This blog was written by a community member – Nora.
I don’t know about you but when I first came out and started dating women – I had NO idea what I was doing.
All these questions and so many more haunted my mind:
- What was expected of me?
- How should I flirt without sounding creepy?
- What were my options for safe sex?
- How would I get consent from a woman?
After many failed attempts at dating (but a few new friends made), it became clear that the best thing to do was just be honest. Like many in our community, I ended up using (what I now know is called) a strengths-based approach to consent and safety while using dating apps.
Pretty much this means that I checked in about everything:
“Hey, it’s so lovely to meet you – are you more of a hug or handshake type of person?”
“Would you like to sit next to each other or across the table from one another?”
“Is it okay if I hold your hand?”
Starting from ‘back to basics’ if you will, helped me gain the confidence to ask consent for sex and also to assert my own boundaries.
When I started dating someone I really liked the foundation I had built on discussing boundaries early on was super helpful to ‘lay down the law’ about what I was comfortable with and to check in around what the other person liked and disliked BEFORE we had sex.
These conversations went a bit like:
“Just so you know I have a medical condition that makes penetrative sex painful so I’m uncomfortable with penetration during sex”
“I’m okay with sex while on a period, how do you feel about it?”
As you all know, it’s important to check in DURING sex and to communicate your needs, this might look like:
“Would you like me to take my shirt off?”
“How does this feel for you?”
“I’m not super into this can we try doing this instead?”
Communicating and ensuring consent makes me feel a whole lot better about sex and the safety and pleasure of everyone involved. Remember that if someone is not interested or unhappy with the boundaries you set, you don’t need to change those boundaries to suit them and their needs. YOUR needs, safety and pleasure are important.
Want to read more about consent and dating apps? Check out the social settings section of our LGBTQ+ Sexual Violence Prevention and Response toolkit.