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There are 4 types of consent within our society and I have listed and defined them below. It is so important now, more than ever, that we look at how we see consent. This needs to be a topic of conversation, a topic of education, a topic to be defined. I have put together Active Energetic Consent as a relevant way to explore the mandatory topic.
Types of consent:
- Implied consent: is consent which is not expressly granted by a person, but rather implicitly granted by a person's actions and the facts and circumstances of a particular situation.
- **Expressed consent: is permission for something that is given specifically, either verbally or in writing. Express consent contrasts with implied consent, which is an assumption of permission that is inferred from actions on the part of the individual.
- **Informed consent: permission granted in the knowledge of the possible consequences, typically that which is given by a patient to a doctor for treatment with full knowledge of the possible risks and benefits.
- Unanimous consent: In parliamentary procedure, unanimous consent, also known as general consent, or in the case of the parliaments under the Westminster system, leave of the house, is a situation in which no member present objects to a proposal.
** For the sake of this document and policy we will only use, understand, and mandate that Expressed and Informed Consent are the only two definitions that apply.
We have to look at consent as a fluid entity. Consent is expressed and gives way to the two types above, Expressed and Informed Consent. However, one person or the other can revoke consent at any time. There is no reason, one individual or another cannot revoke or take back a positive consent.
In the past we have and still do look at consent as Implied Consent; which is the gray muddled waters of the world. It is this view the permits rape culture and victim blaming in society and the court system. For this reason, actively accepting that Implied Consent is a non-consent variable and in doing this, teaching active energetic consent in our communities is the only way to proceed.
In the alternative lifestyles communities, we seek consent on a routine basis; however, in this new age of instant gratification and reward with less teaching and structure we are seeing a rise in consent violations and blacklisting. In an attempt to take a clear stand on Consent, we as a whole need to take clear, definitive participation in teaching, educating and maintaining a standard of Active Energetic Consent.
So what is Active Consent?
Active Consent is the means by which all parties agree to participate in an activity and must be verbally expressed or denied. This can be viewed in many forms listed below:
- Yes means Yes
- Actively using language that states what you need. IE: Model to Photographer: I cannot maintain this pose as long as you need. We need to try something else.
- The Stop Light System in Alternative Communities: Red means Stop, Yellow means I need you to address an issue NOW, Green means Continue.
- Use of safe word actively (Both bottom and top players should have one)
- Use of a medical safe word (It’s a word that stops a scene or any sexual play so that medical needs can be addressed. Helpful if your partner is diabetic or asthmatic.)
- No means No without question, implication, or prejudice.
What exactly is Energetic Consent?
Energetic Consent is both parties taking an active role in providing consent continually throughout the experience. This means checking in, verbal cues, and physical cues. Often times we mistake quiet behavior as consent when in fact we need to eliminate that variable from energetic consent.
Quiet behavior often happens when triggers are pulled and in clinical terms, being quiet is often a behavior of Disassociation.
Disassociation can present in a few ways:
- Memory loss (amnesia) of certain time periods, events, people, and personal information.
- A sense of being detached from yourself and your emotions.
- A perception of the people and things around you as distorted and unreal.
- Quiet non Verbal Tendencies
If one person refuses interaction due to being quiet, it is imperative that the other stop what is going on. It is the only way to proceed.
Energetic Consent can look like any of the following:
- Yes means Yes
- Checking in with your partner.
- Moaning and body language.
- Coding Yellow if you’re uncomfortable or not liking what is happening. Addressing that issue quickly and resuming or stopping the experience.
- Ending the activity.
- Watching for trigger reactions (IE quiet, trembling, or tears)
- Providing aftercare in the event of ending the activity.
- Communication with each other in a manner that fits the activity throughout the entire activity.
In the alternative lifestyles community, you will find two well-known acronyms that are used to describe consent. Now one is the original and well-loved but it is clearly out of date as we are entering new realms of social media, internet, and hook up sites. As all these platforms feed the instant gratification bug we see. It leaves no time to enter communities that have always involved the fringe, taboo, risky practices with any mentorship or education the way it was in the past.
By reading this S.S.C. acronym you can see the common issue with this. Safe? How do you know what is safe with no mentorship or teaching? Sane? Well, this one is one that should be questioned entirely as some very sane people are into the edgier side of things and as they are skilled, their craft may look insane to some. So no one can clearly identify sane in any one term. What seems sane for one person seems insane for another. Consensual? This is obvious that we are still struggling with consent issues.
The more commonly used and relevant acronym we see is R.A.C.K. This is the one I recommend that anyone entering the alternative lifestyles communities use and accept.
This acronym is very self-explanatory in its choice of words. Understanding that the activity you engage in carries inherent risk. Be aware of your role in participating. Consent works best if we adopt the active energetic consent policy. The term kink applies to any activity that is above normal sexual intercourse.
In closing, I would like to remind everyone that partakes in the alternative lifestyle communities and yes this involves hook up and dating apps, that Active Energetic Consent can go and should go a long way to decreasing consent issues. Simply put all people, no matter how you identify are never above consent. We must all take an active role in teaching, permitting and advocating what is acceptable within our society. This is a topic that should start with children and continue to be nurtured throughout life. However, consent is often something that is never talked about, explored or expressed until much later in life.
Take time to learn and understand where you stand.