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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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If you’re considering the swinging lifestyle, are new to the concept of swinging, or are looking to improve your swinging relationship, read on.  This four part “how to” series will help to demystify swinging, answer common questions, provide you with the tools to safely navigate this complicated landscape, and identify ways to get started and meet other like minded play partners.

History of Swingers

There are a number of theories on how swinging started, however, the most common theory emerged in the 1950s whereby California military couples would gather at “key clubs” or “key parties”.  The men would throw their keys into a bowl and their wives would choose a sexual partner for the evening by randomly selecting a key from the bowl.   Eventually, the media caught wind of the activities and began writing stories about this new social phenomenon dubbed as “wife swapping”.  Over time, the phenomenon spread to the surrounding suburban communities and by the early 1970s, the term commonly known as “swinging” emerged.

Today’s Swingers

Today, swinging has evolved into what is now more loosely called “the Lifestyle”.  Although no exact count exists, The North American Swing Club Association (NASCA) claims there are organized swing clubs in almost all states as well as Canada, England, France, Germany, and Japan.

This new form of swinging encompasses a much broader range of play styles.  Although there’s no shortage of “full swap” couples, many couples are now entering “the lifestyle” to enjoy a lighter side of fantasy play with others that includes Voyeurism, Exhibitionism, Threesomes and Soft Swap but may never include full swap or “wife swapping” (visit our Sexipedia for detailed definitions).  Due to the insurgence of detailed information about this topic on the internet, “The Lifestyle” is growing in leaps and bounds.  There are conventions, resorts, clubs and websites dedicated to “the Lifestyle”.  There are mainstream television shows such as “Swingtowns” and “Big Love” dedicated to the lifestyle and other forms of open relationships. And in some countries, including Canada, swinging has been recognized as a legal activity at the highest judicial level.   With its increasing popularity and social acceptability, more and more Canadian couples are turning to this new form of swinging  as a way to “spice up” their sex lives.

Who are swingers?

According to the “General Social Survey”, Swingers tend to be middle class, white collar professional couples with above average education and income.   They are doctors, lawyers, nurses, teachers, mid to upper level managers, entrepreneurs and office workers.  when it comes to attitudes about sex and marriage they are less racist, less sexist, and less heterosexist than the general population. Swinging appears to make the vast majority of swingers’ marriages happier, and swingers rate the happiness of their marriages and life satisfaction generally as higher than the non-swinging population.”

Swingers could be your business associates, your friends, your neighbours…they may even be you!

Facts about Swingers


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I came across an article this morning that absolutely infuriated me.  A woman was found guilty of running a swingers club featuring sex acts performed by young children, including her own!!!  What was she thinking?  And those that actually attended the club to watch should not only be ashamed of themselves but should also be held criminally responsible in my opinion.

Children should be protected and loved, not pawned off for sexual entertainment, and for money at that.  Children have nothing to do with swinging, sex or the lifestyle.  In fact, they should not even be exposed to anything remotely sexual until of course they reach the right age where it becomes necessary to educate them purely for the purposes of keeping them safe.

This woman and her club goers should not even be put in the same category as swingers.  This goes far beyond consenting adults fulfilling their fantasies in a safe environment.  Not only is it illegal, it’s despicable.
It’s no damn wonder that swingers get a bad name.  Swingers should be outraged.

Read the full article here.

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