Everyone is different in the level in which they are comfortable in a social setting, therefore it is imperative to respect what everyone requires to enjoy their nights as much as possible.
Asking for consent before any physical touch is very important. Some people do not enjoy physical touch of any form, even as a greeting. Some people love and enjoy a high level of physical interaction. To navigate these ends of the spectrum and anyone in between, its as simple as asking the question. Any touch, at all, requires consent. From a touch on the shoulder or leg, to a kiss or a hug. This is simple and straightforward! you need only ask;
“may I hug you””
“may I put my arm around your shoulders?”
“may I place my hand here (point don’t touch)?”
If someone responds with
“I’d love that”
or any other enthusiastic consensual phrase, you may then do what it was that you asked, but only what you asked, this is not an invitation to go further.
Everyone has the irrefutable right to Bodily Autonomy and that must be respected. A way to respect this is by gaining enthusiastic consent before any form of touch. It is important to remember that any answer given that is not wholeheartedly and enthusiastically given is a NO. This includes; a yes from any person who is intoxicated by any substance, any person who is visibly or noticeably agitated or anxious, upset or crying, tired or disinterested. Do not touch these people as you may worsen the state in which they are in and impact their ability to calm down or feel better so as to remain in the social setting and improve their night and have a good time. Words are a powerful thing, use them if you wish to help someone feel better. If that person asks you to leave them be and do not approach them again unless they say you may at another time.
If someone is not interested in you and wishes to end a conversation, let them. This often isn’t a reflection on you or your character at all. There is no point for either of you to continue with the conversation. It’s a dead end.
When/if you would like to progress to another touch, you ask again specifically what you would like to do next. Simple right? People generally understand small slip ups like a touch to the arm, so just apologise and move on with the conversation. Again, if the person you are speaking to wishes to discontinue the conversation, respect their decisions and move on. There are always more people to talk to.
Consent and boundaries also play a role in conversation. Everyone has different levels of comfort when it comes to topics of conversation so start light. I don’t think I need to school anyone on what not to stay besides maybe one thing. If you are entering a poly dating scene, do not ask questions about orgies or threesomes or sexual questions that clearly and obviously take away from the very real and serious and LOVING relationships we have.
On the receiving end of greeting and advances, know your rights to complete bodily autonomy and whatever additional boundaries you may need in order to feel safe and comfortable. If you don’t like what anyone is doing or saying, speak up, if not directly to the person, to an organiser or someone who can bring it to the attention of the person whose behaviour is in question. The person may have absolutely no idea that they could be being offensive or making you feel uncomfortable, so open the dialogue if you can. We all need to learn somehow and yes some learn later than others as we all know.
You do however have the right to simply discontinue the conversation and walk away. We all have different strength and energy levels when it comes to these things and that is okay.
The best advice I can possibly give is; if you need them, set boundaries and open dialogue about your comfort levels and needs as soon as you can. This allows people who may have otherwise poor communication skills or even just different expectations, to have a chance to learn or amend their behaviour to what is appropriate to the environment they are in and the specific person they are communicating with. It can also make the experience more comfortable for you and can secure a safe, respectful, consensual conversation that allows you both to better enjoy yourself.
Remember to respect everyone’s boundaries, ask for clarification when needed, ask for consent for everything and communicate your needs.
If you are ever not sure of anything, ask.
Communication and Consent will be covered in more depth in Coming Posts so keep an eye out for those through subscribing.
Your favourite Fox signing off from a lovely new home in the country, where i can think clearly and freely and have time to answer any questions you may have and keep up with bringing you the best knowledge I can find! Don’t be afraid to send me any requests or questions you may have.
Love you all my Amazing people! Stay strong and get out there and live the life that suits you!