Enthusiastic Consent is More Than Just Yes

Enthusiastic consent

Can We Talk About Enthusiastic Consent?

We've all been there, when someone says 'yes'. But you can tell by their tone, body language or attitude that it's really a 'no'. Whatever your offer or proposal was, their response gives you pause, because you've just received conflicting messages. I recall way back in college, learning this in a communications class. When your non-verbal signals conflict with your verbal ones, people will tend to believe the non-verbal ones. Like someone who says, "No, I'm not tired," with a weary tone and defeated look.

Where sexuality is concerned, this discrepancy seems more critical. When you really want to explore new sexual territory, like a new sexytime activity, of course you'd like enthusiastic consent. But what if you don't feel particularly enthusiastic about it? Even if you are willing to try it? There are certainly times when, until you try out the new activity, you're not sure. So it's difficult to be eager. But you can certainly be enthusiastic about trying the proposed activity with your partner, even if you're not sure about it.

Communication is Key

If you have real fears and concerns, ideally those are discussed and put right out there on the table before you try what they propose. This enables your partner to be more sensitive to your feelings and can help prevent any missteps that might occur because you didn't share that information. It also helps you find more enthusiasm for the proposed activity.

What doesn't work is when communication breaks down or doesn't exist in the first place, and fears or concerns aren't voiced. It's so important to communicate with your partner so they know where your head is at, before the activity begins.

In that situation, if you are the asker, it may be difficult to see the enthusiastic consent, but believe me, once you have talked about any concerns your partner may have, often they feel more comfortable exploring new territory with you.

The concept of enthusiastic consent is not black and white. While theoretically it may be ideal to take anything but, "Hell yes!" as a no, sometimes it's not easy to be enthusiastic about unknown territory. That's why it's important to learn about the proposed activity first, so you can decide whether you are enthusiastic about trying it.

Enthusiastic Consent and Pegging?

So now let's talk about enthusiastic consent around pegging. What I usually suggest is to be willing to try an activity if your feelings about it are benign or better. If you have no strong feelings one way or the other, why not try it and see what happens? At worst, as long as you follow all the rules of consent and safety, at least you tried it, but it wasn't for you. At best it can be one more thing to add to your sexual treasure chest of sexytime activities.

Pegging, however, is one of those activities that many (dare I say most) people have fears or concerns about. So it is even more important to get accurate information because of all the myths, assumptions, and misconceptions. This is why, in many cases, I don't suggest just blurting out your desire to try pegging. Because here's the thing. If they say no right off the bat, you don't know why they said no, and often it shuts down the conversation. Why? Because a no is a no and a complete sentence where consent is concerned, especially around sexual activities. But they might be reacting to inaccurate misconceptions around pegging instead of responding to what you are proposing. They may also be reacting to things you are not proposing, so it's important to be clear in your proposition, from the beginning.

For example, you might be picturing a slow, sensual, love-making type of encounter. Your partner could think you want to include crossdressing, dominance, submission, or a rigorous beating. Easy to think that if they saw it in all the pegging porn. So now you can see why communication when sharing your sexual interests and desires is so important! There is too much room for a misunderstanding. And sex is often a tender and vulnerable space for most of us.

I Need Help Talking With My Partner!

Have no fear! I made a couple of recordings to help you out. In case you have not already found them...

• Givers: https://peggingparadise.com/blog/2015/09/podcast-112-for-the-ladies/

• Receivers: https://peggingparadise.com/2019/12/podcast-253-for-the-gentlemen

These recordings address all the usual fears and misconceptions, offer accurate information and emphasize the relationship, not trying to convince. You need to listen to it first before playing it for your partner. Only you can decide if it is appropriate for them. These recordings can be very helpful talking with your partner about something you have embarrassment about, or can't find the right words. If you decide it's appropriate, listen to it with them as opposed to assigning them a task. That way you can pause the recording whenever your partner has questions.

What's the Next Step?

Education! If they are interested in pegging, learning it first can inform, empower, inspire, calm fears and help avoid injuries. Not to mention give you the best chance for a pleasurable initial experience! (Trust me, there's a lot more to it than strapping it on and shoving it in.) I've been teaching about pegging for 14 years now, and have SO much information to share with you. I offer Beginners, Equipment, and Advanced webinars, and all three are recorded for viewing on demand, too.

What if the Answer is Still No?

We all get to decide what we want or don't want to do. Every person has that right. But try to remember that when a partner shares their sexual desires with you, that's a big deal. If you decide to say no, don't forget to be grateful they asked you to begin with. Why? Because they trusted you with that vulnerability, and shared an important part of themselves with you. That is a true gift of intimacy! They allowed you in a little deeper, allowed you to know even more about them. That's a huge gift. Be thankful.

Try not to look at it as a black and white situation. Perhaps anal play with toys can be included without the strap-on. Maybe intercourse can be enjoyed with a butt plug. Or a gift of a toy for self-play might be much appreciated, along with playful encouragement to enjoy themselves. There is way too much shame around anal play. For some reason I picture saying, "Off you go to the bedroom to play, and I want to hear you having a good time, okay?" And that's if you have no interest in watching, which can be fun!

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