Explicit Communication in the age of #MeToo

Listening and respecting the wishes of others is sexy

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Sydney Bardole

#MeToo has some men nervous about how they behave around women, and they should be. These movements exist to hold perps accountable for being pervs and to show solidarity through the tragically large number of people who have been sexually assaulted and harassed.

This problem is mostly due to a society built upon the foundations of toxic masculinity and misogyny.

Our president was elected after bragging about sexual assault. The USA Gymnastics Doctor Larry Nassar, who sexually assaulted more than 150 women, said he didn’t want to listen to his victims’ testimonies because it was too traumatizing for him. Boo-freaking-hoo.

Harvey Weinstein will continue to make all of the money. Roy Moore feels cheated. Al Franken was able to resign. Kevin Spacey, Louis C.K. and Aziz Ansari will most likely continue to be celebrated because they’re sorry.

All of that needs to stop, and we decide when. Men’s desires are not more important than women’s or queer folks’ desires. We need to embrace sex-positivity with open-communication arms.

Sexual education in this country needs to be reformed to include the socialization of sex, and a big part of socialization is communication.

Explicit communication does not mean dick pics

Explicit, sex-positive communication with a date or partner is about stating clearly and without doubts or confusion where you think the chemistry is headed.

“Hey I feel like kissing you,” and waiting for “Yeah, that’d be cool” should come before just going for it.

We need to be more comfortable talking about sexuality and our feelings, and we need to be more respectful of other people’s boundaries, limits and desires. Sometimes those desires include, “Give me some space, please.”

Some might view explicit communication in this fashion as not being romantic or being unable to read body language. Unfortunately, because of the power imbalance present in our society, sometimes women don’t feel safe rejecting men because they fear violent retaliation. If you aren’t sure if feelings are mutual, don’t steam things up; cool them down.

Give people their space, check in to make sure they’re comfortable with where things are at and where you think they’re going, and never impede a person’s ability—or perceived ability—to exit a situation if they want to.

 

Explicit communication is not about saying, “fuck, shit, ass, vagina, penis and tits;” it’s about making sure everyone is without a doubt on the same page. Additionally, it’s important to remember that communication is not communication if you’re not actively listening.

Active listening

When engaging in sex-positive, explicit communication, we need to practice active listening. Don’t think about that delicious bean, rice and cheese burrito with the green sauce from King Burrito and bob your head as though you really hear what the other person is saying. Actually internalize what they are telling you and respect their wishes.

If you need clarification about what another person wants or needs, ask politely to make sure you understand. At this point, respect, remember, learn and take action by acting appropriately according to how people want to be treated.

Holding hands, touchin’ butts and makin’ sex are all better if everyone involved is comfortable—if someone isn’t, apologize and respect their wishes. We are all individuals hoping to navigate another fucked up year with as little discomfort and as much happiness as possible.

Check in with others and respect them. Let’s be better. Communicating clearly and listening actively creates fuller, healthier and more premium relationships.

 

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