The ethics of asking consent before you cry on a first date: Eavesdropping on a human sexuality professor, Part 2 #Interviews#Relationships#dating#sex Posted May 31 2017 Ariel arielmstallings Crying Drake earrings by Etsy seller JazzelliDesigns When I was in New York last month, I sat down for a chat with a friend of a friend who's a professor of Human Sexuality. Hunter Kincaid is an visiting lecturer at Hunter College and an adjunct professor at Pratt University, and we met up to muse over about how anal sex is like homeschooling, the ethics of asking consent before you cry on a first date, and how the future of heterosexual marriage is all about gay marriage. Ariel: Can we talk about consent? A lot of us are hyper aware of consent around physical acts, like, "Oh I'm doing this. Is that okay? Do you like this? Do you like that? Are you okay with me doing this? Is that too hard?" Last night on a first date, I got into an interesting discussion about crying during sex and whether that's something you should seek consent for. …As in, "I'm about to lay a major emotional expression on you, are you down with this?" You're not gonna get arrested for sexual assault if you non-consensually cry on someone during a hook-up, but in terms of being really aware of what you're asking of someone, do you think consent around crying is something that matters? When it gets outside of physical into emotional power intimacy levels, is there such a thing as seeking too much consent? Hunter: With a scenario like that, especially for some people, they have emotional reactions come about before they can even give a warning — so no one ever needs consent for an emotional reaction. You can just witness the person's emotional reaction. However, there are people who have a pattern of knowing when they might start crying during sex, and I guess it's helpful to give someone a heads up of, "Hey, just to let you know. This isn't just you. I do this sometimes. It's about to happen." Do you think that you only feel that way because of how we're socialized as men, that a man would need that kind of heads up? Because I'm wondering about two women in bed — they probably wouldn't even think about the need to warn someone about that happening. Ariel: Good point. "Girls, it's fine! Bring the tears, bring the tears!" Related Post Online dating: some reviews, some tips, some little green ghouls My ex and I started dating when I was 19, and we were together for seven years. That's a lot of Formative Time in a... Read more Hunter: Also, I'm wondering if straight men might almost expect crying from a partner — way more than gay men would. As a gay man, I'm trying to think like what would happen if a man just started crying in bed with me. I want people to tear up when the sex is so good, but I know a lot of gay guys that would probably freak out. I feel like you would never need to ask for consent to make yourself vulnerable. I feel like crying is something that makes you vulnerable, not someone else. Becoming vulnerable is just part of exchanging intimacy. You become vulnerable in the hopes that someone else becomes vulnerable too, and then the intimacy's gonna go forward. Now, if it was part of your sexual fetish to make someone else cry, I feel like then you'd have to ask for permission. But I guess I view it as, if you're the one that's crying, you don't really need seek permission to be vulnerable in front of someone. Ariel: Good point. My assumption that the other person feels somehow responsible is probably my own issue — because they're not necessarily beholden to do anything. Hunter: They're not responsible. They're just human. Humans respond to emotions through their amygdala in the same way as if you're having sex. It's all an intimate act — and that's all part of exchanging intimacy. Join us for Part 3 of this series tomorrow, where Hunter and I explore look at what the future of het marriage might look like (spoiler: it's TOTALLY GAY) Reporter Name * Reporter Email * Original text Enter the original text here. Edited text* Enter your suggested copyedit here. Notes You can add a note for the editor here. * Required information. Fix Typo Ariel Author of three editions of the Offbeat Bride book and the forthcoming From Shitshow To Afterglow, Ariel Meadow Stallings acts as the publisher of all the Offbeat Empire websites. She lives in Seattle with her son, and if she's not reading or writing books, chances are good that she's dancing or happy-crying. She writes weekly essays for her new publication, The Afterglow. PREVIOUS Relationship hack: Take 5 minutes a week to help improve your relationship NEXT The future of marriage is SO GAY: Eavesdropping on a human sexuality professor, Part 3 Show/Hide comments [ 2 ] I think when you're asking consent to cry, you're really signalling to the partner that you hope they will be compassionate and not judge you harshly because, as Hunter pointed out, you typically can't control or predict when you're going to cry. You want to know how much emotional intimacy the person is open to but I don't think using the same paradigm for physical intimacy ( "consent") applies here. Moreover I can't think of a pro forma way to do this. Gauging another person's emotional commitment has been the thorny subject of millions of books, plays, articles, stories…basically since Eve told Adam "Go ahead. Have a bite". I think that's just one of the uncertainties of life. Reply Why… why is this even a QUESTION? Are we really at a point where we need to ask consent to show emotions to a sexual (or more) partner? Are we really so insecure that this even needs to be discussed? Fuck me. Reply Join the conversation Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. No-drama comment policy Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy.