Oh Joy Sex Toy: Consent

Erika Moen
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I've been producing webcomics since I was 15 and doing it full-time as a professional since the age of 25 at Periscope Studio in Portland, OR. My work has been published by Dark Horse Comics, BOOM! Studios, Image Comics, Fantagraphics, Last Gasp and Villard, among my many self-published projects as well.

Oh Joy Sex Toy is a weekly comics series that graphically explores sex and sexuality. This week, artist Erika Moen talks about the building block of all healthy sexual relationships: consent. 

a comic about consent

Read a bunch more Oh Joy Sex Toy comics, including one about the joys of reading and drawing erotic comics

Want more from Erika Moen? Oh Joy, Sex Toy: Volume One is 268 pages of sex tips, interviews, sex toy reviews, and more! Get your autographed copy at BitchMart.

Here is a text transcription of the comic to make it more accessible for people using screen readers. Transcription by Morgan Kelly.         

   The theme of this comic is sexual consent. Erika begins by saying, “We may be a social species, but interacting with other humans can be confusing. So today we’re covering the linchpin of sexual interaction—consent.” Erika is standing with two nude people, they are both rolling their eyes. One person with long dark hair responds, “Oh! I think I know how that works?” The other person is wearing glasses and a little hat, they chime in, “Me too, maybe?”

Erika responds with a definition, “Consent is an enthusiastic agreement between people to do something together.” An inset of the person with glasses confirms, “A SEXY something!” Erika continues, her hands clasped, “And sex is something you do with a partner to mutually make you both happy. It’s an intimate interaction that requires trust, concern, compassion, and care.” That person with glasses looks annoyed, “Jesus! I just wanna hook-up at a party, not get married!”

Erika responds, “This totally applies to one-night-stands! During your time together, it’s best to be the most considerate sex partner you can be. Remember your partner is a person with their own wants and desires, be thoughtful and kind to them.”

The two people look to Erika and ask, “Alright, well Lil’ Me is ready to go… How do WE get this party started?” and “So as long as my partner says ‘yes,’ that’s consent, right?” Erika answers, “Well… why and how they say ‘yes’ matters too.” She continues with a wink, “Consent should be granted happily! Here’s some examples of—” then in large clear letters, “What Consent is NOT.”

The following frames depict illustrations of non-consensual instances with prominent headlines.

• Lukewarm: a person is muttering, “I… guess… …ok.”

• Surrendering to Badgering: two people are talking, one looks exasperated and the other has their arms crossed defiantly. “I really wannaaaaa.” “No.” “You said you wooould.” “No.” “Please?” “No.” “Please?” “No.” “Please?” “No.” “What about now?” “No.” “How about NOW?” “No.” “C’mon.” “No.” “C’moooooon.” “…AUGH!! Whatever, fine.”

• Intoxicated: “People under the influence cannot sign contracts nor drive cars – because their judgment is impaired.”

• Absence of a ‘No’: a grinning person approaches another person as they say, “I’m gunna rock your world!” The other person looks stunned, their speech bubble only reads, “…”.

• Unconscious: a person is asleep, the caption reads, “If someone’s unconscious, consent is IMPOSSIBLE. Prior consent does not apply once they’re no longer awake.”

Erika reappears, posing with a decorative caption that reads, “Get Talking.” Erika points toward her mouth and says, “To get consent, you need to use your words. Ask your partner what they like, and tell them what your like, too!”

The person with dark hair and the person wearing glasses are in animated conversation, “So… Waddaya into?” “I like it when my ass is grabbed.” “Me too!” “Mine like to be gently fingered, too.” “Hee hee, I’m not sure if that’s for me, but I’m game to try!” The caption reads, “Don’t be shy about saying what’s on your mind. The more you get out there, the better!” Erika explains further, “It’s not all about wants and likes. Limits and boundaries are just as important! Ask how far your partner wants to go and be cool about it they say something you wanted to do is off the menu right now.” 

The two people continue their conversation about consent, “I love having my pussy licked and sucking dick, but I’m not game for penetration today.” “OK! I love BJs!” “Oh, one more thing- I don’t want you to push on my head if I suck your dick.” “Aw, ok! Thanks for letting me know.”

Erika clarifies, “It can suck to get rejected on an activity you really, really wanted to do. But knowing that all the dirty things you’re about to do with this other person are wanted and liked is crucial to having good, consensual sex.” The person with the glasses pops in, “And it’s HOT!” Erika continues, “Even with all that talking and agreement beforehand, consent is a flexible, variable thing, just like the person who issued it!” The person with long dark hair chimes in, “That’s right, I’m flexible!” Erika says, “Person change, even in the moment! What felt good a second ago may not feel the same in a minute. And it’s ok to stop!”

A large headline reads, “Revoking Consent: Keep checking in with your partner. Speak up when something doesn’t feel right.” In the illustration, the two people are having sex. The person wearing glasses asks, “Do you like this? Do you want to keep going?” The person with dark hair responds, “Oh ummm… It felt great before… …but this isn’t doing it for me now.” “Oh, sorry!” “No more oral for tonight, alright?” “No problem-o. Thanks for telling me!”

Erika jumps in to say, “Make sure to check for physical cues too! Do they look happy? Are they making enthusiastic noises? Is their body responding encouragingly? All of this stuff is important! If they’re looking unhappy, sounding pained, or freezing up, it’s time to pause and ask what’s up.”

The two people are still in conversation, “Aw, I feel kinda bad now. Like I ruined ‘the moment’.” “Don’t! What we already did was great fun!”

Erika explains, “Stopping sex when someone changes their mind can be disappointing, but it’s not the end of the world. If you’re uncomfortable or in pain from unresolved arousal, you can go have a wank.”

Erika concludes this comic by saying, “Remember, your partner is a human with their own wants and desires, be thoughtful and kind to them. Our actions impact others and the world around us. We’re fantastically intelligent sexual beings who each deserve respect and care. Be the best, most considerate sexy person you can be by communicating clearly and honoring consent. Happy consenting!” Erika includes a note at the bottom of the comic: Learn More at ohjoysextoy.com/consent.

 

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8 Comments Have Been Posted

The only thing I'd add is a

The only thing I'd add is a note on the use of safer sex tools like condoms and contraception.

If you consent to sex with a person on the understanding that they're going to use condoms and/or contraception but they don't...that's not consensual sex. I've seen people arguing that this doesn't count as rape ('sex' without consent), but it absolutely does! If you consent to one sexual act that does not mean you consent to them all!

The choice not to use safer sex tools like condoms is a big one so you making that choice for someone, it's not just about acting without their consent but you're doing so in a way that not just abuses their trust but also potentially puts them at serious risk (you too, for that matter). Having sex without contraception is also a big choice, one that could result in a new life which both parties are then responsible for, I'd count this as reproductive abuse.

Nobody should consent to

Nobody should consent to pussy eating with a baseball hat on

true

true

This should be added to

This should be added to school sex education curriculum. If i has understood these principles a long time ago, I might still be a virgin, for i'd never want to agree to that much work!

I had sex once according to

I had sex once according to these guidelines. It was awful, awkward and boring. Sex is about letting go and letting your instincts take over. Not turning it into a legal grant.

And you clearly were never

And you clearly were never forced by your boyfriend, who assumed you were into it and your silence because you were in fear meant it was ok, and even when you were in hysterical tears he didn't bother to stop- thus leaving you with a lifetime of being afraid of sex and having anxiety attacks every time (even your now very respectful husband) tries to touch you.
But yeah, no big deal, continue on with your non-concenting wild sex.

I can relate, but it's

I can relate, but it's important to step back and question why clearly communicating sexual desires to a sex partner- of the moment or in a long term relationship- would dampen our desire. When I started exploring that reality, I discovered for me, personally, it was b/c I often use sex as a "band aid" or an escape; like you said, "losing oneself". But then I had to consider the distance that requires- it requires me to almost use the other as a tool to meet my needs. Sex has never been so black-and-white, of course, because I cared for and was very tuned into my partners, but when the talking started a whole new, deeper dimension entered- and we soon discover a lack of deeper trust and connection. So, if I'm going to use sex to "let go", I need to be aware of what that entails psychologically for me and my partner. After a lot of soul-searching, I am much more leery of pursuit of sex as an intoxicant. A final (positive!) point: asking permission in breathless arousal is a lot different than the "hey, howdy!" depiction above!

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