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.
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.