Melissa Febos On The Gray Area Of Sex And Consent



I want to start off by talking about consent. Which all the stories deal with in some way you know. When it comes to sexual consent we tend to say things like yes means yes and no means no which simplifies things This book capture. What a truly shockingly complicated thing consent is and. I don't think we talk enough about that. Actually i think we talked about it quite a bit but we talk about it within a particular set of terms that in the process of writing this book and reflecting on it i realized don't leave a lot of space for sort of the grey areas in between and i have the experience where i went to cuddle party which i'm sure some of your listeners will be familiar with others not so much. It's pretty much what it sounds like. It's kind of like a sex party but just cutting no sex and what happened. Was i gave affirmative consent to a couple of strangers at the cuddle party cuddled with them. There is a great emphasis on consent at the cuddle party and we sort of did a whole workshop unconcerned before they cuddle party even commence and nonetheless. I consented to kabul with a couple of people that i wasn't really that excited to cuddle with and subsequently had like kind of a weird shitty experience and felt pretty gross afterwards and ended up sort of having this question for myself of y as a lifelong feminist someone who considers herself very fluent in issues around consent. Why had i said yes when i really would have preferred to say no. I set out to try to answer that question when i came up with was our experiences with consent. Don't fall into binary of yes or no good and bad right and in fact it's when you grow up in a culture where you're discouraged from ever saying no it's almost guaranteed that you're gonna have an experience of consenting to something that actually doesn't feel that good and for me it really opened up this larger topic of what what do you. Yes and no really mean in a culture where you're prescribed to say yes all the time. Also i think everyone has experienced of saying no and having to like managing emotions of the person in front of us and that can be a big challenge. Sometimes that makes you just say like instead but we don't teach how to deal with that exactly it's messy. I'm in a relationship now where it took like the whole first year of our relationship for me to get comfortable in a very welcoming environment to be like. I don't really feel like having sex right now. I'd like to stop now. And my partner is so encouraging and supportive of that. But i've spent so many years believing in experiencing that as a problem that took a lot of sort of talking in practice in bravery to undo it which is really sort of like one of the main obsessions challenges. Questions of the book. What kind of work does it taken. Is it possible to undo that kind of habituation or that kind of social conditioning. And i think like the answer i got as the reader is. Yes it's possible no. It's not easy and no. You might never be done doing that. Work right like all kinds of internal work. It might never be So you've an interesting perspective. I think as someone who is by and dates all genders just to talk about the male female binary for a second. How do you see consent. And what that means like different between men and women very broadly. Speaking my experience as a woman is that. I've been conditioned to be agreeable to accommodate other people's needs to prioritize my lover's desires ahead of my own and to say yes as much as possible array and so that could get complicated. Sometimes when you sleep with women everyone saying yes all the time. It also means that we have lots of orgasms like everybody has shit loads of orgasm. That's my experience of lesbian sex. At least at the you know after a certain age when you're comfortable asking for but it can also be sort of this like infinite feedback loop of accommodation. You know where. Nobody really wants to disappoint her upset. Anybody and so it's taken some work for for me to be able to set boundaries with women and to get them to do the same thing. And i think with man. It's like you know. I've been in a number of serious relationships with men and they were always very sensitive lake interested in affirmative consent but i really encountered a lot of what i call the book and d consent where i had so many scripts in my mind. We just live in such a heterosexual culture. That if you're having heterosexuals it's impossible not to have a million scripts downloaded into brain just from watching movies in commercials and seeing billboards and we know what it's supposed to look and sound like so i think when i've slept men it's been harder for me to get away from scripts and there's a level of performance that just turns on that i have a little bit more space from in sleeping with women

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