There is nothing better than getting to know a woman you are interested in getting to know better. There is something about some women that when you see them you say to yourself, “She is the one. I could wake up the rest of my life with her being the first face I see.” You will hate yourself if you don’t approach her and say something to her. You go out a few times and then the moment comes where you think it’s time to actually have that first physically intimate moment . . . but is it? I am not sure. Did I miss something, here?
For a lot of us men, we have always lived here in the mindset of “am I doing the right thing?” Did I say the right thing? Is it OK to do or say what I want to do next? Do I have her permission to touch her or even to continue flirting with her?
This world of highly privileged men exposing themselves and whipping their weenies out in front of women at will or cornering women like a predator is absolutely foreign to me. I don’t get it. That sort of behavior on any scale is something I have never participated in. Largely because I was raised by women, and my Christian upbringing has acted as a moral guideline of sorts. Now, don’t get me wrong here, there have been times when you drop me in the right room with the right woman, at the right time and I can “fly my freak flag” with the best of them. But there are rules.
How do you and a new partner communicate to offer consent to move forward with physical intimacy so it is not perceived as sexualized assault?
My Dudes, this concept is something that you should have been privy to some time ago. I learned growing up that you should always be a “Gentleman”. Essentially there are 10 traits of a gentleman that should always be applied no matter what the circumstances but, when it comes to permission, to touch, to feel, to kiss, to penetrate…you need to ensure that these four specific traits are part of your gentleman’s arsenal:
Trait #4: A gentleman models civility in how he treats others. He demonstrates respect, restraint, and personal responsibility in all his interactions. He is honorable, and values and respects others.
Trait #5 A gentleman is well-mannered and knows what is appropriate. He is able to navigate various social and professional settings with ease and proficiency.
Trait #9: A gentleman is well-spoken and a generous listener. He knows how to effectively connect with others and communicate his message.
Trait #10: A gentleman is known for his integrity. He is a man of his word and follows through with his commitments, whatever the cost. His actions reflect who he has chosen to be and are not based upon the opinions of others.
Now, if you have internalized just those 4 of the 10 traits, you may have an easier time getting this next one drilled into your head—The Big one so it can control the Little one—and add this overriding rule: A gentleman waits until her “yes” sounds something along the lines of, “Yes, baby, I do want you to make love to me so continue flirting because it gets me going.” Now, that is enthusiastic consent.
The idea of enthusiastic consent is quite simple. In a nutshell, it advocates for enthusiastic agreement to sexual activity, rather than passive agreement. Many of you may be familiar with the book Yes Means Yes!, which popularized the idea. The concept also requires that consent be given to each piece of sexual activity, meaning that a yes to one thing (such as vaginal penetration) does not mean consent to another (like anal penetration). Basically, we’re saying, “Yes! I want this!” or, “No, I don’t think I want to do that,” and we’re asking “Is this ok?” To do these things is to be respectful of not only your own bodily autonomy, but also your partner’s. It’s just common courtesy, really. To give enthusiastic consent isn’t exactly to scream that you want it at the top of your lungs; it’s more that an unsure or hesitant yes is not enthusiastic consent, and needs to be considered.
The women I dated complained that I was very slow to make a move. I realize that one of my relationship flaws is I don’t always recognize when a woman is flirting or is interested in me. And personally, I think that is a good trait to have. What it has done for me is that it has ensured that all of my life I have always achieved enthusiastic consent. Here is an example from my own life:
I was seeing this young lady and we dated a few times. Eventually, she wanted to come to my apartment and I offered to make dinner. She was short in stature and very beautiful. I had a great bottle of wine out and she watched me cook in the kitchen while we talked about a bunch of different subjects. I had Jazz on, and the conversation was lively and fun. In NYC there is literally no room in some kitchens for chairs so essentially I lifted her up and placed her on one of the countertop while I cooked. By NYC male standards, I am an above average cook so the dinner itself was a success. Eventually, she pardoned herself and asked for the bathroom. I proceeded to clear the table and when I exited the kitchen, she was in the sexiest lingerie I had ever seen, and the devil could not have painted a better smile on her face. That, my friend, was enthusiastic consent.
Now if you keep in mind that I am a gentleman as we all should be, did I use that first night to try and figure out all of her sexual limits? No, I did not, I went with the flow and learned quite a bit that evening. My focus was to ensure that she had a good time so essentially, it wasn’t about me. As the evenings progressed, more intimate things went on. There was no need to rush because, if you pay attention, you’ll learn everything that you need to know about your partner. Most importantly, if you put your ego aside and allow her to guide you not only will she verbally tell you but her body will. (The dumbest question any man can ask a woman is “how was it for you?” You learn that when she calls you back at 2 am the next night and says she is coming over.)
If at some point during a relationship you want to go a little Christian Grey on her, there are ways to ask before and during the event. You should always ask before you do something that’s outside the plain vanilla of sex unless she initiates it. Because even enthusiastic consent requires that if you desire to go off the beaten sexual path, make your partner comfortable and check in with her to see if it’s OK BEFORE you do it.
The biggest rule that you have to keep in mind as a man is that at any point during the act she can say “No” and she doesn’t have to give you a reason for it. You could be just about to penetrate her and she can say “No”. As a gentleman as an intimate, you have to respect her decision fully without bitching or moaning. Just get up and do everything you can to make her feel extraordinarily comfortable and OK with that decision because you may not know her well enough yet to question her intent. You may not even have the luxury of talking about the incident that night or in the future, as a gentleman you have to wait for her to tell you it’s OK to discuss it. If you learn nothing but this today, you are on your way to understanding the rules of engagement as a gentleman at every level.
Enthusiastic consent should be at the forefront of any man’s mind whether you are just initiating first contact and flirting or whether you are attempting to have sex with her after you have been dating for some time. If she isn’t into you, you can still back away gracefully and in your deepest, most confident testosterone-laden voice say something like, “It appears that my approaching you is not something you’re interested in continuing, my apologies for disturbing you and thinking otherwise..please forgive me”. In short, “step off” but do so with grace.
When she says “no”, or “no thank you” and you can’t handle it, you aren’t ready for an adult relationship. I strongly suggest you don’t date, don’t talk to women. Seek professional counseling and work through your issues because if she says “No” about anything and you seek to enforce your “will” there are some deep issues you have yet to work through.
Yes, there are sexually aggressive women who may want to have sex with you on the first date and for them, it may be all about sex with you for the first time and maybe never again. If you can emotionally handle it without turning into a crazy stalker or turning into a beast in the bed—unless she has said you can be one—go for it. That’s enthusiastic consent.
Here are some things you need to do and keep in mind if you want to obtain or participate in enthusiastic consent:
Always put her safety first. A woman has to feel safe with you. She has to feel comfortable in your presence that will always make her “want” to come to you. If you are new to wooing her, ask her what places she prefers and take her there. Don’t say anything too risque unless she invites the conversation and if she does…don’t go fratboy. Be intelligent, articulate, and accurate in the discussion around sex, intimacy, and relationships. You will be surprised at what you learn when you talk openly and honestly about your wants and desires. You’ll be doubly surprised at what you learn about her…if you listen.
If she says no, at any point and at any time, accept that. If you have misjudged her signals, “man up” by apologizing for the offense and ensure that it doesn’t happen again. If she touches you first, that is a signal—not to grab her ass—to mimic the gesture until she is comfortable. Remember her “comfort” not only means the physical surroundings but also how your presence and demeanor make her feel. If you are at peace, if you’re genuinely cool and calm, she will feel your vibe. If you are uncomfortable in some way, be honest and tell her. There is no shame in honesty.
Be patient, it pays off. Some women place you in the “friend” zone. We, men, hate that. But, if she is still talking to you, there is always a chance. Remember, ALL of this is about her comfort which likely will eventually gain you her Enthusiastic Consent. Patience takes time. Don’t be annoying, just be present. Do unexpected things, be a true friend, offer assistance, especially if you feel she is worth it. Some of the best relationships I have had have been with women who have said, “Let’s be friends” and after a while, your “friend’s” panties are on your floor and you’re in the best relationship you have ever had. And if you are only platonic friends? Accept that.
Listen to her. Women are quick to tell you what they want and don’t want. If she tells you what her desires and needs are…listen and follow through.
Be relentlessly honest. Don’t BS her. Dollars to donuts some BS line you may say is something she has already heard. Don’t be a cliché.
A word of advice, NONE of this is just about the conquest or the notch on the bedpost. This toolbox is for the women you truly desire for the long term. Yes, you can use these powers for evil but you’re better than that, aren’t you?
“Behind every great man stands no woman. There is no greater man than the one who can acknowledge the woman standing right next to him” ~ Rachel Wolchin
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