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Old 06-30-2012, 02:33 PM
feelyunicorn feelyunicorn is offline
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Default Asking for consent in open relationships

Directly asking for what you want - whether it be a kiss, sex, or verbal approval - has been slandered, and maligned as 'unromantic' at best, if not downright rude.

In characteristic hetero-mono-normative can`t win, asking for consent is considered too pansy for men; and, too assertive for women. A real man is supposed to just 'take what he wants', and a lady is supposed to 'wait for Mr. Right'. In other words, hetero-mono-normativity claims passive-aggressiveness to be Holy Grail in getting what you want out of a relationship.

Taking passive-aggressive logic one step further, Prince Charming and Cinderella are supposed to sense, and preemptively divine our wants and innermost feelings without being told or be deemed unfit for a romantic candidate.

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I`ve been asked a few times 'what my pick up line was'. After proving myself wholly inept at hooking up by the usual methods, I must say that I`ve resorted to just asking. When I ask, success isn`t simply defined by getting what I want, but finding out whether partners or potential partners actually want the same.

The last girl I hooked up with began with a "Can I kiss you?" She had a strong, knee-jerk reaction to it, that almost made me jump out of my seat (she`s a coworker who gives me rides on Mondays and Wednesdays), "NO!"

I felt bummed out for a couple days, but eventually recovered. After a couple of weeks went by, she asked me whether I wanted to "have fun", NSA.

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I can understand how passive-aggressiveness works for hetero monos. It may even be its price of admission. However, I think in open relationships with multiple partners, asking for consent is essential. I do not see how open relationships can succeed otherwise.

Do you ask directly for what you want? Why do you think asking for consent has been labeled unromantic? Thanks.
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Last edited by feelyunicorn; 06-30-2012 at 02:56 PM.
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  #2  
Old 06-30-2012, 04:42 PM
Tonberry Tonberry is offline
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I guess it depends. I would ask directly for things like "going out", which although it means kissing and sex is actually a euphemism.
In the past, when I have been more direct I have turned men off and given a wrong impression.
I do like discussing what's fine and what isn't once a relationship has started.

However, if I'm going to kiss someone, I'm of the opinion that asking is unromantic. It's absolutely possible to just slowly lean towards the person, go half the way and wait for them to go the other half. If they don't, then it's a no. If they do, they consent.
Same thing with sex, you can start with snuggling and then get friskier, or get up and start undressing and then wait, and see if they ask you to keep unbuttoning that shirt or to button it back up.
You can ask for consent without being so in-your-face and to the point.

My ex would ask if I wanted to have sex. We'd be in the middle of foreplay and suddenly he interrupt it to ask. The answer was always no, because simply by asking, he had just shot down my libido completely, and I couldn't have wanted him less.
So yes, I do think asking in too much detail can be a problem and kill the mood. However I think it's good to know what you want and be confident about it. Just don't ask with words whenever there is another option. Sometimes it's the only way, though, and these times I try to use euphemism because I'm simply more comfortable with them.
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Old 06-30-2012, 05:17 PM
feelyunicorn feelyunicorn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tonberry View Post
In the past, when I have been more direct I have turned men off and given a wrong impression.
Too bad it wasn`t me. You would`ve gotten laid. There`s no greater turn on to me than a woman who`s super direct. Should I even bother to mention that I like women who curse, have mastery over irony, dig bukkakes, and play sports?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tonberry View Post
It's absolutely possible to just slowly lean towards the person, go half the way and wait for them to go the other half. If they don't, then it's a no. If they do, they consent.
Same thing with sex, you can start with snuggling and then get friskier, or get up and start undressing and then wait, and see if they ask you to keep unbuttoning that shirt or to button it back up.
Of course, that`s ok too, as well as euphemisms. But, what to do if hints are misunderstood or go unnoticed? Can you really claim that subtlety is always enough? Can you really claim that sex or a relationship are never worthwhile if clarifications are needed?


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Originally Posted by Tonberry View Post
My ex would ask if I wanted to have sex. We'd be in the middle of foreplay and suddenly he interrupt it to ask. The answer was always no, because simply by asking, he had just shot down my libido completely, and I couldn't have wanted him less.
That was easy...just teasing.

I can`t relate but, hey, whatever works for you.
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Last edited by feelyunicorn; 06-30-2012 at 05:31 PM.
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Old 06-30-2012, 06:41 PM
Tonberry Tonberry is offline
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If subtlety doesn't work, then yes, I would clarify. If I think someone is misinterpreting, I would clarify as well. But I certainly wouldn't interrupt something that is going smoothly as has been done to me.
To be fair, there were other issues with my ex so it was important not to distract me at all when I was in the mood or I would stop being in the mood. Also, it was about phrasing. He would say things like "do you want to make love tonight?" which seemed clumsy at best. If he had said "let's fuck", that would have been less of a turn-off, I think. It would still have seemed weird to state the obvious that way, though.

A female friend of mine once was interested in having sex with a male friend we had in common. She flirted with him a lot and was hoping that one thing would lead to another. Then he suddenly asked in the middle of a flirting session "so, what about a booty call?" and she said it was like a cold shower.

I think in these cases, the problem is that suddenly, you start questioning if the person respects you, will respect you after the sex, is objectifying you, etc. That's what seemed to go through her head and nothing happened between the two of them, which is sad. If he had put his hand on her hip and leaned forward, I'm positive they would have become FWBs.

This being said, once again phrasing might have been in question. If he had told her "you know, I find you really hot, what do you say we go to my place and have some fun?" she probably would have been less shocked and more willing. Of course I can't speak for her.
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Old 06-30-2012, 07:14 PM
feelyunicorn feelyunicorn is offline
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Originally Posted by Tonberry View Post
I think in these cases, the problem is that suddenly, you start questioning if the person respects you, will respect you after the sex, is objectifying you, etc. That's what seemed to go through her head and nothing happened between the two of them, which is sad. If he had put his hand on her hip and leaned forward, I'm positive they would have become FWBs.
I don`t know, Ton. Your point is well-taken that verbal consent at the expense of body language may reek of insecurity. But, to consider an awkward turn of phrase a complete deal breaker also seems like insecurity on the receiver`s part.

I think it`s awesome to want confidence in a man, but we weren`t put on Earth to be confident for you, or to compensate for your insecurity. Especially, if the initiation rests on a man`s shoulder, I would think it appropriate to mention your insecurities about being respected prior to having sex, and move on with it. Nothing wrong with explaining to your partner what you`ve just said in this thread, either.

Ok, maybe you`ll need a little time to digest the new information and sex won`t happen that night. But, to rest the fate of a whole relationship on that? C`mon, now. In the end, it`s you and your friend`s loss.

---------

Obviously, if it were something recurrent after due discussion, then we might be dealing with something more serious. But, whenever a little turn of phrase is in-itself a deal-breaker, a thousand "daddy's princess/Virgin Mary-complex" red flags go up for me.

You seem to also be coming from a very specific unsuccessful experience, and unable to picture a situation when asking for consent is done from a place of confidence and assertiveness. Of a man who`s not afraid of taking "No" for an answer, and who asks exactly because he respects you as a separate entity from his wants and desires.
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Last edited by feelyunicorn; 06-30-2012 at 07:56 PM.
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Old 06-30-2012, 08:13 PM
Tonberry Tonberry is offline
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Oh, I totally think that the reaction I described is bad and is due to sex negativity in our society. I simply stated that it happens. I think it's linked with how women who are portrayed as sexual are also portrayed negatively, as people no to be respected.
I think it's wrong that they are, but that means when a woman is blatantly sees as a sexual object and knows it, there is that concern. Sadly, it can be absolutely founded, there is no lack of men who expect sex to be owed to them for instance, and get upset when they don't get it. These same people tend to have less hangups about being forward than men who are more respectful, and so the association is made, and the woman who was asked becomes cautious. I'm not saying it's fair, but I do believe it's understandable, as females are more at risk, both physically (risk of pregnancy, more at risk for STDs, more at risk for abuse by a male than the other way around) and image-wise (one person saying the wrong thing about you can ruin your career, cost you friendships, etc. And based on sexual activity, these things are more likely to be considered negative in females than males. Consensual activity, I mean, harassment is the other way around).

I don't think it should necessarily be a deal breaker. If I'm really into someone, I doubt it would be. If I could go either way, the phrasing could make the difference though, until I get to know the guy more and get to trust him.
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Old 07-01-2012, 07:42 PM
AutumnalTone AutumnalTone is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by feelyunicorn View Post
...to consider an awkward turn of phrase a complete deal breaker also seems like insecurity on the receiver`s part.
We have a winner!

For me, if she can't speak directly to the point about what she does or does not want, not much can happen. I don't read minds and won't attempt to do so. If asking if she wants to fuck is too much for her, I've got better things to do.
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Old 07-01-2012, 03:36 AM
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ksandra ksandra is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tonberry View Post
However, if I'm going to kiss someone, I'm of the opinion that asking is unromantic. It's absolutely possible to just slowly lean towards the person, go half the way and wait for them to go the other half. If they don't, then it's a no.
Part of the rush for me is reading peoples' body language and then sense that you're both singing the same song, without necessarily having to say it right away. On a subconscious level too, I think it's a big bonus when another person's actions are matching yours, it's like signalling to your lizard brain that you both want the same thing/are of the same clan/etc.

It can also be super awkward to figure out how to bring words into action since they're two different types of communication. Personally it feels weird to go from: "May I kiss you?" to the act of kissing. Anything that happens after speech almost has a timeline to it, like you can't lead in by caressing someone or giving a massage or anything. If you ask to kiss them then the next action has to be a kiss. For me that takes out some of the spontaneity.

Can there be a balance though? Like can body language get us to a certain point and then words can help move us into the next stage of intimacy? Thoughts?
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Old 07-01-2012, 01:15 PM
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nycindie nycindie is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by feelyunicorn View Post
Directly asking for what you want - whether it be a kiss, sex, or verbal approval - has been slandered, and maligned as 'unromantic' at best, if not downright rude.

In characteristic hetero-mono-normative can`t win, asking for consent is considered too pansy for men; and, too assertive for women. A real man is supposed to just 'take what he wants', and a lady is supposed to 'wait for Mr. Right'. In other words, hetero-mono-normativity claims passive-aggressiveness to be Holy Grail in getting what you want out of a relationship.
I don't see this as true at all. In fact, it is usually considered a standard that a man won't know what a woman wants unless she tells him. Now, some women do that telling in a roundabout flirty way, and others more directly. But I have never seen asking for what one wants as something that is slandered, maligned, or considered rude - unless the person asking is simply just a rude, obnoxious person who may be asking as a formality but clearly feels entitled to what they want.

In my life of mostly monogamy, I've always asked for what I want. Sometimes I get it, sometimes I don't; sometimes asking is appreciated, sometimes it isn't. What's the big deal? I see no reason to cry over it or turn it into some manifesto or protest. You can't get blood from a stone, they say, so I either move on and try with someone else or fine-tune and improve my method of asking.

If it's pretty consistent that people find you offensive, then it may not be the "ask" itself, but your attitude that accompanies it.
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An excellent blog post on hierarchy in polyamory:
solopoly.net/2014/10/31/why-im-not-a-secondary-partner-the-short-version/
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Old 07-01-2012, 03:47 PM
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AnnabelMore AnnabelMore is offline
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I'm a big fan of directness and clarity. When I was a teenager, I dated a beautiful girl for a few months. We got into bed, I took the lead, we made out, I placed her hands on my breasts and started fondling hers. It was awesome, I thought she was into it. The next day, she admitted that we had moved way too fast for her and she hadn't known how to say so. I felt like complete shit and we broke up not too long after.

To me, talking is not a matter of how best to get what I want, it's a matter of respect for myself and the other person. I want to know that we're both having a good time, and as I learned, your perceptions of body language can be so colored by desire, or so unclear on the other person's part, that you get it wrong... and that's just not ok for anyone.
There are sexier and less sexy ways to handle talking, of course. There's "Can I touch you there?" which can be a little too weird and insecure sounding, and then there's murmuring "Is this ok?" or "Let me know if we're going too fast" or "What would you like?" or even just "All good?"
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