Why sex requires more than just permission

Article By: Michael Dresser 

Great sex requires more than just getting permission. Find out about the other essential intimacy dynamic we don’t even have a name for.

When it comes to sex and intimacy, getting consent means getting permission, right?


And that’s not all there is to it.

Permission only describes one dynamic of relating:

“I’m moving house this weekend and I need a car to transport my stuff. May I borrow yours?”

I want to take action, with something that’s yours, in order to benefit myself. So I ask your permission.

Seems pretty simple.

But there’s also another dynamic of relating. And – incredibly – we don’t actually have a word for it, even though it’s something we’re all familiar with in our everyday interactions.

“I’m moving house, and I need someone to help me. Will you bring your car and drive my stuff to my new place?”

Now I’m asking you to take action, with something that’s yours, in order to benefit me.

That’s different from asking for permission.

You might think: well we’re just talking about who’s driving the car, it’s no big deal.

But imagine we’re talking about something that involves touch. Especially intimate touch.

“May I lick your nipple?”

I’m getting consent to touch you the way I want, by asking your permission.

“Will you lick my nipple?” 

I’m asking if you’re willing to touch me the way I want to be touched.

Suddenly it becomes much more important that consent during sex or an intimate encounter is not just about getting permission.

Because when you’re the one who’s doing something for me, I want to be sure we have a clear agreement about what’s going to happen (or not happen) so we can both be confident about it.

Want to expand your sex and intimacy beyond permission?

When there’s something you desire for yourself, just using these two questions:

“May I….?”, and “Will you…?”

is a great way to start building a clear agreement with your partner.

And if you want to build your skills to make your giving and receiving more clear and consenting check out my coaching options