It's not about consent... It's about mind-blowing love.
Pleasure requires relaxation, and relaxation requires safety. If my lover does not feel safe, she cannot relax, so she will not be able to feel her desire or her pleasure. The same goes for me: if I don't feel safe, I will not relax, and I will not feel my desire nor my pleasure.
Love works in the same way that pleasure does: for people to open up emotionally, they need to feel emotionally safe. They need to trust that their partner will be there for them, otherwise that connection cannot happen.
What is required for pleasure is required for love: safety, trust, relaxation. The more in love we are, the more we can relax into the ecstatic magic of loving connection.
When I'm with my lover, we play. Without a worry in the world, we feel safe enough to be silly. We feel our desire and tease out the sensation. We bask in the moment, the little touches, the soft kisses. We have all the time in the world, and we enjoy the feeling of wanting each other. We make eye contact and breathe together. "I want you!" I say with my eyes, my arms, and with every cell in my body. I can feel the desire in her body radiating like a cast iron fireplace radiates heat. Her eyes, her breath, her lips, they all scream, "I want you!"
With every kiss and caress, I dance to the music of her desire. Always listening, I feel the ecstatic energy pulsing through my body, and through hers. Our desires mix into an elixir of electric passion and mind blowing love.
In this dance, the word 'consent' does not feel appropriate. It's not about me getting her agreement for something I want to do; it's about both of us celebrating the magic of our connection.
The consent conversation is a tough one because it's happening in a world where we are disconnected from our own embodied 'yes,' where we are deaf to the sound of another person's desire. We have forgotten what safety feels like, and we no longer know how to relax into the magic of love.
We live in a world where abuse and coercion is so commonplace that people are just measuring how much they can endure. Sex is both vilified and commodified. Rather than an expression of loving connection, sex is a naughty pleasure that we get to indulge in when no one is looking, an exciting treat that we get when we have done things right.
We live in a world where sex is no longer sacred. Men are starving for physical affection. Boys explore "sexuality" through moving images on a computer screen, rather than an embodied connection with another person. In this way, the heart is completely disconnected from sexuality. It's only physical pleasure with mental obsession; love doesn't even enter the picture.
Women's bodies are then viewed as sexual objects, and their minds viewed as gate keepers to sexual experience. And paradoxically, when women are objectified in this way, men feel like women have the power because they hold the key to the desired experience.
When women are objectified, everyone loses.
We live in a world where sex is disconnected from love, where sex is no longer sacred.
And I am a part of the world I was raised in. When I was younger, I played the game of figuring out what I needed to do to gain access to sexual experiences. I had sex that was disconnected from my heart. At the time I felt the mixed experience of triumph and disgust.
As an adult, my healing has been a process of reconnecting my sexuality to my heart, to reintegrate as a full human being. I have often failed at this effort. I have failed to fully honor my own heart, my own body, and the body and hearts of others.
There have been times when I thought I was exploring mutual connection, to find later that she was just going along with something she didn't really want. Learning this has been heartbreaking for me and hurtful for others. Why didn't she say something? Why wasn't I able to tell?
What I'm learning is that consent is simple in concept, but infinitely complex in application. Social pressures and past trauma can get in the way of people speaking their truth. Power dynamics and passion can get in the way of mutual agreement.
What's important to know about consent and boundaries, is that we are all going to fail; we most likely have already. We are going to unintentionally over-step another's boundaries, and we're going to forget to voice our own. This is part of being human and interacting with other humans. And while there are those who intentionally violate another's boundaries, so often, people cause harm without intending or even knowing that they did so. This is the product of living in a culture of sexual repression, where we don't have healthy ways to talk about our sexual experiences.
I want to live in a world where we can talk about these experiences, where we can listen and own up when we make mistakes. I want to live in a world that is not filled with victims and aggressors, but of people exploring loving connection.
I want to live in a world where we are able to hear, and dance to, the music of desire; where everyone feels safe, loved, and cared for.
I want to live in a world where sex is sacred.
You see, it's not about 'consent'; it's about mind-blowing love.
It's not about consent because that word implies an agreement that happens (or does not happen), but in reality it's far more complex and nuanced. It's about the full context of intimate exploration. It's not just about the power dynamics, sexual repression, and our culture of coercion. It's also and more importantly about listening to each other, listening to our bodies, and listening to our hearts.
Because when we listen to each other, we can build the conditions for safety, trust, relaxation, and eventually, mind blowing love.