We are so pleased to be speaking with Kitty Stryker -- feminist writer, queer activist, and author of Ask: Building Consent Culture. In this episode we talk about how consent affects our lives outside the bedroom as well as the difficult task of holding space for people who have been called out on boundary violations. You can find more about Kitty and her writing at ConsentCulture.com.
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Jase: On this episode of the Multiamory podcast, we're talking about consent and consent culture with Kitty Stryker. We'll be covering a lot of different topics about this, such as ways that consent affects our lives that's not just about sex, we're talking about how to create safe spaces or important spaces for people who have violated boundaries to learn from those experiences, and things about how to make asking for consent real real sexy. It's a really cool conversation with Kitty Stryker about all of this.
Dedeker: It's really cool that now we've had two Kittys on the show. I think we need a third.
Emily: We have Kittys coming in and out.
Jase: If any of you have a good guest suggestion. Just a little bit about Kitty, Kitty Stryker is a feminist writer, a queer activist and a rising authority on developing a consent culture in alternative communities. She is the founder of consentculture.com a website that's been running for over four years, and is a hub for LGBT, kinky, poly people looking for sex critical approach to relationships. Her first book is called Ask: Building Consent Culture which is an anthology; a collection of different essays from different perspectives about consent that just came out in October. You can pick that up. She's also doing a tour, a book tour, in March about that.
Dedeker: In the Pacific Northwest. This was a fantastic interview, I absolutely loved it. I'm really excited for our listeners to listen to it. We really get into some important topics beyond just the surface level of like what is consent? How do you ask for consent? Why is it important? Getting more into those gradations and then into the more tricky scenarios that is really valuable.
Emily: What a cool lady, super awesome.
Jase: Especially right now with all this surface level talk about consent in the media, it is nice to have an opportunity to really get down into the nitty gritty of it. With that, let's get to the interview.
Dedeker: All right, we are here with Kitty Stryker. Thank you so much for being with us today Kitty--
Emily: Welcome Kitty.
Kitty Stryker: Thanks for having me.
Dedeker: Your book introduces us to the concept of a consent culture, is what you call it, rather than focusing on consent itself as a standalone concept. Many of us are used to thinking of consent as something that's strictly associated with sexual interaction. I'm curious to know how does the bigger context of consent or the bigger context of a lack of consent affect our daily lives outside of the bedroom?
Kitty: It’s almost impossible for us to identify every way that consent impacts us in our day-to-day interactions. Thinking about when we're in line at the grocery store and someone starts a conversation and how you respond to that, is a consent dance of whether or not you want to interact. Hugging a stranger that you've just met at a party is a consent conversation, even if that conversation is just the body language.
I think that there is these little ways in which it impacts in a very personal way, then you have to think or I think you have to think further--
--about things like dealing with the medical industry, or dealing with the prison industrial complex, and the ways in which people are allowed or not allowed to have autonomy over their bodies, over the decisions that they make and why, like when is it that we decide that they do get to have autonomy and when do we decide that they don't.
Jase: That's such an interesting question. Obviously, a lot of people lately have been writing about this subject, there's been a lot of talk online about it and in person discussion groups and all of that. I think you really touched on an interesting part of it there, which is that the idea that consent can be a little bit like a dance where it depends on the social situation. Like when I go to see my doctor, does he or she need to ask for my consent to touch me to do a physical examination something like that.
It's like or is that implicit in that situation already and then obviously it comes out a lot of times with the ways that we raise our kids and stuff like that. Like how much autonomy is a kid allowed to have over what they do, versus what do they just have to do because their parents say so. I do think that’s such an interesting conversation and all of that.
Kitty: Well, also what about consent as it relates to your doctor giving you advice that you may not have asked for, or about something you didn't ask for advice around. As a fat activist, that's something that I deal with all the time where I have doctors who volunteer advice that I did not request. As somebody who has dealt with eating disorders my whole life, that can actually be really traumatic. It's very important for me to establish my lack of consent very clearly and explicitly, so that there's that sense of you may choose to keep going but I’m making it very clear that that is not wanted and it may impact my decision in whether or not I see you again as my doctor.
A lot of what we're talking about consent now, is about physical consent in physical touch. That's an important aspect of it absolutely, but it's only it's a piece of the puzzle. And usually, that piece has happened after a bunch of other pieces have already been assumed or negotiated whether well or badly that are non-verbal and aren’t physical touch at all. Little things like is someone leaning into the conversation or are they leaning away, are they looking around like they're trying to escape, those are indications of a lack of consent that we aren't really taught to think about or pay attention to.
Dedeker: Well, that's so interesting to talk about it within a medical context, Emily, it reminds me of your doctor offering advice about you having children [laughs].
Emily: I was just going to say that. A doctor--
Dedeker: That's very common.
Emily: Yes, when a woman reaches a certain age even like I'm turning 30 next year and saying, "Well, you should start thinking about having children because once you reach 35 it becomes a geriatric pregnancy." They call it that, that's the medical term for it, it's a geriatric pregnancy when you get over 35 and like, "We'll start thinking about you having kids after the time." Just as though like that's obviously something that I would want to do because I’m at a certain age.
Dedeker: Can we call a geriatric erection also if it's after the age of 35? That would be great.
Emily: Let's fucking absolutely do that. At 35 you’re geriatric across the board regardless of your sex.
Jase: Everything I do now is geriatric.
Dedeker: I know, now you’re a geriatric,
Jase: I am geriatric already.
Emily: You are geriatric, sorry Jase.
Jase: Welcome to this geriatric podcast--
Dedeker: Sorry, I wasn't expecting this is where we were going to go right off the gate.
Jase: What was it? You mentioned something there about -- right, I was thinking about the concept of consent for advice; that unwanted advice, it is an interesting thing where there's other factors that play there. Where it's one thing to get unsolicited advice from your parents or just from a friend, versus getting unsolicited advice from a medical professional who is supposed to be in this position of power to dole out authoritative information in a way that you wouldn't expect another lay person. If some random person offers you advice on having children or on exercising it's like, "Well, whatever, who the fuck are you? I don't care."But when there is that power dynamic of going to a doctor, who's supposed to be an expert, it does add another layer to it.
Kitty: Then isn't that an abuse of that power dynamic, to make the decision that we are having this conversation about children, we're having a conversation about nutrition whether you ask for it or not. If anything, I expect even more to be asked for my permission when it comes to my doctor. I'm paying them to do a very specific service. As someone who's been a sex worker, if I'm going to veer from the path, we need to have a conversation about that because it is a paid service. I can't have a client who's like, "I want to see you for a pegging," and I say, "Or maybe I actually string you to the wall and beat you for a while. How about that?" I don't get to make that decision, even though I am a professional.
Dedeker: It’s my professional opinion, you look like you could use that.
Kitty: I think it's something that a professional should ask and be like, "I think maybe this is a conversation that you might want to think about, is it something you want to talk about now? And if they say no, you write down your file and you say, "We're not touching that."
Jase: Something else that you mentioned that is worth pointing out in that example of going to your doctor, and that you said, based on what kind of unsolicited advice or how you are about seeking my consent will determine whether or not I'm going to come back to you, whether I'm going to keep you as my medical practitioner or something like that. I think that actually is a really great analogy for something that we talk about a lot on this show, which is the difference between rules and boundaries; that a boundary is something that you can enforce yourself. That example of any service that we're paying for, a boundary is cool, you've crossed this boundary for me, I'm going to take my business somewhere else. That is the power that we have, rather than staying in that situation and complaining over and over that this person is doing this rather than respecting ourselves enough to enforce that--
Kitty: To interject for a second, also recognizing that there is a privilege to be able to do that. People who are on Medicare, for example, do not get to make that choice. I think that's also important is that there is a dynamic of coercion that comes from oppression, particularly under capitalism. That's a side note, I just feel like it's important to say.
Emily: No that is very important to say.
Dedeker: No, it’s very important thank you.
Emily: Regarding sexual and consent education, we are all parts of different subgroups here among all of us. But with that, does consent education need to change for one group versus the other? Should consents be a different conversation for someone who is polyamorous versus someone who's a swinger, versus someone who's monogamous, or do all of the concepts wink and flow together? Should those be different things or should they just be similar common knowledge?
Kitty: I think that they're all pretty similar really. I do think that when it comes to things like polyamory and swinging, there is a 201, 301 class, but I think the 101 is the same across the board. It's like as it gets more complex, like obviously if you're in a polyamorous relationship, you're not just thinking about the consent between you and one other person but other people, your dynamic, as a whole group, as well as each pairing or try out or whatever within the group.
Those all have different dynamics and they have different consent considerations which you may not have with monogamy per se, though you would probably do when it comes to your friends and your negotiation about your family and your negotiation around work. Those concepts are still there, I think that maybe people hear it slightly differently when they're dealing with a monogamous relationship.
Emily: Do you see consent being violated more frequently in certain cultures than others, lke it doesn't occur more often when people aren't like thinking broadly about others? If, for example, when you have to think about people in the polyamorous community and thinking about other partners or in swinging, do you think the consent is violated less often than maybe in a community of just well it's me and you and that's it?
Kitty: I think it's just talked about differently. In my experience doing consent culture workshops, it’s pretty much an issue across the board. The way that people talk about it is different depending on the community. It's a big issue in all of them, it's as much of an issue in poly as it is in monogamy but with different stakes maybe or different cues. I think the language is very different. I found that-- maybe that's more of a question of people who think about and talk about consent whether they're monogamous or not, and people who don't really think about it whether they're monogamous or not. Because there's definitely plenty of both in both communities.
I think that people who do think about consent, sometimes the issues that I've had in those communities have been more insidious in that they're better at covering up their consent violations. Because they have a language and they frame it very well so that a consent violation doesn't look like or sound like a consent violation.
Jase: Certainly, I think that it's also tricky too because in our society, we did an episode a little while ago talking about cultural intelligence, about just different cultural differences in other countries and things like that, something that I've found I've learned more and more as I've spent more time in other countries, is just how very much the legalistic way of approaching things in being very litigious as our culture is in the United States, that how much that affects also all of our thinking on a day-to-day basis in a way that I wasn't even aware of as much before, this is definitely comes up with consent.
Because we can get into this idea that consent is about-- essentially like a legal issue, like a guilty or not, versus just am I doing this conversation or this relationship in a better way that's making people more comfortable? We tend to think about it more legalistically, and I think that's what you're talking about is like, "Am I phrasing things a certain way or finding the edge to skirt along?", that you can still not be encouraging a strong enthusiastic "Hell yes" kind of consent while still feeling like, "But I’m not violating this line that I've drawn."
Kitty: There's lots of things that are legal to do that or not ethical or moral to do [laughs], but they're still legal. People get bogged down a lot and they're, "Is it legal or not?" Rather than like, "Is this a nice thing to do? Is this a respectful thing to do? Am I focusing on this other person's autonomy? Am I focusing on my autonomy?" I think that we would do better to think more about that stuff. Because a really good example is like in the UK, where I lived for a while, every time you went to a sex party, everybody was drunk or on drugs. That was base normal.
Coming from San Francisco, that was completely surreal to me because we were very much like, "No you don't make these things together ever, it's so wrong." It really informed a lot of my understanding about consent because I was in a different culture and I had to think, "Okay, to demand that people in this culture follow my expectations coming from San Francisco would be coercive of me. Instead, how do I adapt to this scenario? How do I find the balance between what's comfortable and safe for them, and what’s comfortable and safe for me?"
There's less of that sense of like, "Well, am I going to get arrested?" and more of a sense of like, "Am I going to be ashamed of myself later?" There’s much more individual rather than legal or cultural.
Dedeker: I think that's so interesting because I think that that way of looking at things that we often do in America, a very black and white, very legalistic, that is so unfortunate that it also trickles down to the way that we talk about violations that all, that it boils down to like, "Is there any evidence, is there other receipts?" Would this essentially that I see a lot of victims, especially of assault or anybody whose experienced egregious boundary violations or things like that, that that's where the mind immediately goes to is like, "Do I have admissible evidence essentially?"
Not about what are my feelings about it, what are maybe the other person's feelings about it, what was the whole context that we're i? You said what could be done differently next time so that everybody feels like a better human being, that it does come down to this just hard edge like as though we're going to go to a court of law essentially.
Kitty: I don't think that that serves people who have crossed other people's boundaries either. Because what I see happening with them is that they feel like they are either guilty or innocent and there is no in between, there's no, "I fucked up." Either they deserve to be banished from the community because they are a bad and evil person, or they don't and they need to defend themselves. Not only is that bad for victims, it's bad for abusers. It doesn't encourage them to learn and grow at all, it encourages them to isolate victims, even more, in order to save face.
The article I'm working on right now, is like so your friend’s been accused of abuse, how do you handle that, what do you do? It's something that I find myself being like, "Oh God, I'm going to write down my practices and I'm going to get a lot of shit for it." Because on both sides, people are going to be like, "But no, it has to be the simple binary, otherwise how do we know who is good and who is evil?" I'm like, "Well, we're all evil and we all have the capability of being good. Let's start with that and let's try to be better rather than assume that what we are isn't it."
Dedeker: If it’s okay with you guys, I want to hop down to this question because it seems relevant now, which is that I noticed that you did recently write about taking on the work of creating a space for people who have been called out on boundary violations. I do want to talk more about what that looks like. Because obviously what we see now is we see everything that's happening on this big media outrage Weinstein scale, we see that that, of course, there's always going to be a harsh binary that ends up getting produced there.
I'm wondering, what does this look like on the personal scale, what does this look like on the day-to-day scale, when we know somebody who's violated a boundary, when we ourselves know that we violated a boundary, what is holding that space and what do those conversations look like do you think?
Kitty: One of the difficulties is that it depends, it's different from person to person, there is no one size fits all strategy that is going to work for every person in every circumstance. The way that I tend to phrase it is, "Try to do the best you can with the information that you have and the resources that you have available." What that looks like is different from person to person.
I tend to encourage centering the victim and their experience, and recognizing that even if you and they have different ideas of what happened, they have suffered harm, period. That's enough. It's enough that they feel they've suffered harm, you don't need facts, you don't need--because, again, if you're taking away the whole idea of a court of law, then the facts don't matter what matters is the result. As a person who cares about other people in your community, that's what you want to fix, that's what you want to help; is like, "How do I help you feel safe right now? And how do I help make sure that this thing doesn't happen again?"
If those are the ways in which you deal with community accountability, again, it looks different from person to person, many victims do not want to be a part of their abuser's healing process, I don't think they should have to be. In a lot of ways, I don't think that benefits them and can help perpetrate that power dynamic of abuser victim. I think it's something the community should absolutely do.
I think that the community's responsibility is to say, "How do we help encourage you to do things better? Does that mean that we've noticed that this is a trend where you drink too much and then you cross people's boundaries? Do we then support you by not letting you drink this much? Friendly but firmly sending you out of a party when it looks like that's what you're determined to do. Is it a situation where when you're on your own you become overly bold, do we need to make sure that you're not alone for a while?"
I'm a big fan of making people write essays because that’s the kind of person I am. I used to run [unintelligible 00:24:38] London, and people who had violated the boundary there, we would have them write an essay stating what they had done that was against the rules, what they should have done instead, what they would do better next time and how they are going to make up for their impact, how they were going to take care of their carbon footprint.
Sometimes, we'd have people who'd go through that process be like, "Actually I'm not ready to be at the sex party," I’m like, "Great, awesome, I'm so glad that we could help you figure that out. No problem, it's not for everybody, you might not be ready for it." And not making that feel like you're less evolved than us, but like, "Good, knowing more about yourself is always important and always valid."
I also have to recognize that in order to hold that space for people who have been accused of hurting people, often people close to me, it involves a lot of fierce compassion that many people aren’t capable of having and that's totally okay. I hope to help teach other people how to hold that position, if that's something they feel they want to do. I don't think it's something anyone could ever demand from others; it's a choice that you have to make. For me, I generally get called in to be the educator for people who have been accused of crossing boundaries.
If they are privileged, I tell them that they have to buy me a group-hop certificate in exchange for me doing this work with them. It's not expensive, it's not out of reach, but there is an acknowledgement that this is emotional labor that I'm doing. I'm getting the practical benefit out of it. That helps me feel like it's something I'm going to need to do.
Emily: That’s so impressive, that you do that. Just because it is so many people nowadays are like, "This person's an ass hole, they're done, I'm striking them off my list of people that I ever want to be involved with." The fact that you're creating a space for those that have done that potentially and who need to learn from it, that's really amazing and I don't think there's a lot of that out there so good on you, cheers.
Kitty: Sometimes they do need to be banished, there are definitely some people where the offenses are grievous enough and consistent enough and they're privileged enough to believe that there's no way of holding them accountable other than complete removal. Being a part of queer community, I see this as a way for people to hurt each other horizontally. I want to try to help people find a way around that, so that they can have that accountability, they can have that ownership but also--
Kitty: --we’re not isolating people that need that community, because I don't think that's sustainable. Usually, when I do a consent workshop I say, "Hey, if I threw out everyone in this consent workshop who had violated someone's consent at some point during their life, none of us would be here including me [chuckles]." We've all done it and we've done it to different extents, we've done it in different ways, we may or may not even know that we've done it. But recognizing that it's not some scary other but all of us, all the time who are doing this, I think helps ground me in realizing that it's work that we all have to do.
Jase: Those definitely are all conversations that I've seen come up a lot both with us running our private Facebook group that we have, but then also with other people I know who run different in person discussion groups when those things come up of-- what do we do to try to support everyone in this, or do we just ban people, and seeing the different ways that different groups have decided to do that.
Kitty: I think that it takes lots of strategies. I'm an anarchist, I believe multiple strategies is what works. You might be a part of community that doesn't follow a strategy that feels safe for you and it's okay to leave that community or to try to change that strategy. I'm constantly seeking for a more sustainable way of talking about consent and dealing with consent violations.
Jase: If it’s okay for me to change directions a little bit, I wanted to ask, have you had any experience actually teaching consent or teaching about consent to groups who are not already into it? In other words, a lot of the conversations that I've been part of in different polyamory discussion groups and a lot of the groups that I'm involved with online already value consent. Maybe they'll argue about what it really means or how to do it or some of these finer points,
but everyone is going in with the assumption that this is an important thing for us to be thinking about. I was curious if you've had any experience teaching about this to groups who haven't already bought into the idea that it's even important. Because it seems to me like those are some of the most valuable conversations we could be having, but it's like how do you get-- I'm thinking high schoolers or kind of people that maybe don't even--
Kitty: Jugglers, I've talked a lot about consent to jugglers. That was interesting [laughs], continues to be interesting. But I think when it comes down to it, it is important to everyone but your entry point is different, depending on who you're talking to. If you're talking to a bunch of jugglers, there are situations within the Juggler community where consent has been violated and it's been a big deal and people have had long fights about who's right and who's wrong. That's a really great entry point to say,"Okay, there's this big public example, but what about these individual examples, these smaller examples?"
And then helping break it down from something that they recognize, into something that they can maybe relate to on a more personal level. I find it that's usually the best way. I haven't-- I can't say that I've ever talked to a group where anyone has stood up and been like, "Yes, I actually don't give a shit about consent. This does not matter to me at all." I don't think that's a popular opinion to have. I think it's easier for people to argue about what it means. Because no one wants to be the person to be like, "Yes, I think raping people is tots, is fine. What's the big deal?" But they will argue about whether it's okay to have sex with somebody when they're drunk. Plus, it is important to them that they not be a rapist.
Dedeker: I think that's the thing, is this I don't think anybody is necessarily wanting, like you said, to stand up and be like, "No, consent isn't important, no we shouldn't be talking about this." But it's always in the more insidious more subtle ways that the problem arises is in like if this person is drinking, can they still consent? If they consented and then they took their consent away, do I have the right to be really upset [laughs]. Those conversations because that's-- it is in within those gradations that I think that we see more of the issues is, as they say, dabbles in the details.
Kitty: Occasionally you get [unintelligible 00:33:30] to want to play dabbles at kid, that's like a whole different thing, or they're just like they're doing it to troll and to be annoying. They're not arguing in good faith, and they don't care about coming to a conclusion. That definitely happens too. But I think generally it's finding the hook.
Jase: I think something that really struck me with your description about your book about consent culture, was that you feel like a lot of the books out there about it or lot of the writings or lot of people talking about, are approaching it from this privileged academic sort of way of doing it, so you wanted to curate something that has writings from a lot of different viewpoints and is a little more related to real life. I think yes, that definitely seems connected to that, find how this connects to each person's life. Until hopefully, that would be something that different people reading your book would find, "This essay really resonates for me and this one didn't so much," rather than only getting one voice.
Kitty: Yes, absolutely and I didn't-- I don't cosign to the conclusions that everybody in the book came to. I think that's important, is to recognize that we all have different ideas about this. It's definitely, it's been funny reading some of the reviews because people have been irritated that I didn't give them a solution, I didn't give them a how-to never violate consent ever again. I was like, "I wish I could do that for you but I don't think I can." And if someone tells you that they can, I would stay away from them.
--because I would be very suspicious.
I think it's important-- it was important to me for the book to offer a bunch of different viewpoints and a bunch of different ideas and say "Well, here's a way that we could think about this and talk about this," rather than to be prescriptive that this is the way.
Jase: I want to bring it to something more on the positive side of things now, which is that when talking about consent ,something that still comes up a lot, I feel like I'm hearing this a little bit less often now than I did whatever, 10 years ago or something, but this idea that asking for consent and worrying about that takes the romance or takes the spontaneity out of things or makes things less sexy. I found that for my self, as I've gradually gotten to understand how consent works in my life and how exciting enthusiastic consent can be, I found the opposite to be true.
But I was wondering if you could share any examples or thoughts, either from your own experience or from other people, of how a focus on consent can actually make things be more sexy or more romantic, more fun, what's the positive side of this?
Kitty: I'm a dork about the way I initiate sex and flirting anyway, being very explicit, not awkward about consent, totally works in my favor that's kind of -- that's my brand, one can say. The first time I ever had sex with my partner, I asked him if you would like to have penis in vagina intercourse, for example, to be very specific and then I also said, "No is an acceptable answer, that's totally fine."
And he laughed at me probably for half an hour--
--we did have penis and vagina intercourse. It worked and everyone was happy. I think, especially as a sex worker, I've learned a lot of encouraging someone to tell me what exactly they want me to do to them, or to tell me how something makes him feel, to ask them, "How would you feel about that?' And really, you could say a lot of things an octave lower and whispered in someone's ear, and it will feel sexy even if you're reading a grocery list.
I think some of it is performers and performative. By being excited about it yourself, that rubs off another people. Also as a sex worker, I would speak up for the fact that it is okay for your consent to not always be enthusiastic, that doesn't necessarily mean that's invalid. I'm of the-- it's sort of embarrassing to say, but the kind of radical feminist idea that there is no such thing as a 100% consent under a white supremacist capitalist patriarchy.
I don't know that anyone can have a 100% no coercion, no back of your mind, persuading yourself, give a 100% consent. I don't know that's possible. Because we don't live in a culture where that's possible. Everything else that radical feminist believe, I throw out of the window. But that is one thing that I think they are not wrong about, and I think that for them, that gives them a lot of fear. For me, that gives an interesting starting voice where I realize that I can always be wrong.
And it may be my fault, it may be both of our fault, but that's always a possibility. And if I am not comfortable having that process for this person's sake or this experience's sake, it's probably not something I care that much about. Simplifying it, I generally think, "Is this something I'm willing to go to court for, if I'm wrong? Am I willing to take ownership on that level?" And if the answer is no, then I don't needed that bad [laughs]. That it's not something I am willing to put in the work. If I'm not willing to have a community accountability process, if I'm wrong for the sake of this person, then I probably shouldn't do it. I find it that that is-- it's a very intense way of thinking about it.
Jase: Certainly legalistic still, but more for yourself.
Kitty: Yes it's a good check in and it's also taught me that sometimes I would tell myself that I was consenting to something and I wasn't entirely, I wasn't all in. It's been interesting, I've just started dating a new guy and he's definitely eager for us to have sex for the first time. I'm very excited for that too. I want us to be sober when we do it, and I want to feel in my gut that this is the thing I want to do right now. If I have any hesitation, I'd rather wait. I'd rather neither of us feels bad later. I'd rather know than push myself and say, "Well, maybe I'll feel more into it once we get started." Which has been something that I've done before.
Dedeker: Yes, I think all of us have. I think that is so interesting to internalize that this idea of, "I would just rather wait until there isn't hesitation there." And knowing that maybe that doesn't mean that you're ever going to reach 100% no holds barred, no hesitations whatsoever. I just think it's interesting that-- I think that we associate this process of taking it slow with somebody or being willing to wait with somebody or being willing to say no, as usually being a much more sex negative thing. But again, it's this binary, it's kind either you are sex-positive, and that means you're ready to hop into bed on a first date no shame whatsoever, or you're sex negative and you want to string them along for three months, or however long you're supposed to, I don't know what the rules of this case--
Jase: --Using it as a power dynamic.
Dedeker: Yes. So no, I think it is so interesting to live within that middle ground, which I would think really is just a really good marker of taking care of oneself, which is the best thing we can do anyway.
Kitty: Carol Queen would argue that it is the sex-positive thing to do, is to wait until you feel good about what you're doing. I think one thing that is really sad, is Lisa Millbank is a feminist online, she writes a blog called Rad Trans Fem, and she's definitely a huge influence on my ideas about consent. One of the things that she talks about is this idea that we think about sex and our feelings about sex in this dichotomy of sex-negative and sex positive. But what we're missing is that oftentimes, instead of sex-negative, we're talking about sex moralism which is this very patriarchal idea of sex being bad; people who do it are bad; it's slutty; it's something that you just go through because you have to.
That's sex moralism, that's not really what sex negativity is trying to get at generally. But the two of them often work together fairly well to create policy or to get attention in the media. They've kind of become the same thing even though they are actually very different; sex negativity is a very feminist female centered idea, and sex moralism is a very patriarchal idea.
Similarly, sex positivity has its mirror, it's dark mirror side in sexist compulsory. That's the idea of like ''No, it's about sexual freedom,'' like you were saying about, "I have to have sex all the time, and I should want to have sex all the time." That's part of the sexist compulsory, which is also something that comes about through patriarchy. That basically the patriarchal idea is this virgin whore, while the sex negative sex positive idea is basically about what do women want when that patriarchal idea is no longer there. It's two different schools of thought on that. Either of them could be right, they could both be right. I think they're a lot more similar than either of them realize.
Jase: And I think they both fall into that trap of thinking that all women are the same as each other. Maybe there's also that, that maybe the sex negative ones that is true for them, and maybe the sex positive ones that's also true for them. Rather than thinking that--
Kitty: People are complicated, that's what I like about-- there was a while I was identifying as a sex negative pornographer, and it was very confusing for people. But as I started to explain this is why I used this term is I think we need to talk a lot more about why we use the term sex-negative to shame people, and why that's a problem. People started to be like, "Actually [laughs] that makes sense." I definitely recommend Lisa Millbank's work online, it's amazing. She wrote a fantastic piece called The Ethical Prude that I would recommend as a starting point.
Dedeker That rings a bell, that sounds familiar actually.
Jase: The Ethical Prude, nice. All right, thank you so much. We're coming up on the end here, but for people who want to get your book and to read all these essays about it, or who want to know more about your book tour, which is going to be in the Pacific Northwest in March, can you give them where they can find that info, and what they need to know?
Kitty: Absolutely. My website is kittystryker.com, that's K-I-T-T-Y-S-T-R-Y-K-E-R .com. There is a calendar on there,there's a link to the Amazon page where you can get the book. The book is Ask: Building Consent Culture. You can find it on Amazon, you can find it in [IndieBound?]. You could review it at Goodreads, Good vibrations carries it, Wicked Grounds carries it, a few other book places here and there. But after this book tour, hopefully a bunch of other book places are going to sell it.
Then, I'm mostly active on Twitter which is @kittystryker, but literally, you can Google Kitty Stryker and you will find me everywhere. Just don't do it at work because I did work at porn for a long time, you may come across an explicit imagery.
Dedeker: I guess it depends on the work that you do.
Jase: Yes, I suppose.
Kitty: Also that.
Jase: That's great. We'll also have links to all of that in the show notes for this episode that you can get through iTunes or Stitcher, or on the show page on our website. We'll have links to all of your sites there.
Dedeker: All right. Well, thank you so much, Kitty, it was wonderful to talk to you.
Emily: Thank you.
Kitty: Thank you.
Dedeker: If you'd like to have your question or comment played on the show, you can call 678-MULTI-05 and leave us a voicemail. Or you can send us an audio message at the Multiamory Facebook page. You can email us at info at multiamory.com or send us a message