michael dresser

Wheel Of Consent



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Take, Take, Take

On the face of it most of us would probably say that there’s too much taking going on in the world. We live in a culture which values success, teaching us a sense of entitlement: that we must win, we must get power over others at all costs.

Even the word ‘Take’ can often feel like a dirty one: suggesting an action that’s invasive, or aggressive. It’s no wonder we often feel an aversion to the notion of taking because it’s become synonymous with stealing and the abuse of power, the logical conclusion of which is rape and war.

But these are actually all aspects of taking that happen when the boundaries of consent are being transgressed.

So what might taking look like when it’s done consentingly?

Well, when someone has willingly consented to allow you access to something you want from them, what they’re actually doing is giving you a gift.

Now think about how tricky many people find it to receive a gift – something for their own benefit with nothing expected in return – without feeling awkward, and it’s easier to understand why it often feels so hard, or even scary, to take in a way that’s consensual.

Despite the popular notion that we are currently wallowing in an excess of pleasure-seeking, and self-gratification, the reality probably couldn’t be further from the truth.  Many of us have actually shut down our ability to tune into what really gives us pleasure (as opposed to what we think ‘ought’ to, or what we’re told ‘should’). And our self-gratification is often more of an attempt to gratify someone else.

In fact, settling for something that is merely ‘OK’ has become second nature to us, and most of us might find it hard to picture what ‘Wonderful’ even feels like.  Imagine your partner or your closest friend offered you whatever touch you really, really wanted… would you feel able to ask for exactly that? Or would you water down your request to something you hoped they’d be comfortable with, or something you were sure they wouldn’t refuse?

Learning to take consentingly really starts with learning to understand what our own pleasure actually feels like. And like anything else we learn, this can take some practice. Luckily the Wheel Of Consent is designed to help you with this.

Find out how you can work with me to learn more.

The Wheel Of Consent is based around 4 quadrants: Take, Allow, Serve, and Accept. Each creates a different experience of interaction with others and teaches you something different about yourself.

Learn more about the quadrants and the wheel:

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