Consent Culture

In a consent culture, the individual is considered to be the best judge of their own wants and needs. Seeking clear consent to social interactions, especially those involving touch or sexual contact, is the expected norm. Because each adult is fully in charge of their own body and mind, it is a violation to try to force them into an activity against their will, or to forcibly prevent them from engaging in an activity they desire (so long as that activity does not do harm).

The idea of consent culture arose out of feminist and LGBTQ approaches to sexual ethics. Although it applies to personal freedom in all areas of life, it is particularly concerned with issues around sexuality and touch. Consent culture emphasizes that everyone has the right to enjoyable sex that they have enthusiastically consented to with full knowledge of the risks. It is sex-positive, sets boundaries, and promotes clear and shame-free communication about sex.

In a consent culture, everyone values enthusiastic consent. Initiators of contact have the primary responsibility for respectfully seeking consent, rather than it being the recipients’ responsibility to fend off predators and others who try to violate boundaries. Consent culture embraces the freedom to say yes and no, and the empathy to honor others’ desires and boundaries.

We are frequently asked about consent and sex work. There's absolutely nothing wrong with being a sex worker. Sex work is work. Sex is sacred, as long as it is fully consensual. Therefore fully consensual sex work is sacred.

Consent can be non-verbal, but when we are on the beginner slopes of consent culture, it’s great to practice getting verbal consent. Below are some helpful resources for understanding consent culture and building it in your community.

Recommended Pagan articles

Creating consent culture
The issues

Recommended general articles

Tools, resources, organisations