50 Hot Ways to Ask For Consent

Amazing images via my fantastic Twitter followers @KiaFlausch, @FuusPrivateArea, @Galia, and @LouJanae

In the wake of all the recent discourse around #MeToo, assault, and harassment, many questions have been raised about consent.

Some folks on social media shout that they don’t know how to interact romantically or sexually when there’s a perceived rape accusation around every corner, that they’re terrified to make a move now, or that – *melodramatic gasp* – the human race will surely die out as a result of this increased focus on consent.

Nope! The truth is, and has always been: asking for consent is neither optional nor difficult. And though some people whine that direct consent-asks “ruin the mood,” they’re really just demonstrating their own lack of finesse and creativity when they say that. There are dozens of smooth, fun, and hot ways to ask for consent.

I recruited some of my sex blogger friends – Taylor J Mace, Mx Nillin, Sugarcunt, Taryn, and Suz – to help me brainstorm 50 hot ways to ask for consent. I hope these give you some ideas!


1. “I’d really love to…”

2. “How would you like it if I…?”

3. “How would you feel if I…?”

4. “May I?”

5. “Can I please…?”

6. “What do you want?”

7. “Do you like…?”

8. “What would feel delicious to you right now?”

9. “It’d be so hot if…”

10. “Would it make you happy if I…?”

11. “Does that feel good? Do you want more?”

12. “Is this okay?”

13. “I can’t stop thinking about [kissing/touching/spanking] you…”

14. “How can I make you feel good?”

15. “Where would you love to be touched right now?”

16. “Have you ever…? Would you like to?”

17. “Lately I’m curious about…”

18. “What’s your favorite [sex position/way to get off/way to be kissed/etc.]?”

19. “How do you feel about…?”

20. “I bet you’d look gorgeous/hot/cute [kneeling in front of me/pinned against a wall/holding my leash]…”

21. “Right now I’m wondering [how you taste/what you sound like when you get spanked/how hard you like to be fucked/etc.]…”

22. “Could we try…?”

23. “What do you think about [spanking/swallowing/etc]…?”

24. “Where do you like to be touched?”

25. “Call me _________. What do you want me to call you?”

26. “I really love it when you…”

27. “How hard/rough do you want it?”

28. “I have this fantasy where… Would you want to try it?”

29. “What are you in the mood for right now?”

30. “There are so many things I want to do to/with you that I don’t know where to start. Thoughts?”

31. “If you want me to ____, you’re going to have to beg for it.”

32. “Show me how you want to be touched.”

33. “It doesn’t seem like you like this, should I stop?” (If they seem uncertain but are at least partially sending “this is good” signals)

34. “Do you want me to ____ before ___, or ____ and then ____?” (e.g. “have you suck my cock before I finger you, or should I tie you up and then spank you?”)

35. (Teasing tone) “Hmm, what should we get up to first/now/tonight?”

36. “We could do [thing the other person suggested], but I’m really fantasizing about ____…”

37. “I was thinking about buying/bringing a [type of sex toy]. Would you like to try that with me?”

38. “I would really like to ____ right now, [if that’s okay/how does that sound to you?/if you would enjoy that].”

39. “How do you want to get off?”

40. “Tell me what you’re fantasizing/thinking about.”

41. “What do you want to do to me right now?”

42. “You know what really turns me on?”

43. “So, I had this really hot dream the other night…”

44. “I found this sexual fantasies checklist; want to fill it out with me?”

45. “What are your limits/boundaries?”

46. “Are you ready for another [finger/spank/slap/flog]?”

47. “I have this [sex toy], can I show you how I like to use it?”

48. “I really wish I could [kiss/make out/sex act] with you right now.”

49. “I’m not interested in [X sex act] tonight, but I’d really love to…”

50. “Wow, you make me [wet/hard], would you want to [feel/taste]?”

What are your favorite ways to ask for consent?


Contributors to this post (ordered alphabetically), all of whom are rad as fuck and whose writing you should check out immediately:

Mx Nillin is a queer, non-binary, non-monogamous kinkster who blogs about sex, gender, relationships, and much more. Their “Mx Nillin Fucks” series of blog posts is a hilarious and fascinating adventure where they attempt to stick their girl cock into various inanimate objects, ranging from a warm apple pie to a pool noodle to a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and review the experience.

Sugarcunt is a non-binary, kinky, queer switch who is legitimately one of the kindest and funniest people I’ve ever met. Their review of misogynist instructional book “Jack’s Blowjob Lessons” is the stuff of legends, truly. They also recently wrote about how to enhance a hookup with pre-sex sexting and it’s excellent advice.

Suz is a queer femme who blogs about sex toys, dating, consent in the age of social media, and more. She’s one of the foremost Tinder experts I know, so her online-dating advice is top-notch and actionable. She also recently wrote about defining casual relationships for Elite Daily.

Taryn is an asexual and biromantic sex blogger who writes about sex toys, asexuality, and (usefully for anyone interested in getting into the blogging biz) SEO for sex bloggers. She does important work, busting myths about asexuality while also providing balanced, entertaining reviews of sex toys.

Taylor J Mace is a genderqueer trans boy who teaches informative workshops about kink and communication, makes super hot porn, and blogs about sex toys, kink, and more. They’re also really, really good at planning group sex, which we discussed with them on The Dildorks podcast.

Do I Have a Wink Kink?

As with many kinks, it began with the thought: “I just like it. I don’t think it’s a sex thing.”

I’ve always reacted with glee to being winked at. I suppose this is a not-uncommon reaction – they’re intended as an expression of flirtation, humor, or solidarity, after all, so they’re intended to create a positive feeling in the recipient. But the degree of my reaction seems… unusual. I’ve never quite been able to pin down why. Kinks, after all, are never simple.

As with many kinks, too, its unfolding turned me into a bit of a creep. Sometime around the end of 2015, I started occasionally mentioning it while out on first dates: “I have a thing about winks,” I’d ambiguously admit if the subject of flirtation or odd romantic tastes came up in conversation. Sometimes, if I got tipsy enough, I’d just ask outright, “Do you have a good wink?” The question caught my dates off-guard. They’d not considered this before. I see now that I was doing a thing akin to when foot fetishists get a little too curious about my shoe collection or ageplay fetishists call me a “little girl” without asking – i.e. things people do in service of their kinks that aren’t strictly okay without consent – and I feel bad about it. I wasn’t thinking of it as a kink then.

I went out for drinks once with someone I had strong feelings for, and inquired at some point about his wink. He was a shameless show-off of a man, theatrical and broad, so he launched into not only a wink demonstration but also a verbal lesson on how best to wink (“You gotta do it so fast that the other person almost doesn’t see it, and wonders, ‘Did he just wink at me?!'”). My burgeoning fixation crossed paths with my teaching and learning kinks, and the result was a whole lot of giggling and blushing.

That same friend once pounded me with my favorite dildo, mercilessly, masterfully, as hard as I wanted. I squeezed my eyes shut as I shouted my orgasm into the heavy, humid air. When I returned to earth, I opened my eyes to see my fuckbuddy staring at me intensely, a look of lusty concentration on his face – and then he fucking winked at me. I actually moaned. If I didn’t know it was a kink before that, it was that moment which solidified it.

Friends started sending me gifs or YouTube clips of good winks. On days when I felt sad or unloved, I’d put out a call for winks on Snapchat or Twitter, and watch my phone blow up with flirty babes.

I told a new beau he had a good wink, and he kissed me tenderly for long minutes, occasionally leaning back just enough to wink at me between kisses. He held my face still in his hands, so I could not look away. It was like a forced orgasm scene, but more intimate, and more “erotic tease” than “whole hog.” I died a little bit.

I went to a house party, and drank enough to get me into extra-giggly mode. Somehow, word of my penchant for winks got out around the party, and suddenly, random people were coming up to me just to wink at me and see my reaction. “Hey Kate,” they’d say, to get my attention, and then I’d be accosted with a razor-quick one-eyed straight shot of glee to my heart and genitals. It was a strange sensation, strangers and acquaintances knowing this little shortcut; it felt intense, almost boundary-crossing. I felt the way I do when someone spanks me who I don’t quiiite trust enough for that yet: breathless, shaken, turned on but undone. I wasn’t entirely sure I liked it.

One night I went on a first date at a sexy storytelling event, and afterward, the date and I stuck around to chat with my friends. One of them knowingly threw a wink my way, and when I had my predictable giggle/shriek/blush reaction, my pals explained to my date that I have a thing about winks. I was quick to add that it gets strange when people think they can just wink at me willy-nilly. “I’d rather they get my consent first,” I explained. “Ugh, that sounds so weird, doesn’t it?”

My date, an experienced kinkster, shook his head with solemnity. “No, it doesn’t.”

Fast forward a few weeks, and we were dating and fucking and falling in love. One day in bed, after sex, he lay beside me stroking my hair and staring into my eyes. “Do you think we’re at a point yet where I could wink at you?”

The thoughtfulness of the question touched me. I may have cried a little bit. And then a little more, laughingly, when I realized what a silly thing it was to cry about. But it was the gesture that had affected me: the caring about my comfort, the remembering of inane details, the wanting to make me happy but only on my terms.

I nodded. “Yeah, you can.” He did. I giggled, and my heart clenched up in that now-familiar way. But it was a world away from those stranger-winks at the party. Like the difference between oral sex from a random hookup and oral from a long-term partner who knows your body and your brain inside and out, there was a sense of intimacy and mastery to it that pulled me inside the moment, rather than making me want to nervously run away from it. Each wink from him was like a slap in the face – but the consensual, cathartic, kinky kind.

Now that that relationship has dissolved, actually the only piece of that man I still own is his wink. Once, at my request, he offered me the incentive of a short video of him winking if I finished a big project I was working on. Motivated anew, I drudged through it, and sent him the completed file. “Wink, please!”

The clip still sits in my Twitter DMs, haunting me if I scroll back far enough. It’s only three seconds long, but it’s three seconds of someone who loved me, showing me just how much he did.

Kinks are never simple.

5 Awkward But Effective Ways I’ve Initiated Sex

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Being a sex blogger, contrary to popular belief, isn’t all sensual sweet nothings and longing looks all the time. My approach to sex has never been what I would call “sexy.” I am, instead, a dorky goofball in the sack. And fortunately, that’s worked out pretty well for me.

I don’t know how “normal people” initiate sex. Maybe there’s no such thing as “normal people” when it comes to sexuality. There’s only what’s common, and what’s less common – and I’d wager that awkwardness in bed is far more common than most folks would admit.

Below are five actual things I’ve said in an attempt to get the sexy ball rolling. These are all lines that worked, i.e. happy and enthusiastic sex resulted soon thereafter. I share these not so much as prescriptive suggestions, but as a reminder that you can be silly and strange in bed and still be sexually successful (whatever that means to you). If you’re a weirdo and someone is excited to bang you, that excitement is partially because you’re a weirdo, I promise. Own that, use it, and don’t be ashamed of it!

“I kinda wanna cuddle you. Would that be weird?”

A lot of my sexual initiations begin with “I kinda wanna,” actually. It’s less anxiety-provoking for me than a cocksure proclamation of intent, but it still communicates desire. “Would that be weird?” is really just another way of asking “Would that be okay?” or “How would you feel about that?” – a.k.a. requesting consent.

I said this while lying in bed talking with someone who I found intensely attractive but whose feelings about me I wasn’t sure of. I wanted to do much more than cuddle him (and eventually we did), but I figured this request would be a gentle way to test the waters. He laughed and said, “No, that wouldn’t be weird!” and I breathed a sigh of relief as he pulled me in toward him, because I had a much better sense of where I stood.

“Hey, you should spank me, if you want to.”

“You should…” is definitely bolder than “Do you want to…?” or “I kind of want you to…” but I felt okay being bold in this case, because the person in question had already told me he enjoys spanking people. And we had been flirting a bit, so I ventured to guess he’d be open to spanking me.

Knowing this was a ballsy way to phrase my request, I opted to soften it by adding, “If you want to.” This builds consent into the statement. I probably wouldn’t use this approach with someone shy and accommodating, because I’d want to make sure they actually wanted to do it, rather than just agreeing out of a sense of obligation. But the person in this case was someone I believed would state his objections if he had any. Lucky for me, he was on-board.

“I wanna kiss you, but I’m nervous.”

I said this to someone who made me feel even shyer and awkward-er than I am normally. So much so, in fact, that my eyes were squeezed shut when I said this to him. Admitting my desire felt monumental, embarrassing, huge, even though I knew he wanted to kiss me too.

I often find that owning up to my anxiety – speaking it out loud – helps diffuse some of its power. Built into my confession is an unspoken request for validation. An understanding partner would respond with something like, “Aw, don’t be nervous. C’mere.” I think the person in question did indeed say something like that to me. But I can’t really remember; the excellent kisses have blurred my recollections.

“Would you like some boobs in your face?”

I said this to a friend while cuddling with her and another person in bed, and it ended up leading to my first threesome. She had mentioned that cuddling made her slightly uncomfortable because it’s so intimate, and that adding a sexual element can help mitigate that for her. So I offered up a solution that might make her feel better. All three of us knew we were headed toward threesome-town; this was my gentle way of setting that process into motion.

A lot of folks bristle at the thought of direct consent-asks – “Would you like…?” “May I…?” “Do you want me to…?” It’s true that these can sometimes be a bit clunky or unnatural, but I’ve never found that asking for consent “kills the moment,” no matter how artlessly it’s done. I’d always rather be too sure of my partner’s “yes” than not sure enough. Don’t let anyone shame you out of directness; it’s a good, useful, conscientious approach.

“I really liked going down on you and would love to do it again sometime.”

I sent this via Twitter DM, buried in a paragraph of spluttering explanations and excuses, because I was embarrassed by the intensity of my hunger for dat dick. This initiation probably would’ve been more effective if I’d just said it straight-up, instead of insulating it with clauses like “Sorry if this is crass and un-chill, but…” and “Feel free to ignore this if you think I’m being weird.” I already knew this guy liked having my mouth on his junk, so I didn’t need to be so cagey about what I wanted.

Enthusiasm is such a key part of an effective sexual initiation. In fact, I’d say that the basic recipe is “express enthusiasm + ask for consent.” Initiating sex isn’t just about asking, “Do you want to do this?” – it’s also about establishing, “…because I really, really do.”

 

What are your favorite ways to verbally initiate sex? What are the best initiations other people have said to you?

 

My Dream Partner (At Least, Right Now)

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He’s so damn smart. He knows all my big words and even teaches me some new ones. His eyes sparkle with intelligence. He gets all my references and odd turns of phrase because he’s whip-smart, quick and responsive.

He’s funny as hell. Makes me laugh so hard I can’t breathe. Comes up with dumb puns to impress me, and high-fives me when I pun back at him. His celebrity impressions are spot-on and he’ll valiantly try even ones he’s not confident about because he wants to make me laugh. Sometimes I say something that strikes him as so funny he can’t help but dissolve into giggles, gasping for air, eyes squeezed shut.

He smells amazingly good. I can nuzzle my nose into his chest, inhale deeply and immediately feel at home and comforted. He lends me a shirt he’s worn and I wear it all day and feel swaddled in sexiness and sweetness.

He’s a total kinky perv like me but his consent ethics trump everything and always come first. He’s into long conversations about likes and dislikes, and debriefs while we cuddle naked after trying something new. He values safewords, safe-signals, 1-to-10 scales, check-ins. He only wants to do things we’re both excited about.

He’s a gentle kisser and cuddler but a rough fuck. He pins me down, grips my wrists above my head, manipulates me like a doll. He growls things in my ear that make me dripping wet and then follows through on them. He values the clit, understands its fragility and what it likes, but can also pound the fuck out of my G-spot with fingers or cock or toys. He’s hungry to make me come, to challenge me and himself, to change things up, but still fall back on old faithfuls. He’s quick with a condom and a bottle of lube and can accomplish both while biting my neck, grinding a thigh against my pussy and announcing in salient detail what he’s about to do to me.

He’s tender and affectionate. An arm around my waist while we walk in public. Gently stroking my hair while we lie on the couch watching Netflix. Offering me an arm to cling to, like an old-fashioned gentleman. A quick kiss on the top of my head or the back of my shoulder whenever he feels like it. Long aimless cuddle sessions.

He’s romantically and sexually adventurous, but deeply rooted. He sees no reason we shouldn’t explore, diversify, experiment with other people, but his first priority is always making sure I feel safe, cared for and valued. His heart leans monogamous while his brain excitedly explores other avenues with me.

His creative vocation (whatever it is) wows me every time, even as it’s old hat to him. His talent is so singular and sexy it makes me want to swoon and kiss him hard. And in turn he’s in awe of my talents, respects and supports them, thinks I’m the cleverest Head Bitch in Charge.

He plays no games. He says what he means. He acts like he likes me, because he does. His word is dependable and binding; what he says he’ll do, he does.

He’s so cute, it boggles my mind. I look at him in a grey sleep T-shirt or a lavender button-down or a zipped leather jacket and just think about how much I want to kiss that sweet face or get it between my thighs. He still gives me butterflies whenever he walks into a room, or shows up wherever we’re meeting for a date.

His written communiqué is on point. His sexts are delicious. His romantic emails are worth printing out and rereading late at night. He writes me dorky notes on post-its stuck to the sides of takeout containers or the inside covers of borrowed books. He’s all about words of affirmation, like me, and the words we exchange are affirming as hell.

Mainly what I remember when we’re apart is how he makes me feel. That’s more consequential than how he looks, how he fucks, how he talks. The very thought of him makes me giggly and swoony, but I also feel safe and affirmed in his presence. He’s “similar enough to me to make me feel comfortable, and different enough to make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.” I want us to challenge and comfort and comfort and challenge each other for as long as we possibly can.

Interview: Kasuchi, my favorite fanfiction writer

The search for erotic media that actually turns you on is always a crapshoot. Some porn aligns with all your kinks but is poorly lit or sloppily shot. Some erotica is beautifully written but just doesn’t turn your crank, subject matter-wise. All too often, I settle for stuff that almost meets my needs, but falls short in one area or another. It’s a state of affairs to which I’ve become accustomed.

Of course, my pickiness makes it all the more exciting when I discover a piece of media that ticks all my boxes. And one such example is Kasuchi’s fanfiction. Like, all of it. Everything she writes.

The character development is on point. The prose is skilled and emotive. The voices are true to the shows she writes for. The sexy scenes are hott (yes, with two T’s). Y’all know I have high standards for fanfic, and Kasuchi is nonetheless my fave writer in the whole medium.

I bugged her for an interview, because I wanted to pick her brain about how she does what she does, and how she feels about fic as a whole. She was sweet enough to answer my fawning-fangirl questions, and what ensued was a super interesting chat about fiction, fandom, fucking, and consent (hell yeah!). I hope you like reading this as much as I like reading Kasuchi’s stories…

GJ: What, for you, is the appeal of writing fanfic? What do you get out of it?

Kasuchi: I LOVE writing fic. I’ve been doing it since I was 14, give or take? But I think what I started writing fic for was me wanting to see more of the thing I loved. I wanted more about what Hermione and Ron were doing with their lives. I wanted more about Mulder and Scully and all the moments we didn’t see on screen. I wanted more about what happened between episodes of The Office.

Nowadays, I think I write fic because I love the characters and want to expand and push and build them, see what happens under duress, see what happens (and feels natural, given what we know about who and how they are) when they’re put in non-comedic situations. I won’t also pretend some of it isn’t wish fulfillment; I want those two characters (any two characters, let’s be honest) to kiss, and to kiss passionately, right now, almost always.

GJ: What qualities/criteria do you consider important in good fanfic?

Kasuchi: Ah, that’s such a subjective question! Because I think everyone comes to media and their material with their own biases and prejudices and experiences, and those things color what we think of as being “good,” you know?

For me, I look for primarily three things:

(1) Dialogue — I need, NEED, the dialogue to be good, to be realistic, to be true to the characters. It doesn’t have to be exactly what the character would say in any given situation, because that’s not our job as fic writers. But, I have to believe that character would say that, meaning you (the author) have to do a lot of work to get me to that. If a generally goofy character is serious and responding with real gravitas, show me how and why that is before we get to that moment. Or, do that moment and then show me how we got there emotionally. Basically: is the dialogue naturalistic and natural to the character? If no, I click away.

(2) Narration has to flow — does the narration of the story match the tone? If we’ve got a story that’s about a character, like a vignette about their emotional growth, then the narration is everything, because it’s our (the readers’) glimpse into their inner monologue. If we’ve got a missing scene/moment kind of fic, then maybe the narration needs to get out of the way so that the dialogue can shine. For example, I’ve been writing characters who are detectives or generally observant; the narration tends to include notes about body language or expression changes, things I believe a good detective would notice and file away.

(3) Verisimilitude — Does this feel like real life? Since I’m not involved in many fantasy fandoms, this is really important. I love authors doing research on the setting of a show and including location details. Hell, I live in New York and write in details about Brooklyn into my fics about Brooklyn Nine-Nine all the time. I love that; it gives stories a sense of place and a better sense of how the fic itself fits into the larger world it resides in.

GJ: What qualities/criteria in a TV show (or other piece of media) make you want to write fanfic about it?

Kasuchi: Frankly: a lack of emotional resolution on some front. Shipping is the easiest one of these, but I wrote a lot of NCIS fic because the show was so rude to my fave character (Tony, and Tim to a lesser extent — and this was true of Psych, too) by always making him the butt of the joke or giving him the most depressing outcome and playing it for laughs. So I wrote fic to compensate for that, to make him more heroic or romantic or capable in a way that the show seemed determined to not do. That’s usually what gets me writing.

GJ: Do you have any tips for writing good sex scenes, in fanfic or fiction more generally?

Kasuchi: I’ve actually got a huge essay about this that I’ve been writing since, uh, last May (oops) but I think my best tip is: don’t do it before you’re ready. I was 16 when I read my first explicit sex scene, and I wrote my first one when I was 17. I didn’t even have my first kiss until I was 19! I wrote a lot of fade-to-black and sensual stuff before I felt more comfortable talking the mechanics of sex in fiction.

Now, from a more “authorly” perspective, I’d say: read romance novels. Read them voraciously. Read as many as you can. And not the category stuff (the Harlequins and Mills & Boon books), though adding some of those into your reading diet is good, too. Rather, read the single-issue stuff, the 250-page behemoths that usually have 3 scenes that are 20 pages of sex. Read those. Read erotica, the published stuff — Allison Tyler and Jaci Burton and Cathryn Fox and Lacey Alexander and Maya Banks and so many other women who have written — have BEEN writing — erotica for over a decade. Their work is there, and fanfiction is as much about the learning as it is the product. Go read the masters, go recreate their work. We all learn that way. I won’t pretend some of my early (unpublished? I honestly can’t remember) fic is me literally rewriting treatments of Mulder/Scully and Inuyasha/Kagome erotic fanfiction. Unless you’re having a lot of sex as research (which, hey, no shame in that game), the reading of novels/short stories is much easier.

The most important thing: do not use pornography as a template. Porn tends to be soulless and empty, with at least one of the parties mentally disengaged. Some pornography isn’t like this, but those studios are few and far between and often cater to queer markets. That’s fine, but if you want to show intimacy in your erotic scenes, I would urge reading written material and using pornography (or gifs of pornography) as inspiration rather than a guide.

GJ: Do you consciously choose to integrate enthusiastic consent into the sexy parts of your stories? (One of my favorite examples is that moment in “I’ll Know My Name As It’s Called Again” when Jake pulls at Amy’s pants and says “Yeah?” and she says “Yeah.” So perfect!) Do you think erotica writers have an obligation to include this element, or can erotica be “escapism” that doesn’t conform to real-life sexual rules?

Kasuchi: Oooh, this is a really big question. I think I’ll try to answer it by going backwards.

I don’t think that erotica has an obligation to include these moments of consent. But: I’d also differentiate between “types” of erotica.

I think published work and erotic fanfiction should include these moments. Here’s why: for the published stuff, art tends to serve as a bellweather and a measure of social acceptance and change. We can see this most obviously with drunk driving; thanks to television, the idea of driving home drunk is pretty anathema to most of the “millennial” set. In the same vein, what we consume (i.e. erotica, which when published is essentially “curated”) should serve as a way of normalizing consent. I know many people come to read erotica for different reasons, but no one is going to prevent young, curious teens from checking those books out from the library or sneaking them out of their parents’ rooms or buying them along with YA stuff from the bookstore. Hell, with the e-readers, it doesn’t even matter!

So in that sense, erotica becomes for women (and I use women here only because I think women are socialized to seek out reading material rather than audio-visual material, and because these books target women in turn) — most especially young women — a gateway to getting questions answered. To that end, yes, erotica needs to include consent. And, for similar reasons, we need to have those moments of enthusiastic consent written into our fanfiction. Fandom as an audience tends to skew young, I think; I’m 25 and I feel like the Old Lady in the Room, sometimes. So, knowing this, I think fic has a responsibility to be the change we want to see in the world. I know I learned a lot about the world, about relationships, about women and friendships and families from fanfiction and other writings. Knowing that, I tend to do a huge amount of research for stories because I want to pass on that gift of learning from fic onto the next “generation” of fandom.

I do think there’s a space for escapist erotica, though. Kinkmemes are explicitly that: wish-fulfillment. Same for Literotica; despite its classy title, it’s sorted by kink, and that’s important, because going in, you know what you’re getting yourself into. I won’t pretend there aren’t erotic stories that I go back to that I fully know are escapism. The delineating factor there is knowing what purpose that work serves. It titillates and it touches on taboo subjects and it is me going into the story aware of its hows and whys. That’s not the same as me reading a fic that pretends to be about my two faves having a romantic weekend away together, but then there being elements of non- and dub-con. Warnings exist for this reason. Kinkmemes exist for this reason. Consent should and must be a natural, normal part of sex, just like condom/prophylactic use is de rigeur in most pornographic films and even in published erotica and contemporary (and even some historical!) romances.

Do I consciously choose to integrate it into my stories? At first, no. But at this point, not doing so doesn’t feel like Jake Peralta (in this specific instance) — but I feel I’ll keep writing that into my more erotic work. I like it because it gives the reader a moment to take a breath before the rest of the story goes, and it gives the characters a moment to check in with each other, something that I think is hard to “choreography” into a love scene naturally as it progresses.

For the scene you reference specifically, Jake tugs at her waistband but doesn’t pull them off of Amy until she says yes. Consent is freely, enthusiastically, continuously given. And, I love the idea of one character giving the other an “out” because I think that’s just fair. Plus, it’s such a great character moment; the one giving the out is doing so out of affection and insecurity; in doing so, they’re saying, “It’s okay, we don’t have to go further than this.” And the other, in reaffirming their consent, is saying to the other, “You’re the one that I want.” In what universe is that anything but simultaneously hot and moving? Consent is 100% sexy.