How to Connect With Consent, Compassion, and Courage

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consent

Men’s relationship coach, Galen Erickson, shares his views on a culture of consent, compassion, and the courage to have deep meaningful relationships.

My radio guest, Galen Erickson, is a men’s work facilitator and relationship coach. He is committed to dismantling toxic masculinity and creating a culture of empowered, compassionate manhood. His work as a dating and relationship coach focuses on identifying self-limiting stories and practicing following the heart towards genuine connection.

Highlights below of episode #277: Empowering People to Connect With Consent, Compassion, and Courage.

How to Connect With Consent, Compassion, and Courage

What inspired you to do the work that you do?

I was married and divorced by 22. It was a hard breakup, and I decided to explore everything [about love and relationships]. I and ended up getting into Buddhism and tantra. I did an apprenticeship with a tantra master, and it started me on a path of loving connection as part of a spiritual practice. I began running men’s groups, and I wanted to help men more, so I began coaching men to be the best versions of themselves. 

A good man has integrity. He honors the woman he’s with. He has lust and passion for her, and he respects where she’s at, too. He honors her. He doesn’t shy away from taking the lead and making decisions. But, he is always connected to his heart.

 

What’s the harm of bringing your work self into the dating and relationship sphere?

The work culture requires us to be emotionally sterile. We are pushed to be in our brains, and to think rationally and problem-solve. This tends to be the culture we work in, and it’s antithetical to the magic of connection, the indescribable chemistry of opening up our emotional world beyond our rational mind. 

We spend so much time in our rational mind, we forget how to connect on an emotional level. It’s about energetic connection. You feel it, and the more you can tap into it, you can connect on a deeper level.

What is “consent culture?”

It’s quite relevant today with the outburst of the #metoo posts in social media.

There are toxic masculine cultures, where men are taught to ‘man up’ and be tough, don’t cry. Along with this is the sense that women are there for men’s pleasure. This culture creates the conditions for sexual abuse and boundary-crossing to occur. 

How well are we honoring each other’s boundaries and moving in a way that’s safe for everyone? I’m training men to have awareness of boundary-crossing, and learn to recognize when a woman is ready to connect, and when the connection is not quite there yet.

Example: I was at a party and asked a woman if I could sit down next to her. She said, “Yes, please. You didn’t have to ask, but I really like that you did.” 

I’m a very masculine guy, and I want to acknowledge that energy can be unsettling for some women. I want her to know I will not coerce her to a place she’s not ready to go.

 

How is consent work relevant to women? How is it different for men?

Women are dealing with a difficult situation. Men need to learn boundary awareness. Women need to learn how to set boundaries, even though it’s important for men to learn these skills, too. 

Men might take it personally if you set a boundary and you’re too forceful.

If a man feels hurt when you set a boundary, it’s not your responsibility to manage his emotions.

If he’s moving too fast sexually, your boundary can be, “I like to be loved. Let’s enjoy every step of the relationship.” You frame the consent discussion as getting the most out of every moment and enjoying the anticipation. Waiting for the physical contact builds enjoyment.

Men are goal-oriented and want sexual intimacy. It’s a characteristic of masculine toxic culture that men don’t get enough touch in their lives. So they are starving!

Switch the context, and instead of saying, “No!” say “Let’s enjoy the process of getting to know each other.” “Can we enjoy just making eye contact?” Enjoying the moment is important in inviting a man deeper into an energetic connection.

Biologically, men are better at disconnecting from their emotions. Women can create emotional connection, because they’re more skilled at this than men are. 

 

What does “embodied consent” mean?

Embodied consent is in addition to verbal consent, which is important as you’re building  a relationship. Embodied consent is energetic. It’s a “Fuck yes!” where you check in with yourself about what your body wants in the moment. It’s about what feels good to you and what’s present for the other person. Honor that beyond at the mental level.

 

Learn more about Galen here.  


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