This comic was originally posted on Everyday Feminism.
When we talk about consent, we don’t talk a lot about how consent changes in a relationship. People who have been partnered for 20 years sure as heck don’t negotiate sex and intimacy the same way that people who have met just do, and it would be ridiculous to suggest that they should. As our relationships change, we can use consent activities to build a structure that lets us make assumptions about what the other person wants.
So consent castles are pretty much my favourite thing. It’s how I talk about consent as being the root of a stable, trusting relationship. I like consent castles because they make consent a collaborative exercise – you have to build it together, and then you can live in a giant, beautiful (kinky/cuddly/furry/whatever) castle together. Who doesn’t want a great castle?
I love this! I wanna add that the foundation of your consent castle is everyone feeling/being safe enough to say “no”. The reason long-together people can skip some parts of consent conversations before engaging is that they’ve already made it okay for somone to initiate an ordinary routine and then be told, “nah, I don’t want to today” without it being A Big Scary Deal for everyone.
Even if you’ve gotten pretty good at knowing what your partner likes, there will be times when you think they’re interested but they’re not, and while asking if you’re unsure is still always the best way, in a well-built consent castle your partner can say “nah” and you can both go about your day without either of you falling apart.
This is beautiful and perfect and I’m going to use this metaphor forever for consent. Eeee.