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Do You Do the 4-Step Concent Cycle Dance?
The voices are getting louder and the conversations are getting deeper.
Discussions about consent ~ about what it is, what it means, how to make it work, what happens when it's stepped on, and how to be better with it, is getting bigger and more frequent. This is good.
We are still in its early stages, though.
We're just barely starting to figure out what all this means. It's as if we're trying to step out of the dark ages of personal agency into a new Enlightenment. It's still so damned dark, we're stumbling all over the place.
That's why conversations and policy creations about consent and agency range from awkward to deeply traumatic. This is hard stuff. Presenting that consent dynamics is simple or easy is telling ourselves a big stinking lie.
So if you're feeling like this is one giant confounding tangle, you're probably on the right track.
When consent is taught to kids and grownups, it's often presented as one singular act of yes/no. But in our guts we know that's not right. That's because there are four major steps of consent... (Oh, and mismatch or stumbles can happen at any point!)
Transmission: I transmit my desire or wish to you.
Comprehension: Do you really comprehend what I communicated to you? Does it actually match what I meant?
Decision: Accept, Reject, or Adjust? What do you want to do with what I transmitted to you?
Action: You behave in ways that's alight to your decision of acceptance, rejection or adjustment.
and this cycle loops continuously. Pair dancers do this with every single step.
I decide to swing you out that way, so I press my hand on your hip. You can decide if want that, and you choose to move, not move or counter-move. You make your move. And we start all over. I lead to the next step and you... Dancers move in a continual loop of pleasing consent cycle. In the end, one or both of us will be joyously tired and ask for a break. We step off the dance floor.... ceasing the co-created pleasure of dance for the moment.
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