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consentToday, I attended a Consent Workshop by The Consent Crew. There were some interesting discussions amongst the attendees and organizers about some great topics.  I want to reiterate some of the points that I feel are most relevant based on my experiences over the past two decades.

IT’S OK TO SAY NO

How many of you are guilty of trying to giggle your way out of an uncomfortable situation just to be polite?  And how many of you have compromised your own boundaries just to wake up the next morning filled with regret?  Western cultural values have taught us to be excessively polite, but that shouldn’t be at the cost of your own personal boundaries.  If somebody is doing something that makes you uncomfortable, you have the right to say no.  And, although you don’t have to justify your reason for saying no, saying it in a way that is polite and respectful will go a long way towards diffusing what could become a confrontational situation over hurt feelings.  Here are some of my favourite ways to say no:

  • No thank you (smile on face).
  • Thanks for offering but not at this time.
  • I’m not into that, but thanks anyway.
  • You seem like a great person but I’m not interested. Thanks anyway.

 

IT’S OK TO HEAR NO

When you hear no, you may feel hurt, rejected and generally bad.  Why?  Because our culture has taught us that “no” is a bad word when in reality, “no” is just somebody’s way of expressing their own personal boundaries.  Usually, the no you are hearing has very little to do with you and everything to do with the person saying it.  Perhaps they are there for a different reason than you.  Maybe the timing is just off.  Or, it could be as simple as they like blonds, and you’re a brunette.  Whatever the reason, remind yourself…“getting a no is no big deal”.   Here are some of my favorite ways to respond gracefully to “no”:

  • I’m not hearing a clear yes so I’ll take that as a no.
  • No problem.
  • Thanks for letting me know. I appreciating knowing your boundary.
  • Thanks anyway.

 

GET CONSENT

Obvious right?  Easier said than done.  Consent is complicated.  Often, expectations surrounding consent are firmly rooted in cultural values, gender values, family values, or even the environment we are in at the time.  At Club Eden, the expectations are framed by the use of signage, marketing, and agreements.  This is a great foundation for consent.  But even with all of this, there is still room for interpretation based on an individual’s unique perspective formed over the course of a lifetime.  This is why it is also important to say no when you feel like your personal boundaries are being compromised.  In my experience, most people want to do the right thing and DON’T want to maliciously or deliberately compromise your boundaries.  They just don’t realize they are doing it.   Here is one of my favorite personal stories to reflect how cultural expectations can create a misalignment between boundaries:

While working in an office environment, one of the long term vendors and friends of the owner approached me saying “it’s nice to finally meet you”.  He then stepped in and gave me a hug and then a kiss on my left and right cheek.   My background is British and back then, I was a bit of a cold fish.  His background is South American and to not step in with a light hug and kiss on the cheeks would be considered an insult.  He didn’t get my consent but conversely, because of his cultural values, he didn’t think he had to.   This illustrates a great example of how easily consent boundaries can be accidentally crossed.

When at Eden, remember these four points to help you navigate consent:

  1. Play within the rules of the framework provided (signs, agreements, marketing messages).
  2. Politely say no when your boundaries are being crossed;
  3. Politely hear/accept no when somebody tells you.
  4. If your no is not being heard, then it’s ok to find the organizer or one of the staff to help you diffuse the situation.

When attending other sex positive events remember to familiarize yourself with their unique framework.

I hope this article helps you find your voice for consent.  Play safe, have fun and respect your own boundaries and the boundaries of others.

Eve, Founder of Club Eden and Co-author of Sex Get Over It

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ASK Eve
Hi Eve,
I have been looking online for information about swinging, etc. I am in a relationship and have been for over 2 years, our sex life is good.. we both have a high sex drive and little inhibition.

Prior to being involved in my current relationship, I had been involved in one threesome with 2 guys early in my sex life. Although it was a turn on, I have felt guilty about it all my life. I have also been with more men then I can count and have experienced a lot of guilt about this over the years as well. My current partner is really turned on by these stories, which I had never talked much about to anyone else.. I was called a “slut by my ex-husband of 17 years (I was faithful all of these years) because I told him (out of guilt) about the numbers of men I had been with.

My current partner knows a couple who are involved in the swinging scene… and we have “connected” with them a couple of times… although I drank so heavily and don’t remember any of it. I have realized that I also have a drinking problem.. I drink to hide behind my pain/guilt, etc. I have since gone to AA and have not had a drink in 2 months. But I am still curious about swinging, and my partner (although he wouldn’t pressure me) also would like to try.

My questions to you are: How do I know if I really want to… the idea really does excite me completely, but the guilt I have felt over the years really holds me back. I have this idea in the back of my head that only “strange” people do these things, and that they probably fool around on the side if they do…. I am being totally honest with you, I know my thoughts are not right, but they are there. I also am very VERY insecure and jealous… how do I get beyond that? I know he is willing to be in a threesome with only me and other men… but, I don’t think that is very fair to him.

Where can I read about real people and their experiences and thoughts on their sexuality… and get to a place that I believe that it is ok to do these things without guilt? if that is possible. I am also seeing a counselor and he supports whatever I truly want for myself… but part of the problem is knowing if I really do… or not???

Confused

Dear confused:

The first thing I want to know when people ask me if I think they’re ready (context swinging) is “ready for what exactly?”. Too many couples make the assumption that venturing into the world of swinging means throwing their keys into the “orgy” bowl and putting the pedal to the metal…0 to 60 in one fowl swoop. They take a renegade “Thelma and Louise” approach, driving recklessly along a desolate stretch of highway, and soon after their relationship takes a header into the canyon.

Unbeknownst to many, there is a scenic route with a lot of amazing, satisfying, fun and adventurous pit stops along the way. Slow down. Smell the roses. Take in the sights. In other words, enjoy the ride and don’t be in such a hurry to arrive at the “final destination”.

Start by printing off the Sugar, Spice and Sex Advice “swinger’s checklist” and comparing fantasies with your partner. Pick one or two of the adventures that scored five (5) for both of you and take them for a test drive. Assess (aka COMMUNICATE). Tweak and repeat. Taking this approach means you don’t have to be “ready” to jump into the deep end of swinging. You can take baby steps to get there and evaluate along the way. And when the time is right, not only will you know you’re ready, but you’ll also be far better equipped to consider and cope with any challenges you face along the way including issues of jealousy and insecurities.

As for whether only “strange” people do these things, according to the Great Canadian Sex Survey, over 30% of Canadians believe that it is ok to have sexual encounters with people other than their partner as long as they have consent. So, in theory, three out of every 10 people you know may actually be swingers, or swingers at heart. But alas, does that mean 30% of Canadians are “strange”? Perhaps. But that’s a story for another day.

And finally, if you want to learn about real people and their experiences on sexuality, and swinging, do a search for swingers in your local region. Join a swingers dating site/social networking community or even a swingers club. You may just be pleasantly surprised that many of the members are just like you and some of the more experienced members will be more than happy to share their experiences and offer a helping hand along the way.

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After giving a blow job, my mouth can get sore inside from rubbing on my teeth, is there any type of inner mouth protection…lol, or do i just do it more carefully so that my lips don’t ever close over my teeth?
Thanks for your insight!

Curious

Dear Curious:

Well, wearing a mouth guard might work, but it’ doesn’t strike me as particularly sexy.

Try changing your position to create a better angle.  For example, having your partner sit down on a chair in front of you while you are on your knees in front of him gives you the greatest amount of control when giving head.  This may allow you to open your mouth more so your lips don’t curl around your teeth.    In addition, keep in mind that the greatest amount of pleasure and sensation is around the head of the penis so unless you’re practiced in deep thoating, you don’t really need need to run your lips or teeth down the shaft of the penis.  Keep your mouth, lips and tongue focused on the head and use your hand to massage the shaft.

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Hello, I have recently learned that I can squirt, and I’m wondering what are the things that women love most about  it? (because it didn’t happen while I was orgasming) I’m still not sure if I like it yet…am I missing something?

Curious

Dear Curious:
Squirting is different for everyone.  Some RAVE about it and describe it in legendary terms…the Holy Grail of sex so to speak.  While others can take it or leave it.  Those that love it describe it as more of a deep, full body orgasm vs a clitoral orgasm which is generally more like an intense short burst.  Those that can take it or leave it can do without the extra laundry that comes with the clean up.

Honestly, don’t worry about what other women love about it.  Just focus on whether it feels good for you.  Just be sure to try it a few times as you might find it gets better as you become more comfortable with it.  Over time, you may even learn to control it which can actually be kind of fun – and who says great sex can’t come with a few laughs along the way.

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Ask Eve

My wife is a closet lesbian, we haven\’t slept together in 15 years.  Any hope of some change?
Anonymous

Dear Anonymous…
If you truly love each other, there is always hope, but perhaps not in exactly the way you may be thinking.   As couples and relationships evolve over time, they sometimes discover that their sexual needs and preferences change, or they discover new preferences that they didn’t even know they had.   Unfortunately, these new found desires are not always a perfect match to their partner’s and can often lead to resentment, guilt and even infidelity in the relationship.   But there is another option…
It sounds as though you love your wife very much.  But after 15 years of waiting, your own sexual needs and desires are starting to take precedence.
Rather than spending another 15 years hoping your wife will suddenly switch teams, have you considered the possibility of “an open marriage”?  Given your unique sexual preferences, an open marriage could be the solution that allows you both to continue in a very loving and supportive relationship while no longer suppressing your individual sexual desires.
Many loving couples have flourished in this type of relationship by talking openly about their needs and desires in a non-personal/non-blaming manner.  This format often works for couples where sexual desires are at completely opposite ends of the spectrum, where sexual preferences are highly unique or incompatible with their partner’s (which is not uncommon), or even where performance issues are brought on by health and medical issues.
Given the unique sexual preferences that have surfaced within your relationship, this may be a solution worth exploring further.
The topic of “open relationships” can be complicated so be sure to check out the book “Opening Up – A guide to creating and sustaining open relationships” by Tristan Taormino for a deeper insight.

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My partner and I have always discussed doing anal sex. He’s had great experience with it before with prior partners, but as for me, I was traumatized with a bad one. It has taken me years to finally get over it, and my partner and I decided to do it soon. He apparently knows what to do , but I have no idea. We purchased Anal Eaze to help me out. However, I’m hoping someone out there will teach me, an anal virgin, a thing or two.

Anonymous

Dear Anonymous:

Anal sex can be quite pleasurable, or when not done right, can cause considerable discomfort.
Purchasing a desensitization cream can help to numb the pain, but it can also mask the pleasure.  And if it’s not pleasurable, then why do it.  In addition, using a desensitiation cream such as Anal Eaze may inhibit your body’s ability to signal you when something is wrong.  And if you can’t tell when things have gone too far, you may open yourself up to fissures (small tears) and other potentially harmful side effects.

Instead of numbing the area, try some of these techniques to get you ready for all the pleasures of anal play for both you and your partner.

1. Take a shower beforehand
Some  people are adverse to trying anal sex because they are afraid that it might be dirty.  It is possible and maybe even probable that you may actually encounter some fecal residue from time to time.  This is perfectly normal, however, you can reduce the possibility of this happening by having a bowel moment and even a warm shower to reduce the possibility of this happening.  Plus, a soothing shower may help to relax you and get you in the mood.

2. Try sensual massage to help you relax.
Try sensual massage to help you relax and get in the mood.  The main reason that anal sex can be uncomfortable is the tensing of the sphincter.  A sensual massage will help you to relax and get in the mood making you more receptive to anal play by enabling you to relax the sphincter muscles.

3. Use lots of lubricant to ease entry
When it comes to anal sex, you can never use too much lubricant.  A good lubricant will make pentration smoother and easier.  Of course if you’re using condoms (recommended), choose a water based lubricant so as not to erode the integrity of the condom.

4. Take baby steps
There are many highly pleasurable erotic nerve endings around the outside of the anal area.  Start slow by simply massaging the outside of the anal area or even using toys and vibrators around the rim to enhance the pleasure and get you accustomed to being touched there.

When you’re ready, have your partner insert one well lubricated finger and gently massage and circle around the inside of the anal canal to gently stretch it.

Over time, your partner may be able to insert two fingers and then work there way up from there until you are finally ready for and comfortable with penile insertion.   Using other smaller toys such as small butt plugs and anal beads are great tools to help relax and stretch the sphincter muscle over time to help get you ready for anal sex.

5. Play safe
Bum sex can be risky business.  Be sure to cut your finger nails prior to inserting them into the anal cavity, or wear a finger condom to avoid causing tears.
In addition, once a finger, penis, or toy has penetrated the anal area, do not then reinsert into the vaginal area without proper cleaning.    Otherwise, you may find yourself with a nasty urinary infection.  The safest way to enjoy anal sex is to use a condom.

Be sure to keep in mind that everybody is different…some will be able to work up to full penile pentration fairly quickly while others may take multiple play sessions to work up to this level.  But, whatever you do, don’t “force the issue” so to speak.  If your partner is in pain, it means they are not ready.

Hope these tips are helpful.  We’d love to hear back from you regarding your experience so others may learn from you.  Play safe, and of course…have fun.

xoxo
Eve

Ask me your spiciest question today! Trust me, if it’s legal, I’ve likely already heard it, seen it and even done it myself. Click here to ask a question. I look forward to hearing from you.

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