Consent, Sex, and Violence Zine: third edition

drawing by Joan

Posted in Uncategorized, zine third edition by consentzine on August 20, 2009

drawing by joan

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untitled by anonymous

Posted in zine third edition by consentzine on August 20, 2009

I was in love. Head over heels utterly completely to the depths of my very being in love. She made me feel special and wanted and needed and comfortable and relaxed and I could tell her anything and things just worked and it was wonderful. It was my first committed relationship. My first serious sexual partner. And she helped me feel sexually free. I could finally accept my sexuality. Not to be pushed out of mind or hidden or uncomfortably mentioned. I finally felt comfortable enough with another person to let my guard down. But things weren’t perfect. I was nervous. Nervous about pleasing her or being good enough for her or being big enough for her. And there was never any reason for any of this nervousness. I think it was mostly just in my head. Insecurities feeding into more insecurities. And there were times that were less than magical. Like the times when we’d be in bed in the morning and we would be kissing and touching and exploring and she’d climb on top of me and I’d suddenly feel powerless and nervous and scared and like I wanted to stop everything we were doing at once because I felt scared and nervous and self-conscious. But I’m supposed to want this, I’d think. I’m supposed to want a gorgeous naked girl to climb on top of me and kiss me all over and tell me she loves me and as a person with a penis I’m supposed to get excited and things are supposed to move in this direction. But they didn’t. I didn’t get excited when she climbed on top of me and I didn’t like it and it made me feel powerless she never asked if I liked it or not and she just assumed that I did. But I felt pressured into pleasing her because that was what she wanted and I wanted her to want me but I wasn’t getting excited so I’d go down on her even though it wasn’t turning me on and even though I didn’t want to but I did. I felt pressured by our status as committed lovers to please her whenever she wanted and she never asked if I wanted to and most of the time things ended up like this and I felt cheap and used and worthless because I couldn’t have the sex she wanted when she climbed on top of me. Somehow the power dynamic was set up in her favor and aimed at her pleasure and it was just fucked up and I wish I could change it and I wish she would have asked for my consent instead of going on what she called implied consent because we were in a sexual relationship.

Faggot by Bumble

Posted in poems, zine third edition by consentzine on August 20, 2009

we all saw ,god last night;

Dying on that picket

       fence, p;u;n;c;t;u;a;t;e;d

        by       stat-ic

          and novi(cain)e inh  is

    Pro-sthetic  

brests.

  valKYRIE sin.g  the body/holographic,

sour te-e-eth wrappped, caKed

           with st.ale. mttn 

tho?ugh t  Lamb i’snt always

                                a ‘Shepherd’.

           

      we all saw my sickness

            las tnigh t, rubyy gr)ape

ofproserpine

     

       jesus Wept

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Consent was sexy by Anonymous

Posted in zine third edition by consentzine on August 20, 2009

This is my first committed monogomous relationship. Meaning that I would see them tomorrow and the next day and the next day. This is especially true since I live in the same house as they do. Damn house-cest as it is informally known in the co-ops. However, I was used to the one night hook-up, where “hooking-up” was the point. This means that sexual interaction is mandatory…Right? But how can you sustain this hooking-up thing day after day, week after week? I mean if I don’t please them won’t they leave me? Won’t they turn to other people for affection. I mean I have to be on top of my game or they won’t want me…that’s what I’ve been told. But then it happened. Kissing me on the neck, hugging me tighter and tighter, but my body is unresponsive, indicative of my internal dialogue that keeps saying “I don’t want this right now, I don’t want to have sex.” Then magically, or so I thought at the time, they turn to me and says “Do you not want to have sex right now?” Long pause on my part . “Because if you don’t, we can just cuddle. You never have to do anything that you don’t want. You know that right?”
 
No I didn’t know that, but now I do. We watched a movie and had amazing consensual sex the next day.

confidentiality by Daria

Posted in poems, zine third edition by consentzine on August 20, 2009

“I wrote this poem about the names of perpetrators in my community, how their memories consume me, even long after the people themselves are gone.”

Confidentiality
By Daria

Some nights I want to run down Prospect, screaming,
screaming out your names.
Your friends don’t know. They laugh, they reminisce,
they will not hear your names.
Semesters, months, you’re gone. But they’re still breaking me,
still choking on your names.
I can’t live, can’t breathe, I won’t reveal my names.

untitled by Jarrod Valentine

Posted in zine third edition by consentzine on August 20, 2009

i wish people would respect the legitimacy of others’ experiences of
sexual violence and harassment.
i wish people would not question the severity of others’ experiences of
sexual violence nor create degrees of severity to be applied to another’s
experiences.
i wish people would respect the right to privacy in terms of others’
experiences with sexual violence and harassment.
jarrod valentine

untitled by anonymous – on rape culture

Posted in zine third edition by consentzine on August 20, 2009

I think I read somewhere that “North America is a rape-supportive
culture”.  Okay, I don’t really know anything about Canada or Mexico,
but I think that pretty much sums up how I feel about the U.S.  So
this movie Observe and Report just came out.  Well, there’s a date
rape scene in it.  And it’s supposed to be funny because this woman
who is completely blacked out on alcohol and antidepressants briefly
*wakes up* in the middle and asks, “Why are you stopping,
motherfucker?”  That’s funny.  Right.  How many women (and men, and
transwomen and transmen and genderqueer people…) who have been
victims of sexual assault are going to walk into a movie theater and
pay for the privilege of having their experiences thrown in their
faces as something to be laughed at?  And Anna Faris, who played this
role, said in an interview, “It’s like date rape–that’s funny,
right?”  Yeah.  Fucking hilarious.

 
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excerpts from a conversation about consent – Minoo, Haruka, Daria

Posted in zine third edition by consentzine on August 20, 2009

excerpts from a conversation about consent   Daria, Minoo, and Haruka   April 2009  

Daria: So, consent.

Minoo: Where do we begin?

Haruka: What kind of context of consent are we talking about?

Daria: Minoo and I were talking about the possibility of consent as like, a spectrum, or gradient, or even like a field, rather than something that is or isn’t. We can go there if you want.

Minoo: … and how you can seem to consent, and follow all the criteria that you might think could be going along with consenting but if you have reservations, if in the back of your mind you’re not actually consenting, how do you resolve that?

Daria: yeah, and the field we were talking about, if you imagine a spatial plane where there’s like four poles, its like a 2d plane and on one pole you have violence as an extreme and on the other pole you have non violence as an extreme, and then intersecting it is consent and non consent, and that maybe our interactions could be located in that grid, of like having given consent but still experiencing a violent situation or not giving consent explicitly but not being under threat of being harmed

Haruka: so like breaking past the no means no, because it was said no or acted no, and yes means yes because it was said yes or acted yes, exploring the possibility of different external and internal forces that could be underlying the reasons you would say yes or the reasons you did say no, but you didn’t really mean it.

M: and it could go beyond how you feel about that person, it could also be how you feel, your economic situation in society too, and your role as a woman… I’m always fighting myself, like I’ll be saying one thing but feeling differently and I’ve always wondered why. ls it because I can’t be real with the person, or I can’t be real with myself? What is it? And I feel like its so many things. Its how I want to fit in as a woman in society, how I want to be seen with this one person, and its like so many factors that even though we could be saying yes, and that person hears yes, it doesn’t actually mean yes, and it can’t mean yes until a lot of other things are resolved.

D: yeah, until a lot of broad structural changes happen, you can’t ever mean yes, even if you say [it]. I mean, there is such a level of coercion, of gendered coercion that underlies our very existence. Until its gone could you ever say you willingly choose to do something? Does that make sense?

 H:  Yeah, there’s like a lot of really radical feminist discourse that talks about the improbability of nonviolent heterosexual relationships. That because of the way women are positioned in society, in culture, the roles that we are given, assigned to, makes it impossible for one to actually consent to anything. That all heterosexual sex is a form of rape. Because when we are saying yes, we are saying yes to all the things that have historical and contextual levels of subjugation. This is a really radical queer feminist. I think I don’t agree with a lot of the things she’s saying … Its really controversial to call all heterosexual sex rape. Basically what she’s saying is to be woman, to identify as woman is the recognition of our gendered subjugation. Which is interesting to me because she says that the only probable relationship that is outside these power dynamics is love between two women or between two people who are non gender identified or identify as women. But identifying as women is already structurally problematic, in that men are the ones that chose how a woman identifies as a woman… why do we feel compelled to say no? if even yes means no inside of us sometimes. I think that might hold some of the keys to what our questions are.

D: why are we sometimes compelled to say yes, when we really mean no? and I think for me, I can imagine part of that being the reluctance to admit that I can’t really consent to this situation so I’m just going to save some personal grace, and act as though I am [consenting] in the mean time because I can’t deal with everything that saying no and still going forward with this might imply. So I’m just going to pretend that for now, I’m consent to whats happening and maybe when I’m stronger, and the situation is different I can say no, and mean it, and deal with the consequences of if my no is not respected.

H: for me I think what’s hardest to deal with ambiguously consensual spaces is that I don’t know how to deal with my physical reaction like my physical space of arousal, or my physical reaction to intimacy… Like say I really don’t want to suck this guys dick and I know that if I don’t do it, maybe we’re not going to end up doing something else  like him giving me head, but I am super aroused, and I know inside my head that I really don’t want to go down on this guy because I just don’t want to, and I really don’t want to do this but … Why is my body being aroused when inside my mind I am totally disgusted? And then because sometimes I can’t tie those things together, I think my no ends up being a passive yes and later on when I’m reflecting on it, what I think about is just that oh but at least I got some, or was that the point? Does it mean less that now that when my body’s not aroused and that I’m thinking about it I think that I did like a silly thing but when I was there, it was like a good thing, because I was aroused. And then I feel like, consent is really confused for me.

 M:  well I’m curious because I think I’ve gone through that same thing. When that moment happens and you’re with someone and they ask you to go down on them. And then you feel like, and you’re thinking about it. Its not like a sure, yeah! You’re thinking, and so what makes you decide yes or no? what is it?

D: its contextual, right? You’re weighing your options, your feelings, the outcomes, the potential problems or threats or risks.

M when have you said no? and how did you say no?

H: I have definitely gone into a thing being like – I am not going to give you head. I’m just not going to. This is something that we can talk about if we’re closer but it has something to do with me overcoming a trauma. That will break the mood, you know, you wanna talk about my trauma about sucking dick? [everyone laughs] You wanna know how entrenched that one event was? Which is the reason why I can’t go down on people that I don’t care about? Because I’m afraid of whats going to happen if I do? A lot of times I’ve been lucky I have been with partners that are really not that into it. The last person that I was with, after I gave him head, we were talking about how I don’t like giving head. And then he wanted me to give him head again! And I was just like – but I just told you that I didn’t like doing that! … It was a sort of miscommunication, cuz we were talking about pushing boundaries, about dom/sub spaces and so I think there was like a confusion in where like I was being real, not like roleplay, playtime me, but like for real, woman, a person being like this is not something that I enjoy. The fact that it already happened, I want to talk about it because it happened. Because I did give you head, I just want you to know that’s something that I don’t enjoy. I didn’t say that I’m never going to do it again, but its not something I enjoy. I think that particular thing was less about consent and more about active listening and communication. He was hearing me but he wasn’t listening to me.

M: well I guess along the lines of communication, and like sex acts, for me, certain sexual positions or sexual acts will be more, in my mind I will feel more reluctant about them. And I wonder why those certain things? Why is giving head to someone so repulsive to me sometimes? Why is doing it like doggie style so on the no side? And why am I totally against anal sex, you know? … And then also why do I still let them happen, even though I don’t really want them to happen? Why do I not communicate it? And how do you communicate it?

 H: … we talked about this a lot daria, saying yes to one thing doesn’t mean yes forever and it doesn’t mean yes to everything else. That phrase that comes to mind right now is that “one thing leads to another.” I’ve heard many people describe a sexual encounter as “one thing leads to another”. Whether that one thing be substance use or whether that one thing be communal nudity or whether that one thing be we were in the same bed. This one thing leads to another is interesting to me because was there a point of consent? Was there a point of communication during the leading part, you know?

 D: yeah, and why do we function as though one act implies: now that we’ve started, this is going to be a continual course to like heterosexual intercourse. What is sex? And why is sex a pointed trajectory towards that? Why is that what you revert to?

H: its really funny that you say that because the last two casual partners I’ve had, I’ve said at the very beginning, sometimes even before we start making out – we’re not going to fuck.

[laughter]

H: I’m just going to put it out there, that we’re not going to fuck. It doesn’t mean that we can’t be intimate together. There’s just not going to be any fucking involved. And it hasn’t been a bad response. Its actually been more tender because then theres not that goal thing thats happening. Where that’s like the point. But then, I’ve found that theres more, like talking about blowjobs, there’s more pressure to do that. So in some way their dick has to be involved and the only way, a lot of the really normative way of sexual expression that involves penises has to do with either penetration of fellatio, you know? … If I say we’re not going to fuck does that necessitate that I give you head? Am I being a tease? What is that, you know?

M: I think it also goes back to the role of women and how a lot of times we want, not that this is how every woman is but, it can be a woman or man, but you just want to make the person that you’re with feel good. You want to share a good experience. And for me often times that means pleasing them in some way, doing what they want. And so I feel like in consent you’re often holding back your own needs your own worries you’re reservations to fulfill the needs of the person you’re with. And that often means doing something that you’re uncomfortable with.

D: With sex being directional, are we still moving in the trajectory that – sex starts and then its over when everybody orgasms? I’ve never, well, with the exception of one time, never orgasmed with a partner before, and so, if [I] don’t reach that point was it not sex or was it not pleasurable, was it devalued in some sort of way? Was that where we were heading, we just didn’t get there?

H: for me, giving consent is a really important thing that I’ve been practicing, but like obtaining consent is a really hard thing too. I had thought that I continuously ascertained consent from a former partner of mine about the type of sex we were having. We were always in communication about it. He was always verbally and physically consenting to everything and at the end of our relationship, and it probably has to do with that timing, he probably did want to hurt my feelings and everything by saying these things, but he basically told me that he didn’t like and didn’t want to do any of the things that we did intimately. And to me, I, a year and a half later, I still don’t know how to trust my judgment of other people giving me consent. Because I have been mindfully and continuously asking and ascertaining consent in many different ways, in many different languages about many different things, like using different rhetoric, and all outside of intimate situations and inside of the moment of intimate situations. And still, this ex partner of mine was able to say- my boundaries were crossed and these were things I was uncomfortable with.

And at first I was like – what the fuck? You lied to me. You fucking just straight up lied to me for months. But then I was just like okay, something got miscommunicated. For some reason I thought this continual engagement was indeed consensual. And he wanted to keep and love me, and that’s why he was doing the things I was asking him to do. And that’s when I realized that wow I had this power over him that I did not know and it freaked me out. To be honest I still don’t know how to relate with people in those kinds of sex acts that I am interested in because I don’t know how to trust someone’s consent. Because he wasn’t lying to me, he just wanted to please me, he didn’t want to lose me.

D: and I’ve been thinking about the idea of faith and trust a lot.  I feel like I have the accountability to be as aware as I can and continuously learning about what kind of power I have, that will, without my intention, but maybe due to my lack of awareness about myself, coerce people into acting ways with me which they don’t consent to even though they say they do. So that’s one thing, and then  there’s also like a certain amount of faith, or trust, that you put in other people to take care of themselves, too. As you take care of your own self and as you try to care of them,  imagine them with a certain amount of agency. As well as you.  The responsibility lies in a tension in between the two people. As everyone’s struggling to both be strong, and honest, with themselves and with their partner.

 M: and I think the key thing, the admirable thing about what both of your guys are saying is that you are actively thinking about your partner, thinking about the other person. And understanding that you may have this power, or that your partner may not be saying what they feel. Just by thinking that, you’re already going deeper, figuring out if you guys are on the same page, if you guys are consenting to whatever you’re doing. I think without doing that you’re so far away from consenting.

H: I think its hard though, personally for me. I will continue to practice consent, consensual relationships, but how do you find a way for it to make sense if you are hurt by those spaces? … I feel like communicating boundaries is one of the most intimate things for me, I do that with people I care about. By people I care about I mean my friends, my family, my intimate partners, and most importantly myself. I communicate consent because I’m the most important person to myself in that context of obtaining consent for myself. Why I wanna say yes. So you experiment, and you try consent in different spaces. You make mistakes, you explore, then what? What if you figure out that, what if all your experiences tell you it doesn’t matter what you’re saying, it doesn’t matter what you’re feeling, certain things will get fucked up anyways. People will manipulate things, or people will misunderstand things. How do you continue to have faith that you can explore consensual spaces? And have a way to trust people? I definitely still practice very explicit consent but in the back of my mind I’m feeling like, is that even possible?… how do we find ways to encourage other people to believe that consent is possible? When its difficult for people who are mindfully aware of it to practice consent? That’s something I think about all the time. I am so mindfully aware of it and I’ll talk to my sister and I’ll talk to other women. How do I encourage them when I’m not sure how it works?

M: We have to take ownership of our own actions. That involves us figuring out our ambivalent feelings, figuring out exactly what we want to do. And act upon them. Like how you were saying earlier, yeah, maybe I do want to be sexual with this person, maybe I don’t know where this is gonna go. Having all those questions and not really knowing. I guess if that’s whats going through our minds we should use that as a sign for not going through, like if we have any sort of question we should figure it out within ourselves before doing anything. So that there is no question… We do have to take ownership, and we…

H: and like all the people, by we I mean everyone

M: it doesn’t have to be put on one person to ask – can we do this? And it involves both people knowing what they want.

D: and being honest with themselves so they can be honest with their partners… Maybe with all that comes the ability to forgive and understand. Forgive yourself for not being able to be true to yourself. Forgive others for not being able to be true with themselves, also not being able to accept your truth. And show that to you in your actions, and have hope that we’re learning, and striving, for a state of non violent intimacy. You know?

H: well then, on the note of nonviolent intimacy, what are  some  good experiences and impactful experiences that you’re had where you’ve felt empowered. Both your partner and you were empowered… I mean after all, we are women who believe that sex is beautiful and pleasurable.

D: I don’t identify as a woman

M: we are people.

H: we are people that find intimacy.. can be pleasurable. So if you have any, not good but like, cool stories about consent?

D: …last night, my friend and I made time to have sex… And then I started going down on him and felt like – oh, I think I’m done with going down, haha. That I don’t really want to do this anymore, and in fact actually maybe I just want to go lay down with you, and sleep, and I don’t want to have intercourse. What was cool about the situation was I was able to express that. And he was able to receive that positively and respect [me] … I could engage in an act to the extent that I wanted to and when I didn’t want to anymore I could stop. And I didn’t feel forced, once sex started to go through unitl he came, in some way or other, when I wasn’t feeling it anymore…

H: well I had a cool experience to where like, I told you about it, that guy I met at the bar who came over at like four am. It was raining and he asked – can I come over and sleep? And I just met him. And I was just like, okay, well, we’re just going to sleep. I mean literally. I am crazy tired, you can come over, but we’re just gonna sleep. He came over and we got in bed and then he asked me if we could cuddle and I said yes. And he’s like is this okay if I put my arm here and I said- yes, that’s fine. And then he said- can we make out? And I said no, really, we’re not going to make out.

Everyone laughs

H: and he was like super cute and really sweet and all these different things. He spent the night, we hung out until like past noon and we didn’t even make out. We just hung out in bed, like half naked and didn’t even touch eachother. I thought that that was incredible. We just hung out and we laughed and he was totally unphased about that. He really just wanted company, and I wanted company also, and it was not like, a thing. And I’m sure he came over expecting a certain thing, right? Because you pick up a girl at a bar and go over to her place at four am. Its like, the narrative is really common. And so for me to be like – no really, we’re going to sleep. No really, we’re not even going to make out. And he didn’t persist and that makes me think – okay, cool. Its possible. Its actually possible. To have that, you know.

…Consent, as part of play. Its so sexy to me to  talk about boundaries… like talking about boundaries means talking about whats sexy to you. What turns you on and what doesn’t. what turns your partner on, what doesn’t turn your partner on. Talking about boundaries means that you’re bringing them into the most intimate parts of yourself. Which is not like, you know, your orfices but like you emotions

D: [laughing] that’s so good.

H: I’m talking about, I’m letting you into a place that not everyone comes to, and I think that even if that’s a ten minute stand, a one night stand, a three year relationships, a marriage, a partnership, a civil union, a poly situation I think its all the same its so beautiful to be like these are the things that turn me on and these are the reasons why. And that’s why these things are things that are not interesting to me, or whats that for you? People have sex sometimes and they don’t even talk, at all. And then people sometimes have sex, and me too included, and never have talked about what turns them on.  What are you just groping in the dark for when you can talk  about it and be  a thousand times more pleasured by eachother? Right? 

Poem by Abe Becker

Posted in poems, Uncategorized, zine third edition by consentzine on August 20, 2009

My love…is a ghost I try to create, a
past I believe in, though I may not find it in my
own memories, though I see its mask paraded on
TV.  And in my own family I widdle the puzzle-
pieces of the best days I have until they fit symmetrical,
square, identical to theirs, on my parents’, what was
my grandparents’ and their parents’ antique coffee table.

 

Home is the fists or palms you have known, most
of us have never been cupped like well-water, purity
sweet like sugar, sigh released after the juice
of my tongue like I was someone’s soda on a
hot, backyard, American-family-on-the-weekend day…When
someone spoons me, bruises welter on my triceps and
temples, until I’m sure that my past has made me
ugly.  I put pillows between us, so my scabs you
are healing don’t give you leprosy in the mean time.

 

My first coituses I apologized at climax, because
who consents to this? who can measure up?  The
rapists heart is a ball of fists.  I wanna make of it
two palms cupped to cradle kind words: a wound
like that is a womb for healing your stillborn child in.
Let the embrace fit the crime.  Let the prison in
my own chest release mine.  I am ashamed.  But I am
inspired.

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consent is sexy – anonymous journal entry

Posted in zine third edition by consentzine on August 20, 2009

i wanted to share this, from my journal, 22 may/23 june/2 july 2008.
edited for content and to protect our identities.  also i took a
little artistic license and combined a few different episodes in my
relationship with this partner.  but it all really happened!  i just
want everyone to know how truly amazing and powerful consent is.

oh.
my.
god.
i’d hoped, but i never expected–!
begin @ the beginning?  well.  i was painting, finished packing, bored
& morose & sober.  i didn’t want to go to my room, though.
eventually, he turned up & i went to his room to paint while he
finished studying.  then he announced he was going to bed.  he invited
me to stay w/ him.
we started going at it pretty immediately.  he just knows what he’s
doing.  our pants were gone pretty early on, and i love his body.
“d’you want me to fuck you?” he asked, fulfilling all my 13-year-old
d.h. lawrence-fueled fantasies
“yes,” i breathed, nodding.
he rose from the bed–thank god i’d brought those condoms–, tore open
the foil packet as i lay panting.  returned to bed and flipped me
over, lifting my hips.  i thought i was going to come right then as he
pushed inside me.  i moaned.
“i want to see your face,” i whispered.  we rearranged & i remembered
to open my eyes & there he was half-smiling, pupils dilated & forehead
beaded w/ sweat…
“do you like that?” he asked me.  “is that okay?”
i nodded.
we roughhoused, rolled around, tickled one another; he finally came &
god, i came twice.  he held me under the covers, kissed me.  i drifted
off, blissfully.

that was probably the first time i’d ever had sober, fully consensual
intercourse.  i had a lot of bad drunken sex before i let myself admit
that it wasn’t really what i wanted, that there were power dynamics
and substances and cultural norms at play, convincing me to go further
than i would have liked.  this guy was different.  he cared about me,
deeply.  he wanted my consent in and out of the bedroom.  he wanted me
to feel safe and comfortable with him.  our open dialogue, our respect
for one another, and his frequent check-ins later led to some really
kinky shit that we mutually enjoyed.  our interactions inspired me to
make consent an integral part of my life.  after all, consent is sexy!

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