Sex should be good for you and your partner(s) and for that to happen it must be truly consensual!
The dominant culture teaches some of us that we are entitled to sex and that the object of our sexual interest is just that, an “object”, and not a person. Sexual predation … how to “hit that”, “score”, etc. follow as normalized expressions of sexual interest and behavior. These are inherently non-consensual modes of expressing sexual interest and often lead to violations of other’s boundaries and well-being. This rape culture is deeply ingrained and must be addressed on an institutional and societal scale. Here are also some suggestions for challenging it on a personal level:
Tips for regaining power:
• Know yourself. Listen to your heart; articulate your needs and boundaries.
• Don’t apologize unless you have done something physically or emotionally harmful. Whether you want to be intimate with someone is always your choice.
• Exercise your ability to reach out to friends and family for help.
• Practice saying no powerfully to yourself and your partner. “Fuck off” is acceptable at times too.
If you have power, question it:
• Compassion. Listen to your partner’s needs despite your wants, and desires.
• Follow-through: if your partner is uncomfortable in any intimate situation respect their discomfort and check-in later on how they are doing.
• Build your peers up; emotional demolition is not stylish!
• Build your emotional vocabulary and talk about your feelings! It’s beautiful and powerful.
• R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Every body is a temple.
• Be vocal about sexual assault you, or friends experience or perpetrate.
Practicing collective power – for everyone:
• Be aware of power dynamics in a relationship.
• Be an ally – engage bystanders and intervene!
• Use the buddy system and let your buddy know what you are and are not comfortable with prior to entering a social situation.
• Check-in, “Hey, are you okay?”
• Practice talking about consent with your partner. An enthusiastic, non-intoxicated, verbal “yes.”
• Encourage others to be aware of the structures of power in society and engage compassionately with one another to be emotionally aware, articulate, comfortable, compassionate, and expressive.
• Practice saying yes, emphatically and excitedly to yourself in the mirror and your partner!