Once upon a time, I was fooling around with a friend. We were playing, exploring the expansion and the limits of pleasure. We were in a place of getting to know one another, enjoying one another, having fun.
He liked to play rough and so did I… sometimes. At certain times maybe. Not at others. Nothing serious or heavy.
So we were playing. Slowly. Easing into a bit more pressure, a bit more pain. I was curious. Present. What does this feel like? And this? The different expanding sensations that arose. The anticipation of the next move. Was it going to feel better than the last?
It was fine and good and consensual. Until it wasn’t. Just like that. Until one movement that was too much, that felt violating, hurtful. Not good.
In that instance, I understood consent in a new way that up until that moment, I hadn’t experienced or considered before.
In that moment, I understood consent as a dynamic exchange that actually has to be occurring at every moment which…
may sound strange
may sound impossible
may even sound stupid
I don’t know.
What I saw was the need to being and staying present. Being present with myself in the moment. Being there with the other person. Keeping tuned into the pulse, the breath, the expression, the energy as it shifted and flowed.
To be and STAY in the yes, hopefully opening up into more yes and yes and yes and yes and yes…
Do you see what I mean?
Because this was the thing for me…
My friend is a lovely man. Very respectful and attentive. I wouldn’t have been with him if I had felt otherwise.
But here we found ourselves. In this instance, I see how both of us were lacking a presence in the somersaulting, and everflowing and expanding yes. It stopped somewhere, our minds caught up in one yes. Stalled in our own thoughts, in our own heads or …wherever.
And I hold us both responsible. He lost his attention and presence to me. Perhaps he missed cues that were there as to where I was at and that I was close to my threshold. And, I didn’t step up to speak for myself and keep myself safe when I sensed my threshold was being met. Communication was out.
And this is also the thing….
Physically, I felt pain in the moment and it wasn’t serious. Nothing persisted. Great. I don’t even remember what we were doing exactly. What I do remember is the feeling of violation. I can recall that very easily. And that’s enough for me to know that it is unacceptable for such a thing to ever occur again.
I was not taught anything about these nuanced possibilities. I knew consent to mean ‘yes.’ And a ‘no’ meant a ‘no.’ And I heard it said sometimes that a ‘no’ means ‘yes’ and that was clearly wrong (and infuriating to hear). But sometimes a ‘no’ could turn into a ‘yes.’ I experienced taht. And if you agree with me there, then logically we have to respect and understand a ‘yes’ can become a ‘no’ or a ‘maybe’ or a ‘I don’t know.’ And this can happen at anytime.
Few of us are really taught this. Much we learn through experience and ‘the hard way.’ I’d like us to do better. The conversation is opening up more and more and my hope and request is that we stay open and listening to each other. And not shutting it down because we may feel threatened or judged. How well do we respect ourselves and each other?
Because at the end of the day, sex can be an ecstatic gateway into another realm; it can be a transformational, spiritual experience. But never without true consent.
~~ At any rate, this is how it all occurred to me on this day ~~
Art by Irina Vitalievna Karkabi
P.S. Some of the work I have done within the Art of Feminine Presence and Womb Healing/Blessing has been some of the most powerful. If you struggle with boundary issues or holding your ground, please contact me for a complimentary 15 minute session, I would love to connect with you.