Thank you for coming to chat consent with me!
Keep the consent and communication conversation going!
Here are 3 discussion questions to consider:
- Think about a time you have felt rejection. What feelings came up for you? What did you learn? How will you support yourself next time?
- What did you think about when the discussion about boundaries came? What has been your experience with other people’s boundaries? Can you name a boundary you would like to work on exploring?
- What ‘YES’ and ‘NO’ are you going to practice as homework?
Consent, let's break it down: Think FRIES.
Freely given: Consent is all about making your choices without any pressure, manipulation, or the influence of substances like drugs or booze. It's your call, no strings attached.
Reversible: Hey, change is a part of life, right? That applies to consent too. You're in control, and it's totally cool to change your mind about what you're up for, even if you've been there before, even if you're chilling in bed.
Informed: Here's the deal: you've got to know what's what before you say "yes." If someone promises to use protection but doesn't follow through, that's not the full story and not the full consent.
Engaged: Let's get real. Your "yes" should come from genuine interest to do something, not some pressure to meet expectations. When it's about getting intimate, it's all about doing what you truly want, not what you think you should do. You can be nervous and still be communicating that you want to do something. You can be enthusiastic or not, but engaged consent is a must.
Specific: Saying "yes" to one thing doesn't mean you've signed up for everything. Like, if you're all about making out in the bedroom, that doesn't mean you're automatically down for everything else.
Just remember FRIES and you're rocking the conversation about consent! 🍟💬
Consent questions to practice:
- What are you in the mood for?
- What kinds of fantasies do you think about?
- What things are a turn off for you?
- Is there anything about your body I should know that would be important for your pleasure?
- What kinds of things put you in a relaxed headspace?
- How can we make things comfortable for your body?
- What do you look and sound like when you're having a good time or when you're not having a good time?
- Would you be open to using a safe system?
- I'm open to feedback, how do you feel about feedback?
- I'm a little nervous about X, but I'm excited about X - how about you?
- Is there anything on your mind that might distract you from what we're doing?
- What are you open to? What are you not open to?
- How do you like to be touched? What pressure, speed, areas?
- What are your limits? Boundaries? Turn offs? Icks?
- How important is orgasm to you?
- What kinds of sexy touch feels good for you? Soft? Intense?
- What words do you like to use for your body?
Consider asking and answering these questions yourself too! Conversations around mutual pleasure can be awkward but they can also be fun and build confidence.
INVITE FEEDBACK. GO SLOW. CHECK-IN. BE CURIOUS.
10 WAYS TO ASK SOMEONE FOR A KISS 😘
Asking for a kiss is a form of giving and receiving. Context matters for giving and receiving - is this an appropriate relationship to ask for a kiss in? Would this be a surprise request to the other person because of the type of relationship you have? Is it safe for the other person to say no to your request to kiss or be kissed? Do you have expectations or feel obligated about kissing?
After checking in with yourself, here are questions you could phrase for a kiss request:
May I kiss you?
Would you be interested in a kiss?
I'd love to kiss you, would you be into that? I
f you're into it, I'd like to kiss you.
I had so much fun with you tonight - I'd be open to a goodnight kiss if you are.
I'm open to a goodnight kiss but I'm also open to saving it for another time.
You have really nice lips, I've thought about kissing them. How does that sound to you?
If you wanted to kiss me I'd be super down for that.
Is kissing something you're comfortable with on first dates?
I feel like kissing you, but I'm not sure if that's a yes, no or maybe for you?
TIPS FOR MAKING A NEW CONNECTION
Making new connections is exciting! Depending on your communication style, you might find some of these more fun or come naturally to you than others. There are lots of ways to demonstrate friendliness and openness, it might take some trial and error to find the one that’s right for you.
Here are 10 practical tips for approaching someone new, whether you're looking to make friends or ask them out on a date:
- Be Yourself, Seriously: Authenticity rules. Don't try to be someone you're not. Show the real you, and you'll attract the right people.
- Smile and Make Eye Contact: A warm smile and genuine eye contact work wonders. It shows you're approachable and interested in engaging. If smiling or making eye contact makes you feel uncomfortable, try using other body language like nodding, turning towards the person you’re speaking to or using words to show you’re interested in what they are saying.
- Start with Small Talk: No need to dive into deep conversations right away. Start with simple topics like classes, food, shows, hobbies, or campus events. It's a comfortable way to break the ice. Try learning something new about this person even though you might have different interests.
- Listen Up: When they talk, really listen. Show interest in what they're saying, and ask follow-up questions. People love feeling heard. Stay away from 'yes or no' questions, as open-ended questions and be genuinely curious about their answers to get to know them. You can say, ‘oh, I don’t know much about that, can you tell me more?’
- Compliments, Done Right: Give a sincere compliment, but keep it respectful. It could be about their style, a project they've done, or something you genuinely admire. Generic compliments like 'you're sexy' can fall flat - but complimenting someone's style like their cool hair colour/cut or fashion sense can open up a conversation about self-expression, shopping and other likes and dislikes.
- Shared Interests: Find common ground. It could be a TV show, a sport, or a passion for working on a project together. Shared interests make great conversation starters. Don't have many interests? Get some by joining communities, signing up to learn something new, volunteer for a cause, try out recipes, explore dance, sports or art. What are you excited about in life?
- Body Language Speaks Volumes: Body language is not universal across all social settings and cultures. In general, you can try to keep your body language open and inviting - whatever that feels like for you. For some people it might be no crossed arms, and a relaxed posture. Be mindful of the other person's body language - what is it telling you and what assumptions might there be about their body language?
- Ask for Advice: Everyone likes to feel helpful. Ask for their opinion on something, whether it's the best coffee spot on campus or a recommendation for a good book, podcast or show.
- Plan Casual Hangouts: Instead of jumping straight into a date proposal, suggest casual hangouts like grabbing lunch or attending a campus event. It's a more relaxed way to spend time together.
- Respect Boundaries: Whether you're making friends or pursuing something more, respect their comfort zone. If they're not interested or seem uncomfortable, gracefully back off. If you were being friendly and they invited you to hang out in a way you're uncomfortable or not sure about - you can say 'Thanks for the invite, can I get back to you?'
Remember, it's all about building connections based on mutual respect and understanding. Practice empathy for the experience of the other person and compassion for your own feelings of anticipation. So go out there and rock those new interactions! 🌟🗣️
HOW DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU WANT?
TIPS FOR MANAGING REJECTION
FEEL THE FEELINGS
What feelings are coming up? Anger? Sadness? Abandonment? Frustration? Feeling left out? From our intense feelings, we sometimes have stories that are also really intense. Not getting that internship you wanted might turn into a story about how you are completely incapable and will never get an internship.
It's ok to feel the big feelings, but other people are not responsible for your feelings especially if they aren't feeling the same way. Find people who you feel safe and comforted by to talk about your feelings with. This could be a close friend, family member, therapist, or partner.
GIVE YOURSELF COMPASSION
What can you do to make yourself feel supported? What might you say to a best friend who was feeling what you're feeling?
- This hurts right now, but it will take time to get better.
- It's normal for you to be mad about this, I'm sorry you're feeling so disappointed.
- It makes sense you're frustrated, what would make you feel comforted right now?
THEIR 'NO' IS ABOUT THEIR CHOICE.
Someone's 'no' to you is about their 'yes' to themselves. Respecting someone's boundary doesn't always mean we like it or are happy about it, but we can only control ourselves - not other people.
REFLECT ON YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES
Sometimes we are rejected because of something we did. Maybe we messed up an interview because we were nervous or we were pushy asking someone out or maybe we've made a mistake. Then it's up to us to take responsibility for that behaviour with or without the other person. We can always encourage ourselves to do better next time and grow from the experience.
INVEST IN YOUR FRIENDSHIPS
Investing in your friendships makes rejection a little softer. Our friends remind us we are lovable and likeable outside of our accomplishments or attractiveness. Make plans with your friends, vent with them or spend time with family. Friendships can also be a place to get a different perspective about the situation.
EXPLORING PLEASURE AND NAVIGATING SHAME
Many of us grew up in social, cultural and family contexts where we didn't learn about healthy relationships and intimacy. If you feel shame about sex and sexuality, it's understandable. Many people do. Shame might feel like guilt or that you've done something bad. You can navigate shame to find more space for pleasure by asking yourself questions like (try journalling or discussing with a friend you feel safe with):
- What did I learn about sex growing up? What do I know about sex now? What information am I missing? What feels confusing?
- What did I learn about sex before marriage?
- What did I learn about what types of relationships are valued by society or my family or cultural group?
- What did I learn about my body and sex?
- What's something I wish I knew about relationships and sexuality that I didn't know before?
- Do I have unanswered questions about things like anatomy, sexually transmitted infections, safer sex and birth control? Where can I get accurate answers to these questions?
- How can I support building a healthy relationship to myself? What can I say to myself when sexual shame comes up? How can I be compassionate to myself?
MORE Consent Resources
- University of Toronto Sexual Violence Prevention and Support
- Scarleteen - Sex education for the real world
- Planned Parenthood - quality information on sexual health and birth control
- Sherbourne Health Centre - Trans health care and info
- Consent Wizardry
- Mariah Sex Ed Files
- Comprehensive Consent
- Ace Sex Ed
- What's My Body Doing - Queer Sex Ed
KEEP EXPLORING PLEASURE WITH THESE BLOGS: