EP188: Consent is a Mutual Responsibility | Galen Erickson

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With the many issues surrounding consent, it surely is one touchy topic that has created some serious debate. More often than not, instead of tying up the loose ends, the subject of consent splits an already divided population.

Galen Erickson grew up with an innate talent when it comes to interacting with girls. A skill that often makes other men a tad bit anxious, friends would ask for Galen’s help when it comes to their dating and girl problems. It didn’t take him much time to decide that his skills are actually valuable in the real world and he decided to undergo various training to hone his skills. This resulted in his current professional practice as a dating and relationship coach.

Galen specializes in men’s work and the idea of consent. He runs workshops teaching teens and men on how to better navigate consent in their relationships. Looking back at the previous episode’s key takeaway, where consent was found to be one of the pressing concerns, Galen shares his insights on this episode of the show.

Just some of the things we touched on today are:
• A brief background of his work, and what motivated him to become a dating and relationship coach (02:20).
• Our usual notion of consent, and the importance of understanding consent as a concept that is dependent to our social constructs and cultural norms (06:58).
• How media is portraying intimacy and relationship, and how consent should not be seen as a black or white situation (09:30).
• Defining consent as a method in which we relate to other people, and a mutual agreement about anything (not just sexual) that is about to happen (11:09).
• Why society tends to put the pressure on guys when it comes to consent (12:17).
• Topics that coincide or are subsets of the issue of consent such as:
o Rape culture (15:49)
o Homophobia and societal expectations on what is considered masculine (16:47)
o Male ego and power dynamics (17:54; 25:41)
o Sense of entitlement (18:21)
o Sex is a game to win (20:05)
• The limitations women face when it comes to expressing their sexuality where they get labeled as either a prude, a tease, or a slut (21:29).
• The myth that male sexuality is predatory in nature and how the attempt to debunk and repress it led to the existence of what Galen calls ‘snags’ (32:42; 39:16).
• The confusion brought about by a society that simultaneously celebrates and represses sexuality (36:26).
• The need to change the direction of the narrative from mere sexuality to human relationship, affection, empathy that leads to a safer, more relaxed interaction and in turn, better sex (40:25; 51:22).
• Redefining the male energy from the view that it is predatory, to one that complements female energy, where masculinity is giving, curious and helpful while femininity is receptive, acknowledging and appreciative (43:41).
• The significance of maturity in consent to accept that you cannot always get what you want, and that expressing disappointment is acceptable, as long as it does not disrespect the other party (53:34).
• How the mutual agreement and responsibility view of consent values both men and women’s perspective and experience (55:23).
• When the power dynamics, mutual agreement, and consent is influenced by external factors, and how to deal with such situations (57:11).

While I have seen the debate of consent to be a sensitive and even triggering subject, Galen’s take on the topic is interesting providing fair perspective. He considered the participants, came from a position of mutual responsibility, avoiding whole blame game scenario.

If you want to reach Galen, you can connect with him at GalenErickson.com

Our conversation just established the need for more resources on relationships and sex. It also made me more committed to the advocacy of The Intimate Lifestyle. If you think the show can enlighten other people you know, feel free to share this with them. For feedback, inquiries or suggestion, email me at info [at] theintimatelifestyle.com.

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