partners, good partners, hot lovers pay attention and check consent all along the way. The best sex happens when partners aim to please, and part of aiming to please is paying attention to what your partner wants at every step, and never forcing it.

Condoms Make Me Horny

The essentials covered, another of the fundamentals of safety is, yes, contraceptive safety. I have a personal preference for condoms. They don’t mess with my body’s hormones, they’re reversible and fairly non-invasive. To be uninhibited in bed, I need to feel fairly confident that no babies are going to result, as I’m not yet at a point in life when babies are what I want. Condoms have the added benefit of protecting against STIs. Twofer, as far as I’m concerned.

CondomsMakeMeHorny-OnBed-croppedI hate the condom discussion, and if a guy objects too strongly to wrapping it up, I’m often inclined to ditch him, no matter how into him I am. To me complaining about condoms shows a lack of respect for my welfare and also a lack of responsibility for his own. Both of those things suck.

But you know what’s really hot?

When a guy wraps it up, no questions asked, and even takes initiative and responsibility for protecting against pregnancy and infection. When he does things like, you know, ask me how I want to handle it and gets out a condom himself.

I’m so trained to equate condoms with truly hot sex that I’m like Pavlov’s dogs. Far from creating an odd moment out, for me I see those square little wrappers appear from pockets and bedside drawers and I get excited. I know what comes next!

The safer I feel with someone, the more uninhibited I feel. Everyone knows that inhibitions can really get in the way, and I’ve got to say, feeling uninhibited leads to some pretty amazingly hot encounters.

Monologues are independent personal stories. The opinions shared are the writer’s own.