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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?


Quote:
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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Quote:
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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  #6  
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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  #7  
Old 06-30-2012, 08:23 PM
feelyunicorn feelyunicorn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tonberry View Post
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.
You raise interesting points. I`ll let others chime in in order not to post whore.
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  #8  
Old 06-30-2012, 10:15 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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Do you ask directly for what you want?

More or less. Yup. I'm a direct kinda gal. I like KISS -- keep it simple, silly.

But I don't say "I want X."

I temper it down a bit to "I'd like to X with you...may I? How would you feel about it?" in the date-y place.

It's only DH that gets the flat out "I want" because the subtle implied "I want X and I expect you to deliver NOW because I'm entitled so GIMMEE!" is kinda a turn on then.

Can be a total turn off in other contexts.


Why do you think asking for consent has been labeled unromantic? Thanks.

It's unromantic if your idea of "asking for consent" is a brusque "I want X" approach. That is not asking for anything. May as well be "I want potato chips!" Are you talking to another person or a thing? I know I am not potato chips!

It's more romantic if the question is actually ASKED. "I'd like X with you... may I?" or "I find the idea of X with you appealing... how would you feel about that?" You are engaging with me as a person, asking my thoughts and feedback. Not diving into my pants like I'm potato chips you suddenly felt like having. Again... "I know I'm not potato chips? DO YOU?" would be what would pop up in my head if I was in that situation.

It's possible to be direct with a little finesse and not come off all "GRRR! Thor hungry! Thor want EAT!" about it. It's not the concept of asking for consent up front that is unromantic. It's HOW that is done.

Once a guy who was upset I dropped him called me up drunk. At the break up I thought it was just too bad we didn't line up in commonalities. I liked him fine but he seemed to be looking for wife and I was not ready for that nor wanting that type rship then. I wanted something more open, more poly. So... not lining up, that's all.

He got all stupid drunk in his upset and disappointment and then called me from the bar and wailed "Why does DH-then-BF get to poke you and I can't?" I was horrified. Like THAT was going to put him ranking higher on my liking-you meter? Because our rship didn't get to that level? And I'm not a bag of potato chips just anyone can snack on? Sheesh. He apologized for his behavior later when he wasn't drunk and I forgave him but lordy... did that ever UNDERLINE why I thought he was NOT cut out for poly with me or what?

GG

Last edited by GalaGirl; 06-30-2012 at 11:27 PM.
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  #9  
Old 06-30-2012, 10:20 PM
Tonberry Tonberry is offline
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I take offense to your depiction of Thor
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  #10  
Old 06-30-2012, 10:32 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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Typo. It was "Thorg."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Rugrats_characters

I was quoting Rugrats. Here's the clip.

Crazy toy robot gorilla goes chasing the children in the toy store.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PusNOs5_pZM

GG
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