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Learning good consent – bring all of you along!

Learning good consent – introduction

The kinds of consent we have learned at school are generally pretty poor. Our “no” might be absent, our “yes” might include tolerating what we don’t want to experience, maybe even with a smile!

People carry these pattern into therapy too believing – “I must endure this [touch, experience, intervention, whatever it is] to make me feel better … because they are the EXPERT, right?”

Wrong! You can expect me to bring skilful touch, insights and expertise, to whatever questions you are bringing. However it is more correct to view the process of transformation as like creating an amazing piece of art.

I can guide and teach you – but only YOU can create the masterpiece of you. This means my work is to call you forth, especially when it comes to receiving touch. Because it is through your body that both autonomy – and the impact of violations – most acutely express.

That’s why embodied consent teachings will underpin any work I do with you that includes touch. This is the keystone of my somatic sex therapy and tantric massage therapy programmes.

Poor consent skills can play out in all our relationships, but especially the most intimate. This is because we learned from an early age, to tolerate touch we don’t want for those we loved most. This happens even in functional happy families.

Additionally because we can’t feel our own yes & no – we will often miss when other people give oblique consent signals too. Metoo has brought this paradigm sharply to a halt. In the aftermath many realise we now need to do it differently, and these practical hands on teachings show us how.

What follows can be taken as a stand alone teaching. Or in combination with any other programme on my website.

Learning good consent – begins in your body

I am deeply indebted to a revolutionary teaching The Wheel of Consent by Dr Betty Martin, an American sexologist with whom I have studied. The wheel is not just a concept – but an embodied method of enquiry into two simple but revolutionary things:

  1. Noticing the qualitative difference between direct and indirect pleasure
  2. How to ask “who is it for?” or “what is the intention of your touch?”

Number 1 is important, because we have been conditioned to over ride our responses. We tolerate some things to get other things, this is an indirect route to pleasure. For earning money to pay the bills, this is not so bad! But it becomes a problem when we loose the ability for direct and embodied pleasure.

These sessions begin with the “three minute game”. This is a process taught and played over a couple of hours minimum, during which you will learn how to notice and follow pleasure in your body. We slow everything right down so it begins just with your hand and arm.

In my somatic sex therapy sessions this work continues clothed. If you want to explore erotic touch that includes your genitals then follow these links tantric massage therapy or genuine tantric massage.

Learning good consent – begins with intention

The Wheel recognises that without clarifying the intention as well as the action, it is not possible to truly give or receive consent. This creates four quadrants of experience: Giving, Receiving, Taking and Allowing. These dynamics occur all the time in human relating, and especially when we interact physically.

Conditioning might close down or distort our expression of these qualities, we can use the Wheel as a practice to open them up again. There are many reasons why we might shut down including:

  • Being brought up as a ‘good boy or girl’ over-riding our own needs and desires
  • Our own privilege, or lack of it, may affect our expectations of what is or isn’t reasonable to expect from life in general, and connections with others in particular
  • We may be embarrassed about stating our desires or boundaries in a sexual or intimate context
  • Sometimes we may be emotionally triggered or frozen, and therefore temporarily disconnected from our authenticity
  • There may be an inherent power dynamic, which prevents us relating as equals

First and foremost the wheel will enable us to get familiar just through the sensations of our body, with where pleasure truly lives. Its important to begin by establishing a solid foundation of embodied knowing, as ideas can cloud the simple truths.

Many people travel through a whole bunch of sessions with me using this teaching alone! It is literally my number one desert island practice. I.e. if I could use only one tool with clients ever again – it would be this one!

Learning good consent – know thyself!

We might find ourselves repeating the same mistakes around consent, which is why a wider container of understanding maybe required. You may need to look to events in the past, to understand things like why –

  • you chronically under or over give
  • pleasure feels limited or held back in your body
  • you can open your heart or your sex but not both together
  • you have erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, vaginal numbness, anorgasmia or similar

This is where my full somatic sex therapy programme comes in. Drawing additionally on Bioenergetics and Breathwork we can get to the roots of these patterns and learn to move beyond them.

  • If you are interested to know more please email your enquiry using the contact form>>
  • You can also call me on 07792673021 – though it’s much easier to get hold of me by email!