For a post-#MeToo world: 'The Field Guide to Consent'

Sex communication expert, and co-founder of the groundbreaking Cuddle Party, Marcia Baczynski has bravely taken on the task of teaching folks -- primarily women -- how to handle consent in a post-#MeToo world with her newly-published Field Guide to Consent.

In her words:

Since #metoo started, so many people have mentioned to me that they don't know what to do, they feel frozen, or they're worried they're not doing consent "right."

Or they just don't know how to make consent conversations sexy or hot.

So I made you a thing!

This is a free download, with loads of tips on what to say, how to use your voice and body language to make it sexy, and tons of useful distinctions and myth-busting. There's a workbook and an audio, and it's completely free.

I downloaded it myself today and, while I haven't soaked up all the materials yet, I can already see that it's an invaluable resource. Read the rest

App to record sexual consent in the blockchain will be used to discredit sexual assault survivors

LegalFling is a Dutch app that's supposed to protect partners in sexual liaisons from miscommunication by recording both parties' consent to sexual activity in an indelible, public blockchain entry. Read the rest

Complying with the new EU data protection directive requires a top-to-bottom redo of the adtech industry

Back in 2016, the EU passed the General Data Protection Regulation, a far-reaching set of rules to protect the personal information and privacy of Europeans that takes effect this coming May. Read the rest

Rush Limbaugh complains about nonconsensual sex being called rape

Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh had thoughts yesterday on the problems faced by Donald Trump, whose campaign for president is falling apart after a recording emerged of him boasting about sexually assaulting women. Read the rest

”Sexual microaggressions” complicate our understanding of rape

In a great piece for Fusion from last month, Lux Alptraum explores the ways in which the distinctions between rape and consensual sex aren’t always so clear cut in practice. Read the rest

Cartoon genitals star in consent awareness campaign

These PSAs from Project Consent (a non-profit that “aims to combat and deconstruct rape culture”) star anthropomorphic body parts. Read the rest

The millennials are all right, and so are their sex games

The sneering condescension and pearl-clutching panic about young people's relationship to sex and technology willfully misses the fruits of an impressive creative movement.

Edgy sex games highlight intimacy, not conquest

Unconventional titles that focus on consent, care, and collaboration offer a softer future—even if the spanking is very, very hard.

Game illustrates sexual consent using skin contact as the controller

Consent can be an uncomfortable subject, an often-complex and personal form of negotiation that people rarely get a chance to practice outside the moments that precede sexual encounters. Allison Cole, Jessica Rose Marcotte and Zachary Miller of Tweed Couch Games want to help change that with In Tune, an interactive experience that asks people to "negotiate and communicate their own physical boundaries with a partner using skin-to-skin contact as the main controller of the game."

Players form teams of two with someone they trust and don "consent bracelets" that register skin contact. During the game, they're presented with a series of two-person poses that involve varying levels of touching, and must talk to their partner about what which ones they want to emulate, and which ones they want to skip.

Consent is never implicit, and can never be given or taken by only one person. Saying yes to one pose or embrace doesn't carry over to the next one, just like consent doesn't carry over between different sex acts and encounters. It's worth checking out the rules of play for In Tune, which are useful not only for the purposes of the game, but also life:

Remember: Never touch someone without their consistent, enthusiastic and freely given consent.

Consent is not a static or stagnant thing; it is a continuing negotiation of comfort levels and boundaries.

Consent is not a single action; it is a complicated continuation of actions.

Consent can evolve, can be revoked and can never be taken from you.

Read the rest

A big win for consent, privacy, and genome data

The family of Henrietta Lacks — a woman whose cervical cancer cells were harvested and used in scientific research for decades without her knowledge or consent — will now play a role in deciding who has access to the Lacks' cell genome data, and for what purposes. There are loopholes in the new system. For instance, the agreement only applies to scientists who receive National Institutes of Health funding. And the genome of the cells has been sequenced so many times, at this point, that anybody who wasn't NIH funded and didn't want to voluntarily abide by the agreement essentially wouldn't have to.

But it is a big step forward, both for the Lacks family (whose own genetic information is contained in those genome sequences) and for the idea that human genetic information belongs to the people it comes from — not to whoever happens to sequence it.

The happy selfie posted here features NIH director Francis Collins posing with some of Henrietta Lacks' descendants after the agreement was announced. Read the rest