One of the perks of my job is getting a chance to read a lot of books about sex, sexuality, kink, and relationships. Some are terrific, some are OK, but it’s always fun to learn new things and take on new perspectives.
I recently had a chance to read Mike Domitrz’s new book, “Can I Kiss You?” and one of the things that most delighted me was the fact that the book is simple enough for teens to understand it but deep enough to be relevant for folks who have been married for 3 decades – all while being entirely gender neutral.
So, this week, Mike and I had a lovely talk about consent, respect, rape, sexual assault, dating, hook-ups, why married folks in 40 year marriages need consent as much as teens dating for the first time, and we even roll around in Donald Trump and Rush Limbaugh.
Mike’s examples are approachable and realistic – it’s clear he has dedicated his life to rewriting the rules we have about dating and consent. And while I have had several consent experts on the show over the years, I have a feeling Mike’s approach and perspective will really hit home for a lot of you.
ESPECIALLY the parts about interpreting body language incorrectly.
I hope you enjoy listening as much as I enjoyed recording this practical and critical interview.
In this episode, Mike Domitrz and I talk about:
- Mike’s decision to make the entire book gender-neutral, free of pronouns, and all of the names don’t indicate gender in any way. The inclusion is wonderful.
- The importance of teaching consent and the concept “that could be me” so that people can see themselves in the examples and situations – both the dating situations and the violation situations, so that we all see how easy it is to cross a boundary.
- We have a disconnect in how we view consent, drinking, and sex. Folks who have been married for 30 years using alcohol to have sex is completely acceptable and joked about, but when it’s an 18 year old, we suddenly have a problem. The behavior is still about consent, so how do we widen the conversation?
- What if you’ve been married for 20 years and you suddenly realize you don’t like the way sex is expected of you or used as a weapon? How do you start that conversation at home? Mike has a powerful question he asks audiences on that very topic.
- It’s so easy to misunderstand body language because we project our wants and fears onto the person or people we are observing – which creates a huge disconnect. Mike has some rad resources for parents around how to start challenging that pattern in how you relate to your kids.
- There is a section of Mike’s book that I adored because it explained in a HUGE way why some folks read neutral body language as a come on or as flirting, and it was such an a-ha moment.
- Hearing Mike talk about blaming people for their body language instead of blaming ourselves for projecting and mis-reading the signals is massive. ALL THE PEOPLE need to hear this.
- I assumed that a confident person would not have as much bias in reading body language and social cues as an insecure person, but Mike corrected me. Both have bias and both will misinterpret a message. There’s a key difference, though, that I found fascinating.
- Mike talks about how critical it is to understand your own privilege and the potential power dynamics at play whenever you approach someone or are navigating consent situations. YES.
- How do you navigate consent and a true “yes” in a one night stand? Mike has some serious truth bombs for us on this one.
- The myths we’ve been told about rejection and going for it versus asking first. Sexual maturity means being comfortable using language around sexuality and sexual situations – our rejection avoidance keeps us sexually immature.
- We need to teach people to not only say no, but also how to say yes to what they want.
- Trump and Rush Limbaugh. We go there, along with the Stanford Brock Turner case. As terrible as all of this is, we are finally seeing outrage and media coverage calling it what it is.
- The slippery slope of trying to convince a partner to get in the mood just because we’re horny. Mike turns it around into an example that is powerfully eye opening.
- Pity kisses, pity dates, and pity sex – please don’t do this. It’s awful. For both/all parties.
- Something that often gets overlooked is that we tell people a ‘no’ doesn’t define them, but then we turn around and celebrate a yes as if it defines our worth or our sexual success. The truth is we are not defined by either a yes or a no. Such powerful stuff.
Resources from this episode
Trevor Noah’s piece on Comedy Central on locker room talk
About Mike Domitrz
Mike Domitrz is known for the impact his programs, trainings, and publications have made across the world for parents, teenagers, families, educational institutions, the US military, and the media. You may have seen him as the featured expert on Dateline NBC’s “My Kid Would Never Do That.”
Today, Mike is one of the leading experts for transforming our sexual culture to one being built on consent and respect – discussing sexual decision-making, asking first, healthy relationships, bystander intervention, and supporting survivors of sexual assault. As the brother of a rape survivor, Mike’s mission is personal.
His ability to share powerful emotional moments (both serious and hilariously funny) while giving readers and audiences realistic “How To” SKILLS to implement in their lives is what separates Mike’s message from other experts and authors. Mike is an author with an unique combination of Provocateur and Advocate who captivates readers throughout his books.
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