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Have you heard of the Wheel of Consent?

The wheel goes round and round...

I have talked about consent in the past. However there are different frameworks you can follow to better understand consent, and how to give and receive it.

Today, I wanted to talk about the Wheel of Consent, a concept crafted by the Betty Martin, a chiropractor, a Body Electric School trained Sacred Intimate, Certified Sexological Bodyworker, Foundations of Facilitation trainer, and a self-propelled erotic adventurer and intimacy coach.

Picture this: you’ve got yourself a wheel. But not just any old wheel. This one has got four nice slices – Serve, Take, Accept, and Allow. Each slice tells a story of its own, guiding us through the wild and wonderful world of touch and consent.

In a relationship you need all four, and they all exist within the circle of consent. What defines your position, where you are on the quadrant, is what you agreed with your partner, what you pre-negotiated and consented to.

Let’s go through it shall we?

The Wheel of Consent © Dr. Betty Martin

The Take slice

First up is the Take slice. 

In Take, you assume the role of the driver and you assert your desires and wishes. It sits between the doing (active) and receiving.

In short, this is about channeling one’s inner boss and take charge of pleasure. Calling the shots, setting the pace, and basking in the glory of taking action for your own pleasure (with consent and clear negotiations). The arrows will move from Take to Allow and viceversa; one will ask for something and the other will either allow it or deny it.

Once you have the persons’s consent and permission to take control of your own pleasure, you are putting yourself first. To do this, you don’t need to take advantage of the other person, you simply need to create clear boundaries and play within those limits.

Remember, gender has nothing to do with this slice, you can be on whichever side of the gender spectrum and still take the lead.

TAKING – “May I touch you?” (I am doing and it’s for me)

The Allow slice

In contrast, the Allow slice is the passive one.

This is where you relinquish control and surrender to the sublime experience of receiving pleasure. Sitting between doing (passive) and giving. 

This focuses on exploring your responsibility to have your limits, your responsibility of giving permission to the other.

We have all been touched without our consent in life; this quadrant looks at empowering you to take control over your limits so that you can be explicit with what you’d allow to be done to you and what’s truly ok for you.

Remember to ask yourself what is within your range for a YES and be explicit about what you believe you are happy to allow. This slice is opposite to Take, and the directional arrows go both ways, highlighting that you can revoke consent at any time.

It’s a gift, and you cannot give it to someone unless you own it in the first place.

Own your limits. 

ALLOWING – “Would you like to touch me?” (You are doing and it’s for you)

The Serve slice

Next on the agenda, we’ve got Serve.

I guess as a Top myself, I might be a little biased, and I say that’s my fav. This is the slice of selflessness and devotion, and it’s a place between doing (active) and giving. 

This slice shifts the focus from personal gratification to the art of serving others with true dedication; whether it is with time, attention, actions or whatever their real desires are.

It’s about immersing oneself in the sacred act of giving, looking to please and nurture. This is not a as straightforward as you might think, serving someone to serve is not enough. It’s about serving them to please them in the way they want to be pleased.

It’s essential that we really listen and understand what the person wants, that we uncover what the other wants, even if it takes time and effort.

GIVING – “Would you like me to touch you?” (I am doing and it’s for you)

The Accept slice

Last but not least, the Accept slice is about receiving.

In Accept we are looking at a slice between doing (passive) and receiving.

Basically in here, something is being done to you and you are on the receiving end. This can be quite tricky because it’s imperative to have a clear understanding of who this is for.

Communicating what is acceptable and what is not is key. Keeping that communication open is even more important. Things can change, and what was ok 10 minutes earlier might no longer be ok.

Receiving should not be performative, but should be authentic, and to get there it can be very vulnerable, but it also really touches your heart and gives you a warm feeling of gratitude.

Start small, start slow.

RECEIVING – “Will you touch me?” (You are doing and it’s for me)

Of course, should you step out of this wheel you will go rogue, aka Shadow. That means that if you Serve without consent, you are acting as the martyr, riding your white horse to rescue someone who doesn’t need saving. The Shadow of the Allow, are the ones that cannot say no to anyone, the people-pleaser, doing something even if they don’t really want to, and if they allow non-consensually, they are the victim. Should you Accept without being served, you are being entitled and are a God or a Goddess who is a tad abusive. And lastly, if you Take without consent then we all well know what that is… more abuse.   

In conclusion, the Wheel of Consent offers a great framework for sensual exploration. Whether you are going for a solo trip of self-discovery or exploring something new with a partner, the wheel can be a very handy guide.

Embrace its wisdom, explore its depths, and prepare to start a journey of sensual discovery. Spin the wheel? (lol)