Let’s Talk About SEX (and CONSENT, and D-Rangers)

If you’re really really short on time – this is your summary

London Decom will have a “play space” for the first time – basically a chill space where sex is allowed. We’re encouraging a “two yeses” model of consent for the event, so look out for both verbal consent and positive body language when interacting with people. This applies to sexual contact, but also to hugs, engaging people in conversation, sharing drinks, using preferred pronouns, and photography. Basically, be considerate with others, check in with them if you have any doubt, and be willing to take no for an answer! If you see inappropriate behaviour occurring, get hold of our D-Rangers wearing purple sashes (see below for details) or calmly intervene yourself.

And for a bit more detail on all the topics

The first ever Decom play space

As we’ve changed venue to Fire this year, London Decom will have a “sex licence” for the first time, meaning that we can host a “play space” (a.k.a. a room for having sex and similar such things). Camp Crumpet, having hosted a play space at Burning Nest for the last two years, has decided to take up this challenge with characteristic vigor and silliness and is pleased to announce… The Crumpet Underground!

You can see detailed rules for the space if you follow those links, but basically the vibe will be “a chill space where sexiness is allowed”. This is different to the way things work at many events, where often you’re not allowed in the play room unless you’re having sex. But we think our way is better for Radical Inclusion. Many Decom attendees have never attended a sex event before (or even knew they existed – if that’s you and you’re just finding out now, you’re very welcome!) and may feel pretty weird going into the Room of Compulsory Sex.  In fact, even the most seasoned orgy veterans usually like to dip a toe before diving in head first. We think that’s OK, and in fact pretty important! So whether you’re eager, uncertain, curious, or just need a friendly place to chill for a bit, you will be very welcome at Crumpet. There will always be volunteers present at in the space to answer your questions, offer you a toasted crumpet, and generally make sure that people are treating each other well in the space.

Think about CONSENT

This, of course, brings us to the very important topic of Consent. This is an important principle to apply to sex, but also to all your interactions at Decom (and in regular life too, we hope!). At Decom, we encourage you to look for “two yeses” before initiating or continuing any kind of interaction – verbal consent and positive body language. Think about a simple example like starting a conversation with strangers. You may ask “Hey, mind if I join your conversation?” (getting verbal consent). Sometimes people are polite and will say “OK”, but still face mainly towards each other, and respond to your inputs very briefly. We all recognise those as signs you may be accidentally intruding on a private conversation. In contrast, if they reorient themselves towards you, smile, make eye contact (positive body language), and actively ask you questions, they’re probably keen to make friends!

Ignoring these signals in a conversation makes you a bore at worst. But ignoring the signals in a sexual context can cause serious harm. Just because you want an interaction doesn’t mean the other person wants it as well! Consent is an active process, and is continuously negotiated throughout an interaction, not only at the beginning. Wearing a sexy outfit (or being totally naked) isn’t consent. If someone is simply silent or passive while you touch them, they haven’t given consent, or maybe they started off enjoying themselves but now are no longer consenting. If someone is too intoxicated to have a conversation about what’s happening, even if they seem to be enjoying it, they can’t consent.

Remember to check in verbally before escalating an interaction. If you think things are getting flirty with someone, ask “Would you like a kiss?” or “Have you thought about checking out the playroom?”, rather than just starting physical contact. If you sense things are getting awkward from non-verbal signals (maybe they’ve become less active, spaced out, or have stopped smiling), you can always check in verbally again. It can be as simple as “Are you still enjoying this?” or “Does this work for you, or would you rather do something else?”.

 

Consent isn’t only about sex

Remember to check for consent in non-sexual interactions. Burners like to greet each-other with a hug and you will see lots of hugging and kissing generally. But even some seasoned burners prefer not to be hugged. If you do not know for a fact, always ask people “Would you like a hug?” (while you’re still a bit away from them, not as you’re pulling them towards you) and give them time to answer you; actually ask to join conversations; don’t insist that people try your food/drink/funky sunglasses, no matter how great you think it is. If someone tells you their preferred pronoun (he/she/they/etc), or has it on a badge or Tshirt, we ask that you politely respect that.

Non-sexual nudity is totally fine anywhere in the space, though be aware of other people’s boundaries and not being too “in your face” about it. Also remember that, even if everyone directly involved is consenting to a sexual interaction, other people may not want to see it! It’s up to area leads to decide on how things operate in their space, but generally anything more than an intense snog should be relocated to Crumpet.

Always ask people if they would like to be photographed. If in doubt, take only pictures of self/friends that do not identify anyone else. If in more doubt, better not to take the picture if you can’t get consent from everyone in the frame. If someone asks you to see the picture you took of them, please be considerate and delete it if they ask. During Daycom (daytime) there will be children around, so always check for consent with their guardians. If under 18s are not with a guardian, do not photograph them! In the evening, there is strictly no photography in or near The Crumpet Underground.

 

D-Rangers and taking care of each other

Generally around the party, if anything is making you uncomfortable, you can grab one of the D-Rangers who will roam the party wearing purple sashes! Wondering what a D-Ranger does? Check out attached amazing poster. They will treat all complaints confidentially, and redirect you to specially trained welfare volunteers (the welfare are is in the garden area), depending on what you need.

If you see someone being harassed or mistreated, please get the D-Rangers involved. If there aren’t any nearby and it feels safe to do so, you may want to use some bystander intervention. Never aggressively confront anyone, but it often helps to calmly tell a person that you think their behaviour is unacceptable. If that doesn’t feel possible, rather approach the person being harassed and try to remove them from that situation – ask them for directions, pretend you know them, do something entertaining to cause a distraction. When it’s safe to do so, check in with the person being harassed to explain what you saw happening and ask if they need any support.

 

If you have any questions pre-event on any of these topics please do reach out to our Consent Team on consent@londondecom.org or our D-Rangers on sober@londondecom.org