Sexual Consent

Tips for Bringing "The Playful" Back Into "The Sexual"

Sometimes even sex educators can really caught up in our own brains.  We think, and we write, and we talk about sex a lot.  And frankly, sometimes we talk the sexy and the pleasure right out of sex!  And if you are like most people, you want to get out of your brains just for a little while, and you want to get into your bodies. You are yearning to laugh and to play. And you just can't remember the last time that you played with your sexuality.  When was the last time you did something different? Some people even put their noses up in the air and make groaning sounds at the very thought of being sexual with their partners or with even with their own bodies.

To truly experience what it is to have sexual freedom, we need to cultivate our erotic imagination.  For each of us, our sexual freedom and playfulness lies in our ability and willingness to create a sexuality of our very own. Forget normal.  In truth, what works for doctors and some psychotherapists putting the human experiences into boxes of normal and not normal does not always serve us when it comes to sexuality.

What if we were each invited to view our sexuality as a work of art, and I handed you a blank canvas that was the size of the biggest wall you had ever seen, and an endless supply of colorful paints, pencils and markers. What if I invited you to fill this tremendous blank canvas with your erotic desires? What if you felt truly free enough to create your very own sexuality without shame, judgement or inhibitions? What if I invited you to play in your sexuality?

The human erotic imagination may be one of the golden keys to having an extraordinary sex life.  So many of us are raised with a spoken and unspoken understanding of what is allowable when it comes to having sex.  We are raised with this idea of what is "normal' and "approved" and what is not.  Quite literally,  for many of us our erotic imagination get's shut down and we are left with a very short list of what is allowable for us in our expression of sexuality. Everything else is somehow made "taboo" or "dirty" or "not normal".

That leaves us with either filled with shame over desires that we may think are wrong, or we simply become numbed out to the possibilities.

For others, we may simply have not explored how to cultivate our erotic imagination.  So what makes up our erotic imagination? What are some tools to free up and explore our erotic imagination:

  • Sexual fantasy is a great starting ground.  Allowing ourselves to travel freely in our own mind and explore without shame or putting any labels of judgement around our sexual fantasies.
  • Reading erotica and romance novels can be a great place to put your erotic flint to stone.
  • Wandering through a sex toy shop can also be a great place to cultivate your erotic imagination. Walk around and handle the toys. Often there are books and videos to explore as well.
  • Explore the idea of sexuality being playful.  When we play we are free to get things wrong, experiment, try on different roles, laugh and even be foolish. What if we looked at sexuality as play?
  • Put on costumes.  And this idea is not just limited to women.  Erotic lingerie can be a wonderful tool to assist our erotic imaginations. I know men who put on superman boxer shorts to get into the mood.  Are they exploring their erotic imagination? I think so.
  • We can all cultivate our own erotic imagination and create a sexuality of our very own.  Let go of "normal" and invite in exploration and play.  The possibilities for sexual expression is as vast and limitless as the human mind. Come play.

Let's see if I can conjure up some a  few more ideas for bringing the playful back into your sexual.

Let's get started:

1. For couples for who bored, feel like there is nothing new to do with each other and are stuck in a rut. Here is my all time favorite game. I call it, "What's in Your Basket?"  This is a couple's game. Go into a sex toy store...or go on line and each person gets half an hour to put toys in their basket. Sometimes, "Showing" our desires and fantasies is SO much less scary than "Telling".

The couple meets up and they get to look into each others baskets. Oh la la!  I bet you will find things in each others basket that you had no idea they were interested in. Remember that when your beloved brings you their basket, they are bringing you an incredibly intimate and vulnerable part of themselves. Please receive the basket with as much love, and kindness as possible. You may be truly surprised and delighted by what is in the basket, and you might be blown away too! That's great!

Now, each person gets to pick three things from the other person's basket that they are willing to explore. This is where "Consent" and "Boundaries" come in. When you pick the items in your partner's basket you are only consenting to exploring the toy or fantasies that the toy represents. You are not consenting to do it. You are consenting to explore it. Talk about it and then decide how much you want to play. And you just might be a "Hell Yes"!  And you might be a "Maybe".  It's also really acceptable to be a "No".  The hope is that you can find three items in each others baskets that you can be either a "Hell Yes" or a "Maybe" too.

It's a great way to begin the conversation of "what turns my partner on" as well as opening new playful doors for the two of you to explore. And it's fun! Amazing openings and play has happened with this delicious heart opening game.  Enjoy the conversations and experiences. Go to dinner after and then go home to slowly explore and savor the play that will unfold.

2. For all of us: Do you have a secret sexual alter ego?  You now, the sexual person you might want to be if you didn't have any rules around who you had to be in your real life as a sexual being? Have you ever spent time with your sexual alter ego? Playing on line with your secret sexual alter ego can be a lot of fun. Some people write blogs, develop Facebook pages, join sexy on line communities such as "FetLife" in order to explore and play with their secret sexual altar ego.  It's called having a "Scene Name". Some people even going out and  buying clothing for this part of themselves, and will go out in cities or areas of their town where they are not known, and enjoy  being seen in this part of themselves that they normally wouldn't allow anyone to see them.  This can be a lot of fun and very playful.  This can also be a way of "Trying On" parts of yourself.

3. Do something really different. There are so many different kinds of retreats, trips, meet ups, and centers for sex positive explorations. Sex stores in your community may be running workshops. Go. Getting out and explore some of your edges.  They are waiting for you.

Fifty Shades of Gray: A Template For Non-Ethical Bd/Sm

I keep getting requests for me to write about "Fifty Shades of Gray" because many people know, that Bd/Sm is something that I personally explore and enjoy. And initially, I was thrilled when a book turned on a nation to kink and make it really alright to talk about spanking, and bondage. But here is the deal: Fifty Shades of Gray is a really bad template for how to bring this particular flavor of sex play into your life. The first thing to understand about the Bd/Sm Community (and yes there is a community of people who speak to each other, sex educators who specialize in Bd/Sm, conferences and workshops) is all about "Safe, Sane and Consensual".  It's always safety first, with an emphasis on safe words, understanding boundaries and both parties giving consent out of shared desire: not manipulation and fear. The importance of consent is simultaneously a personal, ethical, and  social issue. It's these details that  separate what is good sexy fun from abuse. So what's wrong with Fifty Shades of Gray? It's all about the constant manipulation of consent, violating boundaries, manipulation and fear. Those are the tools of Christian's Gray Bd/Sm tool box. And while the book may be a sexy read (it's fiction!),  we really don't want to have this as our template for hot sexy delicious consensual Bd/Sm sexual encounters and relationships.

So where does Christian get it wrong?

Consent:

Christian consistently forces and manipulates consent out of the innocent, young virginal Anna.  In one scene Christian uses alcohol to gain consent out of Anna. There is nothing ethical about drawing consent out of someone that is not sober.

Christian gains consent out of Anna by playing on her fear of losing him when he presents her with a contract that she either has to sign or get out of his life. That is not true consent and there is no room for negotiation.  When we manipulate what we desire by pushing on the fear of loss or making it about "if you really cared about me....you would do this or that" we are forcing consent.

In a healthy Bd/Sm relationship consent is either given out of a place of safety and desire or not. An experienced ethical Dominant in the Bd/Sm scene would never force consent unless that was a game that the partners were playing called "Consensual Non Consent" when the players consent to "being forced".   Consent is a big deal in the Bd/Sm community and Christian never took the workshop!

There is nothing more shunned in Bd/Sm Community than forcing or manipulating consent except perhaps a violation of ignoring "Safe Words" and Christian does that too.

Safe Words:

In healthy, safe, sane and consensual Bd/Sm "Safe Words" are  holy.  They allow the "submissive" to communicate with the Dominate in a very direct way. "Red" means stop. "Yellow" means slow down.  Of course any words can be chosen and agreed upon. And here is the golden rule. When a submissive or Dominant says "Red" it means HARD STOP.  Christian not only ignored Anna's safe word in one scene but he expressed anger at her need to hold her own boundaries.  That is sexual abuse and assault. That is not Bd/Sm.  Submissive's may withdraw their consent at any time.  In Fifty Shades, Anna actually begins to hide things from Christian out of fear of his jealousy and anger. To me, this is fifty shades of an abusive, dysfunctional relationship that has very little to do with Bd/Sm.

After Care:

Bd/Sm can be an intense experience for both the Dominant and the submissive. After some intense play "after care" which can include holding, cuddling, processing, and quiet time together is very important. Christian in more than one scene denies after care to Anna.

So what is the take away here? I think that Bd/Sm is powerful, delicious and sexy! And perhaps learning the "Rules of the Game" from a novel may not be the best step! There are fabulous "How to" books out there like "The Topping Book" and "The Bottoming Book" by Dossie Easton and Janet Hardy. There  are workshops and conferences where you can learn "the ropes"!  There are even private sessions available by professionals that teach and offer these experiences one  on one or with couples.

If Fifty Shades of Gray turned you on; then great! It certainly exposed a great many people to what is possible in the world of kink. And let's face it - some of the scenes are very sexy. But it's fiction and not a very good template or role model for any "Dom" wanna be, or "Submissive" interesting in exploring the world of Bd/Sm.

Want to know more? Email me for a private complimentary consultation at Pamela@backtothebody.org  Maybe I can help.