What does consent mean in sexuality? Why is it so difficult to decide whether we want to have an intimate relationship or not? And why do so many relationships break up because both are giving and no one is receiving?
Public discourse is usually preoccupied with whether a man deals with his female partner's consent or if she says no. Yes, this is a very important question, but there is much more to it.
I think the key moment of informed consent is touch.
Much depends on the purpose of the touch, whether it can be consciously separated or not. Whether the person touching is touching to satisfy his own desire or according to the needs of the other.
Does the person being touched want this? Or just lets it happen to please me?
It is very important to clarify this, because without accurately expressing our feelings, it is impossible to create a mutually satisfying intimate situation. It's very easy to get stuck in patterns of behavior where no one gets what they want while each seeks the other's pleasure.
Dr. Betty Martin has dedicated her entire life to clarifying this question and created the Wheel of Consent (WoC) model that teaches you to touch. At the level of feelings, it helps to make you aware that it doesn't matter if you take or accept a touch – or on the other side: I want it or let it happen.
I use this model in my work every day, which helps many people to experience and observe their own precise boundaries with others, so that they learn to express them without worry and with full confidence.