Michael Dresser

Wheel Of Consent

hand taking


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 outcomes, teaching us a sense of entitlement: that we must win, we must get power over others at all costs.

Why has taking become a dirty word?

Even the word ‘Take’ sometimes feels 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.

These are actually all aspects of Taking that happen when the boundaries of consent are being transgressed.

With the Wheel Of Consent, Taking means taking action for your own benefit. So in that sense taking is really essential to our survival – if we didn’t take things we needed we’d die!

Receiving a gift

However, there are responsibilities that come with Taking consentingly.

When someone willingly consents to allow you access to something you want from them, what they’re actually doing is giving you a gift.

If you’re taking a gift, you need to make sure you respect the limits and boundaries of the person giving it. Especially if the gift is access to the giver’s body or space.

It’s not surprising the whole idea of Taking might feel challenging, or even scary!

Wants and needs

Despite the popular notion that we are currently wallowing in an excess of pleasure-taking, 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 we really want (as opposed to what we think ‘ought’ to, or what we’re told we ‘should’).

And our self-gratification is often more of an attempt to gratify someone else.

But just because we’re not aware of them doesn’t mean our wants or needs disappear. So we may try to get them met by sneaking them in under the guise of something we’re doing ‘for’ someone else: have you ever given someone a massage because you secretly hoped you’d get one in return? (read more about how to clean up your Serving)

Take pleasure

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, and getting good at Taking consentingly is at the very heart of the practice.

How to do it

Taking action for your own benefit, while respecting the limits of the person giving.

When you get good at consensual Taking it brings you integrity as a partner. Here are three tips:

  • Be clear about what you want.
  • Communicate it well, and make clear agreements.
  • Then make sure you respect the limits of the other person, and don’t take more than they’re willing to give.

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

The quadrants

Each quadrant in the Wheel Of Consent creates a different experience and teaches you something different about yourself. Learn more about each one:


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