Sex & the Spectrum

Teaching consent for now & later

Who I Am
Leah Grantham- Blogger and autistic selfadvocate at quixoticautistic.wordpress.com Specialty: Autism and sexuality, positive expression, healthy relationships

It's Never Too Early to Start
“I think part of the reason we have trouble drawing the line 'it’s not okay to force someone into sexual activity' is that in many ways, forcing people to do things is part of our culture in general. Cut that s*** out of your life. If someone doesn't want to go to a party, try a new food, get up and dance, make small talk at the lunch table— that’s their right. Stop the 'aww c’mon' and 'just this once' and the games where you playfully force someone to play along. Accept that no means no—all the time.” - Cliff Pervocracy

Defining "Good Consent"
Just "consent" isn't enough Consent has to be given freely, not compelled Lack of a "No" ≠ "Yes" Good consent takes place without coercion, pressure, threats, or bribery Good consent involves all parties

Obtaining Consent
Always ask first: Never. Presume. Consent. Being aware of nonverbal signals- pushing away, turning away, protective body language, "yes" or "no" signals For verbal people: Frequently "checking in": Is this okay? Is it okay if I do X? Would you mind if I did Y? Consent can be revoked at any point Safety words or signals can help

Safety Words/Gestures
Pick one that's recognizable and easy to remember "Red Light"/"Green Light" "Whoa There" Lightly slap your partner someplace you can reach easily Drop an object that will clatter loudly, like a brass cymbal or a bag of marbles Keep a flag or hanky in your hand to wave, like a "truce" flag

Questions to Ask Yourself
Am I comfortable doing this? Do I feel like I 'have to' do this? Do I feel safe saying 'yes' or 'no' at any time? Am I worried about my partner's reaction if I say no? Am I doing this because I want to? Am I doing this for my own enjoyment? How am I going to feel after this? Do I feel like my wishes are being respected?

Questions to Ask Partners
Are you comfortable with this? Would you like it if I did ___________? Is this too much? Would you like me to keep going? Tell me if you want something different Do we need to go faster/slower? How are you doing? Everything good?

Body Language & Nonverbal Signals
Safety movement: Make a fist, shake your head, turn away, cross your arms etc etc. Check in frequently with a nonverbal partner, look for positive body language or signals Even verbal partners can benefit from nonverbal signals, if their mouths are muffled or if they're not articulate at all times Remember: Consent and Desire are sexy

How to Teach Respect & Consent
Practice what you preach Your body is yours from birth Consent is not Coerced Always ask first Even babies can give or take away consent, by pushing away, turning away, or fussing at someone's touch Don't give mixed signals Even parents and caretakers have to ask for consent

Long Term Results of Teaching Good Consent
Respecting yourself and others Feeling safer Knowing your limits Articulating and respecting a "yes" and a "no" Healthy sexuality and sexual expression A much happier society!

More on Consent
http://www.peelregion.ca/health/sexuality/ Learning Good Consent Zine, Downloadable & Printablehttp://www.phillyspissed.net/node/32 http://radsexconsent.com/2012/05/20/ten-best-ways-topractice-consent/ Above all else- have fun, be safe, and respect yourself and others!

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