Calia’s Guide to Consent aims to assist you in your exploration of human contact. It gives protocols to follow and easy escape routes on this journey towards discovery and knowledge of oneself and better communication.By practicing consent and appreciating the resulting honesty and transparency, we can greatly improve our interpersonal relationships: not only because we learn more about ourselves, our needs, our limits, and our abilities; but also because we learn to communicate them.
Practicing consent is making sure that everyone, at all times, is perfectly comfortable with what is happening; that you have the right kind of FIRES.
I take care of myself
I listen and respect myself
“How am I feeling right now?”
Taking responsibility for your well-being is above all to take the trouble to listen to yourself, to ask yourself questions, to check how you really feel and, of course, to respect yourself. Then just act on it!
How do you feel right now?
Is everything awesome? Great, so take a deep breath and savor the moment and the sensations!
Start by identifying what is wrong and work to fix it! Is it the person, the position, the movement, the moment, the intention, the whole thing? Once the problem is identified, speak up, either physically or verbally, communicate your discomfort and propose a solution.
Start by identifying what is missing and ask for it (see the 2nd point)!
Ask yourself as often as possible about how you feel and make sure the answer is always “Wonderful!”.
I ask for what I want
with precision, but without pressure
(need, strategy, intention)
“I need… so I would like… What do you think?”Start by identifying what need you are looking to meet, and then what would be the strategy you would prefer to use to meet that need. You can ask for anything (as long as it’s within the limits) to anyone, as long as it’s done:
- With precision :
- – What kind of cuddle?
- – What part of the body?
- – Where in the room?
- – With who?
- – Which position?
- – For how long?
- But without pressure :
- DON’T DO ANYTHING until you get a YES.
- Also, don’t put pressure on the other person with your body language or intonation; you want the person to feel comfortable saying no if they need to say no.
I appreciate others’ responses
If it’s not the right kind of FIRES, forget it
“Thank you for taking care of yourself!”Did the person say NO? That’s wonderful! This means that this person has succeeded in taking care of themselves; because by saying NO to you, they said YES to themselves! And if this person can actually take care of themselves, that means that if one day they say YES, it will be a real YES! No pretending, no discomfort, no remorse! Anyway, if they had told you YES, when they wanted to say NO, the hug just wouldn’t have felt good!
If the person answers YES, wonderful! But remember that this is only a yes for what you have asked, nothing more (just because the person said YES to a pat on the arm does not mean that you have the green light to also stroke their shoulder, back, hair, etc.) and above all keep in mind that they can change their mind at any time!
I give honest answers
because I took the time to think about it
“No, thank you.”
“I wanna try.”
“Oh YES, please!”
However, if you don’t feel 100% enthusiastic about the idea, no matter what the request is or who is asking, you have the right, even the duty, to say “NO, thank you”.
Oh, and “No” is a complete sentence! So you don’t need to add any reasons or explanations, you can just say “No”.
At Calia, we trust that everyone is able to (or will be helped to) deal with their own feelings and that no one will feel insulted or hurt for being rejected (see the 3rd point).
If you find yourself hesitating between a yes and a no, you will notice that there are different types of hesitation, and often just identifying which type it is helps to know the answer.
Here are the 3 main types of hesitation:
If part of you feels like saying NO, but the other part tries to convince you to say YES (that would be nicer, that’s what I’m here for, what will the others think, I said that I would say yes, etc), then you really should say NO!
- Wrong context:
If you are excited about the general idea, but there is one or a few details that bother you, you can respond with a “No, but…” and suggest an alternative or some modifications. That’s when the negotiation can begin.
- Unknown boundaries:
If you are hesitant because in reality you just don’t know whether you would like what was offered or not because you have never tried it; it’s normal. So instead, ask yourself if you would like to try it or not. If the idea doesn’t interest you that much; say no. If the idea sounds interesting and you would like to just try it out; answer with a “Yes, I would like to try it.”. You’ll see, it even makes it easier for you and the other to keep in mind that a change of mind can happen at any time. So it becomes even easier to quit if you end up not liking it.