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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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Jerry Seinfeld is reteaming with NBC for a reality show called “The Marriage Ref,” which will feature celebs, athletes and comedians giving advice to bickering married couples.  Not sure about the advice, but the show is sure to have all the key elements including plenty of drama.  If you’d like to be considered for the casting call, visit NBC.com for all the details…and good luck!

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Just as the Internet provides a level of disconnect where some people (especially celebrities) are no longer people, simply attractive targets, cheating by text message makes it easy to short-circuit accountability. The hands all over you are only yours, and there are no sweaty sheets or motel keys to manage; it’s the affair you can snap shut and drop in your purse.

Read more…

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Then don’t miss “A weekend with Midori” presented by Sagacity in Victoria, the weekend of July 24 & 25, 2009.  Midori is an educator and columnist on adventurous sexuality, she’s also the author of “The Seductive Art of Japanese Bondage”, “Master Han’s Daughter” and “Wild Side Sex: The Book of Kink”. Midori travels the world presenting to universities, education events, organizations and media.

I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting Midori, but I am familiar with her work, and her reputation speaks for itself.

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The past three months have been a whirlwind of activity.  Hubby and I have been absolutely buried working on the renovation of our new 8000 square foot events centre.    And now that I actually have a millisecond to breath, I wanted to take a moment to share a few points I learned along the way about surviving renovations in relationships…

  1. Everything you hear about couples and renovations is TRUE! (Now multiply that by one hundred and you just might have a sense of what it’s like to renovate 8000 square feet with your partner instead of just the kitchen or bathroom in your home.  (Let’s just say that Hubby and I spent a few months in renovation hell!!)
  2. No matter how strong your relationship is, there will be times that you will yell, throw things, cry, question your sanity, question your partner’s sanity and perhaps even consider throwing in the towel and just walking away. but you have to resist the urge and remember that when your partner yells at you in frustration (assuming it’s out of character), don’t take it personally. In fact, consider giving each other permission…and no, that’s not a typo. One of the smartest decisions we made during this project was to allow each other to yell, cry, scream and even throw a temper tantrum at each other as much as necessary during this project (kind of like a renovation hall pass). Now normally, I would not typically promote this type of behaviour, but extreme times call for extreme measures. And sometimes, you just need to throw the hoity toity “let’s all sit down over tea and talk nicely about how we feel” crap out the window. But, there is a catch. First you need to talk about the intensity of the current situation and ASK your partner permission. And secondly, you need to agree that once the project is over and the pressure is off, you’ll spend twice as much time reminding your partner of all the things you love and appreciate about them so they know the relationship is still rock solid!
  3. Things are so much easier when just one person leads. This doesn’t mean that one of you has to give up complete creative authority. It simply means that you should consider assigning ownership over specific tasks and decisions. Once critical tasks are assigned, do not step on toes. You must trust your partner to do the right thing, even if you know that sometimes they’ll do the wrong thing.
  4. Accept the fact that you will BOTH make mistakes and avoid continually pointing out your partner’s shortcomings as this will only make things worse. Your partner will appreciate it so much more if you simply show them love and support every step of the way. Honestly, does it really matter if they put the screw in the wrong hole. It can all be fixed so lighten up already.
  5. In the last three weeks before the soft opening, we barely had time to eat, sleep or even give each other a kiss in passing. We were bickering about everything. In all honesty, it was probably the most trying time in our relationship. But despite all that, we always found ways to pick each other up. Each time I hit a really low point I would tell Hubby and he would always dig deep to find the strength to pick me up and carry me for awhile. When Hubby was at his lowest point he let me know and I somehow managed to find the strength to carry him. The key was letting each other know when we hit rock bottom. Although working with your partner on a critical project poses some unique challenges, it also comes with the amazing benefit of having them right there by your side motivating you and cheering you on when you feel like you just can’t move forward any longer.

So, the moral of the story is that once again, communication prevails as the number one cure for relationship woes. If you’re under a lot of stress, ask your partner for permission to act in a way that is out of character for just a while to help you through the rough patches. But then remember when it’s all over, put in twice as much effort showering them with love and affection. In any loving relationship, your partner will understand and is there for you during the good times and the bad. Just one more way to make sure your relationship remains ROCK SOLID!

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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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Ahhhh… Spring is in the air.  Your mood is lighter, there’s a little extra bounce in your step, and you find you’re just a little friskier than you were last month.
You’re easily distracted by visions of the attractive girl in the mini-dress or the buff guy in the muscle shirt.  You find yourself flirting with the server at your usual lunch time haunts and your mind drifts to thoughts of amorous liaisons and one night interludes.
How could this be?  Is there something in the water?  Have you suddenly fallen out of love or lust with your partner?    Could this be the beginning of the end?
Not at all.  You’ve simply caught a wee case of Spring Fever.
Since the dawn of time, Spring Fever has been affecting our amorous behavior every year right around this time.  It’s triggered by a number of factors that go far beyond just the shedding of winter woolies in favor of tankinis, shorts and mini-skirts.
Spring Fever is actually driven by a number of critical factors that affect our mood and trigger our “survival instinct”.  Everything you’re experiencing is a natural reaction to changes in temperature, light and conception cycles brought on by the onset of Spring.
Temperature
According to a study conducted by the University of Michigan, spending time in warm sunny weather can affect our mood, memory and cognitive style (openness to new information and creative thoughts).  “Being outside in pleasant weather really offers a way to re-set your mind-set,” said Matthew Keller, the U-M post-doctoral researcher who led the psychology study.  Temperature can have a noticeable impact on our mood.  The more time we spend outside in warm, sunny weather, the better our mood becomes.  The optimal temperature is 72 degrees.
This ties in with a study by Timothy Werschler and Shiva Halli of the University of Manitoba, on The Seasonal Birth Pattern in Canada which is characterized by a birth peak in April–May, and a trough in December–January.    Across Canada, our temperatures average 22 degrees celcius (72 degrees fahrenheit) throughout June, July and August which account for the birth peak April through May.
Light
The amount of natural light we’re exposed to actually impacts our energy levels.   In the winter, when the days are shorter, the body is exposed to less natural light and as a result, the Pineal Gland produces more Melatonin – a hormone that impacts the body’s energy level.  The more melatonin we produce, the more sluggish and lazy we feel.  In the Spring, as the days grow longer, more natural light is filtered through the retina which results in the production of less Melatonin.  So, more light equals less Melatonin and in turn more energy.  And with more energy, we’ll be more inclined to mate like bunnies in the Spring.   The earlier onset of morning light has also been linked to the lifting of winter depression (SADS).

Survival Instinct
And finally, our natural born instinct to survive through procreation kicks in during the Spring.  Historically speaking, we have been pre-programmed to conceive in the late Spring and early Summer so that we could give birth in early Spring when food is more abundant and the climate is more moderate, thereby giving our offspring the best chance of survival.  Although our survival is less dependant on the seasons today, it is possible that we are still reacting instinctively to the survival mechanisms of our ancestors.
So next time you find yourself feeling a little more flirty and prone to temptation from outside influences in the Spring, lose the guilt and just enjoy the feeling.  It’s a natural reaction to “Spring Fever”.
Conversely, if you happen to notice your partner ogling that hot chick in the mini-dress, or buff guy in the muscle shirt, don’t take it personally.  Instead, take advantage of the amorous mood and turn the temptation of a Spring fling into an evening of frisky fun with your partner.  It’s likely that they are “suffering” from the same affliction as you and may just surprise you with their enthusiasm.

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Without question one of the most popular fantasies amongst our readers is a threesome. For whatever reason, this is the fantasy that appears safest and easiest to comprehend and therefore the one many choose to explore first.

If you are looking to fulfill a Threesome fantasy, remember that it is possible that the play partner you’re interested in is attached to someone.  Convincing that fantasy partner to join you and your partner for a ménage-a-trois may be tricky business.  While there are couples that are OK playing apart or having different play opportunities, the last thing you want to do is make their partner feel like they aren’t good enough to participate or that they “just don’t do it” for you.

Before approaching a prospective threesome play partner, rehearse your “pick-up” lines first and ask yourself how you would feel if you were approached in this manner.  Remember to always focus on the positive/sexy aspects of what does work for you rather than pointing out what doesn’t work for you about the other person, or if you’re new to the scene, simply stick to the facts by communicating your limits and where you’re at.

Consider the following statements when negotiating a threesome fantasy:

(assume some flirting and conversation has already occurred to break the ice and you’re now ready to propose/negotiate your fantasy)

Statement A:
My partner and I are really turned on by you (looking at female partner) and would love to play together.   We’re just not sure we’re attracted to your partner.  Do you (female partner) want to go upstairs for a threesome?

Statement B:
My partner and I find you to be a very sexy couple.  We would love to head upstairs together, however, we’re not sure that we’re ready for a foursome quite yet.  We’re wondering whether or not the two of you play separately or only together?

In statement A, there is a good chance that you may offend the male partner and that he will feel excluded.
In statement B, there is a much better chance that both partners will feel included and sexy, plus, you are able to communicate your fantasy in a non-threatening way by asking about the other couple’s play styles.

If someone were to approach you and your partner for a threesome, which statement would you rather hear?  If you chose option A, then you’re on the road to creating a long list of offences.  If you chose option B, then you’re well on your way to fulfilling your fantasy of a threesome, and making new friends.  Just be sure to try this approach during your next encounter and of course…have fun!

Follow up feedback worth sharing…

We recently received the following additional suggestion from one of our readers and thought it was worth sharing.  Thanks NinjaCouple!

“I enjoyed your sex ed post regarding threesomes company… and Tricky Business. I wanted to provide some of my own possible advice as approaching someone inside a couple is difficult but I’ve successfully worked this situation before and think this tactic could help others out there. As you’ve stated, you don’t want to alienate or offend the fourth partner especially as it will generally ruin your ability to fulfill this fantasy. My recommendation would be to add a third way to approach this situation… when approaching someone who is part of a couple and only wanting the threesome for whatever reason I would suggest inviting that fourth person but to be an observer. Many times a foursome is enjoyable for some not just to play but watching their partner be pleasured… Why not invite them to watch their partner in a threesome fantasy show? This includes him, allows him to be in the room and near his partner and provide some added comfort while also not physically including the extra person until you’re ready for that experience. Just my thoughts on experiences I have had and some possible ways to improve the likelihood of fulfilling this fantasy.   Have a great night –NinjaCouple

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Synchrohearts –  “It is not a “sex game”. It is a “love game”, based on all of the important relationship stuff like better communication, more intimacy and lots of fun and excitement. Great sex is just one of the benefits of playing Syncrohearts.”  http://www.synchrohearts.com
Designed as a tool to get couples to learn more about each other and their relationship, Synchrohearts reminds me of many other games – roll the dice, pick a card, do an activity. In this case it’s around a board that is shaped like 2 intertwined hearts.
It guarantees more love, more laughter, and more sex…but I must confess that didn’t happen.
I have a very competitive partner, and when he found out that this is non-competitive, with no ‘rules’ and no real ‘winner’, he was turned off, big time. He found the game to be ‘just a conversation.’ So, as I pressed him to give it a chance, there was already a bias on his part. I was still game – pun intended – to see what, if anything, we would learn.
There are 4 sets of cards – Insights, 4 Fun, Couples, Hot Stuff. When you land on the designated square you pick a card and follow the directions. Simple Enough.
I found many of the questions to be on the amusing side; no deep morality or ethical questions. That’s what I really like to sink my teeth into – it spurs some great debates in our house, and that usually leads to more laughter and sex!
Half way though we stopped rolling the dice, and started to just read the cards to each other. That was better for us.
Overall, I feel that if you are playing the game to get some serious insight into your partner, or to help open up a conversation that needs some attention, this might be a little on the light side. However if you want something non-threatening to play, and aren’t looking for something serious, this may work for you.  I recommend asking your partner if they play games to win first.  That’s the biggest thing I learned.
Review by The Goddess
2 out of 5

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I’m not usually into ‘fruity flavoured’ lube so this was something relatively new for us.
The fruity smell is quite nice; not overpowering or fake smelling. It reminds me of suntan oil – very tropical.  Because of the smell it’s perfect for the planned romantic evening, but not so much for the discreet encounter.  The scent is a dead giveaway for the activity it is designed for.
I would say its middle of the road in terms of runniness…it’s not too much, and it’s not thick and gooey, which surprised me as many of the scented lubes I have used in the past were very sticky mainly due to the sugar used. This uses stevia for sweetness. Safe to safe it tastes nice as well.
Near the end of our session, we could’ve used a dab more, but overall it has good staying power. It didn’t leave me, or my partner feeling icky, sticky, and running for the shower.
One final note, I do like the ingredients – natural. I can read them, and pronounce them, and I know, more or less what they are. Horray for natural.
Overall, a nice lube that I would use again – for a special romantic evening.

3.5 out of  5
Review by The Goddess.

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