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Guest Blog: No Shame, All Consent

March 11th, 2011     by Julia Horel     Comments

Today’s guest blog comes to us from Ben Privot of the Consensual Project.

The Consensual Project partners with schools and universities to bring students a fresh understanding of consent. The innovative curriculum, workshops, and website empower young people to incorporate consent into their daily lives. The Consensual Project is committed to helping students connect through consent.

Hi Shameless readers!

It’s an honor to get to share with you today.

Please let me be clear: I LOVE Shameless magazine’s shameless mantra. At the end of the day, I think shame can hold us back from exploring the lessons feminism has for us. For example, lessons around sexuality. More precisely, lessons of consent. Adages like “no means no” or “yes means yes” have been an extremely valuable start, but we need to explore more of consent, without shame, because the current status of our sexual climate still needs some serious repair. As you may be well aware, rape culture is extremely prevalent and it is willing to use misogyny, cissexism, heterosexism, and all other forms of oppression to inflict sexual violence on everyone’s bodies, particularly non-hetero cisgendered men’s bodies. Keeping rape culture alive and intact are a bunch of myths; they’re harmful and ridiculous. I know that a lot my amazing feminist friends understand rape culture but still are afflicted by one of its greatest impacts: withholding what the language of consent looks like.

While in college I explored consent, I mean really explored it: I talked about it with my hookups, partners, friends, and even professors. The more I learned about consent the more I found my relationships becoming more accountable, safer, and trusting. But they were also becoming a whole lot more intimate (I’ll spare you the details!). This speaks to the true nature of consent; it resolves to bring us both safety and pleasure! So I’d like to tear down some of the myths rape culture builds while simultaneously exploring consent. By doing so, I think we’ll be that much more able to have one uh-mazing good time, safely and mutually.

Rape culture myth: Body language is entirely reliable.

Cultures of consent: Body language isn’t reliable. It changes from person to person, hookup to hookup, and can even change within the course of hookup. For example, I’ve been in hookups where my smile in the beginning of the hookup meant “oh wow! This is incredible” and then later meant, “I’m not down with this, but I don’t want to kill the mood…”

Rape culture myth: Verbal communication is not sexy. It’s stopping what’s going on and taking a minute to be awkward.

Cultures of consent: The most effective way of communicating what we are interested in is through verbal communication. Whether it’s asking for someone’s number or negotiating your position, speed, duration, or what-have-you, verbal communication is a sexy, fun, safe, and effective way of finding and enjoying mutual pleasure.

Rape culture moth: No examples of the language of consent, what it looks like and how it’s practiced.

Cultures of consent: There are many places to find resources on consent. Zines, like Learning Good Consent, have honestly changed my life. Books like SEX: A Progressive Guide provide us with an amazing wealth of sexual health knowledge and verbalizes safer sex practices so when it comes time for us to get down with a sexual partner, we can verbalize it, too.

Rape culture myth: Rape culture is ubiquitous and seems unstoppable.

Cultures of consent: Should and CAN exist everywhere: in your partnerships, with your hookups, with any sexual relationship model you may have, amongst your friends, at work, on TV, on the fabulous blog you’re currently reading, anywhere!

These examples are just some of many. Although discussion of rape culture is a great entry-point into discussions of consent 101, there is still much more we can share. Recently, I’ve started a project called The Consensual Project aimed as sharing the lessons of consent with college audiences where my heart and soul go into proving that consent will not only make your romance safer, I guarantee it will make it more erotic. If you would like to learn more about consent and have an amazing time doing so, please give it a visit. It will be consensual, you’ll see!

I would like to ask you to take your love of consent one step further. Please help end rape culture and help us get back to enjoying the safe and sexy romance we all deserve. Please take action and share any insightful article on rape culture or consent on Facebook or Twitter!

You know, I think I’ve got a new addition to Shameless’s mantra: there is no shame in our game because it’s all consensual!

Born and raised in DC, Ben chose to head up north to study in New Jersey where he majored in Women and Gender Studies. One extracurricular dedication after another eventually culminated in his proudest fulfillment: an award winning workshop which gets students excited about exploring consent. Now Ben is going back to school: this time to impact schools the way they have impacted him.

Tags: guest blogs, rape culture

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