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Risk Assessment: Consent with Kitty Stryker

In time for New Year’s Eve parties, just a reminder about consent and boundaries.

Welcome to my virtual therapy room!  I am Dr Lori Beth Bisbey and this is Sex Spoken Here. Remember that this podcast deals with adult themes so if you don’t have privacy you might wish to put on your headphones.

Today I am starting my series on risk assessment in relationships with the topic of consent.  Consent is the foundation for all sexual agreements and relationships.   Some feel the current emphasis on consent is too intense and make fun of the idea of having to ask for permission each step of the way in a sexual encounter.  Others feel that we don’t take consent seriously and we make too many assumptions.

Joining me today to discuss this is Kitty Stryker.  Kitty Stryker is a Degenderette, writer, queer activist, and authority on developing a consent culture in alternative communities. She was the founder of ConsentCulture.com, a website that ran for 4 years as a hub for LGBT/kinky/poly folks looking for a sex critical approach to relationships, which will be relaunched on 2017. Kitty also cofounded the artsy sexy party Kinky Salon London, as well as being head of cosplay for queer gaming convention GaymerX. Having finished “Ask: Building Consent Culture”, an anthology through Thorntree Press coming out in October, Kitty tours internationally speaking at universities and conferences about feminism, sex work, body positivity, queer politics, and more. She lives in Oakland, California with her wife, boyfriend, and two cats, Foucault and Nietzsche.

We started by talking about issues around consent and the reasons for Kitty starting ConsentCulture.com.    Kitty spoke about how hard it is for people to take responsibility and then look at changing behaviour.  She spoke about the problems in the alternative sexuality communities when consent violations occur.  Often calling the police makes things worse as the police are not necessarily friendly to kinky, LGBT or people of colour.  She spoke about the need for communities to come up with a clear plan to resolve these situations that don’t simply involve calling someone out and then isolating that person from the community.

We spoke about how hard it can be to give proper consent when alcohol or drugs are involved.  Kitty advises people to consider if they are willing to go to jail for the person and the activity they are about to undertake.  She highlights the fact that we all make mistakes in this area and violate consent.  It may be as simple as hugging an acquaintance who didn’t want to be hugged or as serious as rape.  We spoke about how it can be hard to draw your own boundaries and how this can be especially difficult if you are involved in power exchange.

Kitty spoke about the reasons that people don’t use a safe word even when they should and said that she had done some research that found that often women refuse to do so because they want to please a partner and men are more likely to just want to be seen as tough.  She spoke about sitting down and actually looking at how her boundaries had been violated over the years and how she had just brushed this off rather than dealing with the issues.  We spoke about things like playing in a public situation and how difficult it is for people to find a way to protect themselves without feeling like they are causing drama in public.

We spoke about the trauma that perpetrators experience and the fact that they too need help to resolve any shame and guilt.  Kitty highlighted that when we talk about consent in sexual relationships it is only an opening conversation to discussing all the places in which we need to think about boundaries and consent in society.  She highlighted things like consent in medical situations, and where information is shared, and education.

Kitty’s book will come out in October.  If you want to pre-order, here is the link: https://www.amazon.com/Ask-Building-Consent-Kitty-Stryker/dp/1944934251/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1497383382&sr=8-1&keywords=ask+building+consent+culture

The website for the book is https://consentculture.com/

Website where stories have been gathered about consent to help deepen understanding https://medium.com/consent-culture-a-conversation

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Thanks for joining me for Sex Spoken Here with Dr Lori Beth Bisbey.

Write to me with suggestions for the show, questions you want answered at drbisbey@drloribethbisbey.com.  If there was something you didn’t like, tell me that too! Follow me on twitter @drbisbey, Instagram @drbisbey and Facebook.  Check out my YouTube channel: Dr Lori Beth Bisbey.  For a free 30-minute strategy session with me, go to https://drloribethbisbey.com and click the button that says Schedule Now! If you enjoyed this podcast, please subscribe and leave a review on iTunes.    Sign up to find out more here 

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