Consensuality: How to Love Other People Without Losing Yourself
by Helen Wildfell Author
Feminist advice for healthy relationships
There are infinite possibilities in human relationships, but the fairytale ideal of companionship does not exist for most people. In Consensuality, Helen Wildfell and her co-adventurers detail the process for creating or finding a healthy, successful relationship as well as common pitfalls and how to avoid them. Tackling topics like gender identity, sexual boundaries, power struggles, emotional dysfunction, and overcoming regret and resentment, the authors describe a journey towards a respectful social environment. Their experiences lead to lessons of self-empowerment and communication tips for building healthy partnerships. In a consent-based relationship, partners recognize one another's preferences and boundaries and discuss how those fit with our own. Filled with personal descriptions of the complex layers in human interaction, mental health, trauma, and desire, the book combines gender studies with memoir to truly make the personal political.
Read an interview with Helen Wildfell on our blog!
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Comments & Reviews
I am a cis-het white woman with ADHD trying to learn more about the differences between the person I was raised to be and the person I want to be, especially in relationships with other people.
I found this book from the references section of Faith G Harper's "Unfuck Your Intimacy".
Consensuality has changed my perspectives on a radical level. It's now a book I recommend to anyone who knows their past experiences in relationships ( whether that means romantic, friendships, or family) are fucked up to some degree, but doesn't feel like they understand why at more than a level of "it felt bad." Or anyone who feels their current understanding of boundaries and consent is mostly from flawed high-school/college sex ed classes, or the limited perspectives or communication with parental figures. Or most importantly, anyone who feels that they don't want to keep repeating the negative parts of their past as they build relationships with new people or improve existing ones, but acknowledges that they don't yet know how.
“Incredibly illuminating. I’d never thought of it this way before, but I’m getting it now: Love, self-esteem, and even happiness all come down to consent. As I read I was like, Ping! Ping! That’s me! Or, Hey, I’ve met that, too! Consensuality is that rare self-help book that is actually intelligent and helpful. It should be required reading for all social beings.”