Title: Building Consent Castles
Robot Hugs (RH): My partner and I give workshops on consent. We talk a lot about consent activities – things to think about and things you can talk about to establish consent before and during intimacy.
(checklist of items to talk about)
Checklist text: Talking, texts, emails, checking in before, checking in during, checking in after, touch, body language, sharing fantasies, setting boundaries and limits, safe words, power dynamics, drug and alcohol use, emotional and mental state, triggers
(two people talking)
Dan: Wait a minute! I’ve been with my wife for 15 years. There’s no way we cover all of this every time we have sex! We usually don’t even explicitly ask each other! Are you saying that we’re not having consensual sex??
RH: Of course not!
RH: When we talk about these activities, we’re often talking about new relationships or pick-up sex and play. The truth is, the way we practice consent changes as we build relationships.
Text: Consent isn’t a checkbox.
(checkmark in a box beside the word ‘yes’)
Person 1: Consent achieved! Onwards!
Text: And it isn’t just a legal entity.
Judge: I now deem this encounter officially consensual.
(Dan and RH)
RH: (holding a wrench with the word ‘consent’ on it) Consent is a tool to build strong intimate, sexual, and romantic relationships! When you start out practicing careful and explicit consent, you’re building a Consent Castle that you can both enjoy!
Dan: Consent Castle?
(RH in front of a castle.)
RH: It’s my favorite consent metaphor. It goes like this:
Panels 9 & 10
Text: You’ve met someone awesome, and you decide you want to build a castle together/plan some sexy times. You’ll probably talk about what you want and what you don’t want.
(Pair of people talking)
Steph: I’ve been thinking about a drawbridge…
Kat: Oooh, and a moat!
(2nd pair of people talking.)
Bobbi: I’d really love to give you a blow job.
Chris: I’m not really into getting oral, but I love giving it…
Panels 11 & 12
Text: You might even draw up some diagrams:
(1st pair talking about a drawing in Panel 11 and 2nd pair talking about a drawing in Panel 12)
Steph & Chris: So I was thinking about…
Kat & Bobbi: Ooooh! That looks neat.
Panels 13 & 14
Text: You can talk about your experiences.
Kat: I’ve never worked with sandstone before.
Steph: That’s okay! I’ll give you some tips.
Chris: I’ve never really tried muffing before.
Bobbi: I’ll talk you through it. We can go slow.
Panels 15 & 16
Text: And it’s a good idea to check in to see how it’s going.
(1st pair talking. Steph is holding a paint roller.)
Steph: What do you think about the color so far?
Kat: I love it!
(2nd pair is talking and doing intimate things.)
Chris: How does this feel? Is it okay?
Bobbi: It’s good, maybe go a little faster?
(Steph and Kat on a construction site, wearing hardhats and shaking hands.)
Text: The point is, when you’re building something with someone, you usually start out being really careful. You use scaffolding, and wear hardhats and steel-toed boots. You communicate a lot to make sure you’re both on the same page.
RH: It might seem like a lot of work, but it’s also a lot of fun! You’re building something that you’re both going to enjoy.
Panels 19 & 20
Text: You don’t have to take these precautions, and maybe everything will be okay. But maybe…
(Steph looks concerned as a brick falls on Kat’s head.)
(Bobbi is concerned and Chris is upset.)
Chris: That – that wasn’t what I wanted to happen.
Bobbi: I’m sorry.
(Steph and Kat sitting in chairs by a fire. Steph is using a tablet and Kat is reading.)
Text: As you build your castle, you’ll finish rooms, and you’ll both get used to the space. If you’ve built it right, you don’t have to wear hard hats all the time, because it becomes a safe, comfortable, familiar space.
(Chris is grabbing Bobbi’s butt.)
Text: As you establish a relationship based on consent, you learn what your partner likes and dislikes, and you may find that you’re doing sexy or intimate things without explicitly talking about it at all.
Chris: Come here, you!
Panels 23 & 24
Text: The great thing about consent castles is that they are always works in progress. You may need to do some maintenance.
(Steph and Kat are looking at a chipped wall.)
Steph: Hmm, I think this needs a new coat of paint.
(Chris is shyly talking to Bobbi, who is listening and offering support.)
Chris: I’ve been feeling really self-concious about my body during sex lately.
Bobbi: Okay – can I help with those feelings?
(Steph and Kat are on a construction site. Steph is on scaffolding and Kat is on the ground with a diagram, giving directions.)
Text: You might want to add a new room, or refurbish an old one. In that case, you put your hard hats back on and plan things out a little more carefully.
(Chris is proposing a sexy idea to Bobbi, who is giving feedback.)
Text: Similarly, you may want to add something new to your relationship. That’s the time where you slow down and start talking things through again to make sure you’re both excited and having fun.
Chris: I think… I think I’d like to try using a strap-on with you.
Bobbi: That might be fun! What does that look like for you?
RH: I use the Consent Castle metaphor because I think it’s a good illustration of how consent and healthy relationships reinforce each other.
(Dan and RH are talking)
RH: I don’t know anyone in a long-term relationship who always explicitly and fully negotiates sex and intimacy with their partners, every single time.
(RH talking in front of a castle.)
RH: But my experience is that by being careful and deliberate with consent early with someone new, you build a solid foundation for a mutually satisfying relationship.
(RH wearing construction gear and fishnet stockings, and holding a hammer and a diagram.)
RH: So gear up! Because this is going to be a lot of fun…