When lying in bed with a guy after a recent date, he brought up Jian Ghomeshi. I wasn’t surprised; we’d both been following the courtroom drama tweet by tweet every day for weeks.
He wrapped his hands playfully around my neck and kissed me. “Are you OK with this?” he asked, “I don’t want to get Ghomeshi’d.”
By “this,” he meant that he wanted to make sure he had my consent.
He used Ghomeshi’s name as a verb, to ensure I wouldn’t report him to the police for lightly choking me.
This Ghomeshi-as-a-verb reference is something I’m now used to, because other dates have used it as well.
In this situation, I responded by playfully telling him he had my consent, as I wrapped my hand around his. Some laughter ensued and we carried on with our encounter, as he ominously mentioned how creepy and sexy it was that the newspaper next to my bed had an image of Ghomeshi on the cover.
This case is topical. It’s what we’re ingesting as pop culture in Toronto. During the first two weeks of February, I — as many curious Canadians were — was refreshing my Twitter feed ad nauseam, following every tweet from the Toronto journalists in the courtroom during Ghomeshi’s trial.
Because of that, it’s made me self conscious and hyper aware with my dating prospects. I’m thinking about every action and every word.
Just the other night, I got an unprompted text from another suitor, who’d likely had one too many libations. The first text read: “Let me Ghomeshi all over your face.” The second: “I won’t let big ear’s teddy watch (sic)” The third: “No?” The Fourth: “Go top (sic) far?”
I’ve sent and received my share of late night texts, but this unprompted one caught me by surprise. It made me shake my head as I acknowledged a handful of single men referring to the case in a facetious way.
I finally replied: “Too far.”
An apology text came after, “Hey, sorry. I’m trying to have fun drunk text exchanges. It’s a bit early for us. I was not trying to offend.”
But, by then, I was a bit taken aback and stuck with a not-so-becoming visual in my head. ...
Where does consent begin and end in the eyes of the law when it comes to rough sex involving dominance and submission play?
Should adults engaging in consensual sexual behavior be subject to criminal laws including assault and battery? What local, state, or federal laws could be used against you for engaging in consensual BDSM activity? What does consent mean, who can give it, and what are its limits? How do we distinguish between consensual BDSM and domestic violence or abuse when such matters come before our law enforcement officials and enter into the court system? What are the boundaries of consent and sexual freedom?
The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom is coming to San Francisco!
Please join us for an enlightening evening of discussion of NCSF’s Consent Counts project to decriminalize BDSM. You’ll find out about the state of the law regarding BDSM and consent and how you can help support this important national project.
Judy Guerin, NCSF Consent Count’s Director & Richard Cunningham, Esq., NCSF Consent Counts Advisor
Appetizers, wine & other beverages provided
Tuesday, October 19, 2010 at 7:30
The Law Offices of Alex Austin & Shannan Rapoport 799 Castro Street San Francisco, CA. 94114
Please RSVP to Judy Guerin at
Richard O. Cunningham, B.S., M.A., J.D., has advocated for over 30 years on issues of gender, race and sex. He has played a leading role in landmark legal cases, including being the supervising attorney on the Supreme Court Case regarding women in military academies and the initiating attorney for the lawsuit during the Vietnam War that resulted in equal media political coverage. He has served as chair of the boards of both the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom Foundation (NCSF) and the Woodhull Freedom Foundation. He is senior international trade partner at Steptoe & Johnson, LLP in Washington, D.C. Dick is currently advising on legal and policy aspects of the NCSF Consent Counts initiative.
Judy Guerin is a well-known activist, writer, speaker and educator on issues of sexual freedom and gender expression and has been dedicated to activism on these issues for over 30 years. She is a long-time member of the BDSM/leather/fetish community and currently directs the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom’s Consent Counts Project to decriminalize BDSM. She is the former Executive Director of the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom and a former board member of the Woodhull Freedom Foundation and GenderPAC. She is a former steering committee member of the National Policy Roundtable of GLBT & HIV/AIDS groups and an advisor to the European Union on issues of sexual freedom, gender expression and GLBT issues.