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.
• I must take care of myself
Taking responsibility for our own well-being is to, above all, be honest with ourselves and to really identify what we do or do not want. If I want to say yes, I have to say YES. If I want to say no, I have to say NO. If I do not know, I have two choices: to say NO (if in doubt, abstain!) or to say “I would like to try”. Try it, and if you’re not 100% comfortable, even if it’s just 3 seconds later, just say “No, thanks, that’s enough for me” and stop. If it’s been 10 minutes and all of a sudden, you’re tired of it, just say “Thank you, that’s enough for me”.
Ask yourself as often as you can about how you feel and make sure the answer is always “Fantastic! “.
• I can ask, as long as…
You can ask anything (as long as it’s within the Code of Conduct) to anyone.
- 1. Be specific :
- – What kind of cuddle?
- – What part of the body?
- – Where in the room?
- – For how long?
- 2. Wait for the answer in a neutral way :
- DO NOT do anything until you have a YES.
- Do not 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.
- 3. Go step by step :
- Just because someone said YES to a caress on the arm, you do not have a green light to also caress the shoulder, the back, the hair, etc. (unless you’ve been given carte blanche).
• I am grateful for honest answers
The person said NO? That’s wonderful! This means that this person is taking care of themself; because by saying NO to you, they said YES to themself! And if this person can actually take care of themself, it means that if one day they say YES, it will be a real YES! No pretending, no discomfort, no remorse! Moreover, if they had said YES, when they really wanted to say NO, the hug would not have been that nice!
• I have the right to say NO
When asked or suggested something, please wait at least 5 seconds before answering and take this time to really ask yourself the question! Try to visualize how it would be if you said yes; would it be nice or not really? If the idea sounds great, then say YES. However, if you do not feel 100% enthusiastic about the idea, regardless of the request or the person asking, you have the right, even the duty, to say “NO, thank you”. Oh, and “No” is a complete sentence! You do not need to add any reasons or explanations, you can simply say “No, thank you”. During a cuddle therapy session or workshop, we trust that everyone is able to manage their own feelings and that no one will feel insulted or hurt at being rejected (see the previous rule).
• I have the right to change my mind
At any time, and for whatever reason, you have the right to change your mind. You said YES to a particular cuddle, but now you want to stop or change the cuddle? Whether it’s 20 minutes, 5 minutes or even 1 second later, just say “Thank you, that’s enough for me”! You said NO and now you have changed your mind and would like to try? Well, go ahead and ask (see the second rule)!