Consent – why permission is not enough
Getting consent means getting permission, right?
And that’s not quite all there is to it.
Because permission only describes one dynamic of relating:
“I’m moving house this weekend and I need a car to transport my stuff. May I borrow yours?”
I want to take action, with something that’s yours, in order to benefit myself. So I ask your permission.
Seems pretty simple.
But there’s also another dynamic of relating. And – incredibly – we don’t actually have a word to describe it, even though it’s something we’re all familiar with in our everyday interactions.
“I’m moving house, and I need someone to help me. Will you bring your car and drive my stuff to my new place?”
Now I’m asking you to take action, with something that’s yours, in order to benefit me.
That’s different from asking for permission.
You might think: well we’re just talking about who’s driving the car, it’s no big deal.
But imagine we’re talking, instead, about something that involves touch. Maybe even intimate touch.
“May I feel you up?”
I’m getting consent to touch you the way I want, by asking your permission.
“Will you give me a full body massage?”
I’m asking if you’re willing to touch me the way I want to be touched.
Suddenly it becomes much more important that consent is not just about getting permission.
Because when you’re the one who’s doing something for me, I want to be sure we have a clear agreement about what’s going to happen (or not happen) so we can both be confident about it.
Want to expand how you create consent, beyond permission?
Just using these two questions:
“May I….?”, and “Will you…?”
is a great way to start building a clear agreement when there’s something you want for yourself.
And if you want to learn more about how to use and practice these skills check out coaching options with me.
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