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Dr. Betty Martin’s Wheel of Consent is a model of relating which brings clarity and greater authenticity to all areas of life: with work colleagues, with friends and family, and in our most intimate relationships.  It distinguishes between the ‘doing’ aspect of an interaction: who is doing? - and the ‘gift’ aspect: who is it for?  Asking these two questions together creates four possible dynamics, each of which has a different flavour, and requires a different type of consent agreement to be made. This is the central insight of the Wheel of Consent, from which many consequences and insights flow.

Here is a simple example:  I ask John if I can place my hand on his knee, and he replies, “Sure, that’s fine”.  On the face of it, we seem to have consent.  But the Wheel of Consent says our agreement is not complete until we have also answered the question, “Who is it for? ?  Which way is the gift flowing?  

A workshop on the wheel usually includes playing the 3 minute game, involving the correct protocols and language for serving and receiving.  The wheel also has a completely different axis for the protocols that are essential for lovers practicing consensual touch, involving different language structures and roles in the 3 minute game.  The protocols are as simple as the words:  ‘would you’,  and ‘may I”, and can transform every aspect of your social, professional and personal life.  Respectful and clear communication.

Any bodyworker, and especially male bodyworkers, will gain tremendous insight into the correct protocols that engender safety and trust in their interactions with clients.  For those in the dating and coupling world, the wheel of consent can help you understand how you sometimes end up in places you did not intend to go.

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