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Hello! I’ve been a big fan of Scarleteen for a while now. I’ll be fully honest: I love Scarleteen!
So, it’s truly an honor, thrill, and excitement to get to call Scarleteen a new home for my writing. Hey, they say home is where the heart is! While here, I’ll be mostly writing about that magnificent phenomenon we call consent. And I can’t wait to share with, hear from, and learn with you!
In my experience, getting to the heart of consent has usually involved paying close attention to detail. For example, I host consent workshops professionally, and at one point during past workshops, when the audience is generally settled and feeling comfortable opening up, I have asked, “Who here has ever had something silly and awkward happen during a hookup? Even slightly awkward.” (When I say hooking up, I'm referring to sexual activity.) Hands have shot straight up and we all ended up getting a good laugh out of it. It just goes to show how awkward connecting with sex can be, whether you're in bed, thinking about it, or just talking about it!
For a lot of reasons, including the rapid response that seems so fast it should be an Olympic record, I fully agree with my audiences and I raise my hand too -- after they do since I don’t want the audience to be biased or I end up being the only one with their hand raised. I think a lot of these awkward moments happen because of the conversations we are having around our romance, or, should I say, the conversations we aren't having.
From my experience, the conversations that end up getting a little awkward are often times those important discussions that are valuable in developing healthy sexual partners. Like asking someone for their status with sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Wow, that’s not always so easy! But, without knowing, you’ll not only have to deal with the possibility of getting an STI - you’ll have to deal with the uncertainty of whether or not you’re going to get an STI before, during, and after the rendezvous. So there’s a clear purpose to having conversations around our intimacy! For your consideration, here are some conversations you might want to have before you jump into a hookup:
Sound intimidating? Don’t worry! I’m not going to leave you hanging. Here are some ways we can make these conversations easier so we can keep them as fun, exciting, honest, and sexy as we can:
Keeping these guidelines and ideas in mind is a great step you can take. Aside from your sexual partner, there are still some things you can grapple with to make sure the consensual grappling continues. One great addition is emotional self-awareness. By being present and aware of your attitudes and responses to these conversations you can help make these conversations happen and continue to happen. Some folks find conversations about sex and consent to be:
No matter what your reactions are, you’ll soon find out that the more you try to express yourself with communication through words, the chances of these types of responses happening are greatly reduced. Translation -- in the near future this may mean that asking for dates, kisses, and a whole lot more may become a lot more comfortable and sexier! A conversation that felt scripted once might even feel totally natural once you get some practice, or one that felt unsexy at first might later turn into something that really turns you on.
So let’s recap: discussing what you’re into and discovering what you’re hookup is into by talking about it can be awkward, that is, until it’s great.
Until you both know what each other want, when, and how. That is the point when consent has given you something amazing. Consent has given you a glimpse into the desires of the person that you're with so now not only have you expressed your wants, and you’ve found out theirs, but you’ve found the overlap and that is the amazing opportunity to consensually satisfy your wants. So let's avoid the awkwardness of silence, we know that it gets us nowhere. Let's find ways to talk about something new, talk with somebody in a new way, and continue to move forward.