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Pleasure, #metoo and a lecture on how to be good in bed – the Consent Collective are coming to Edinburgh

They’re hosting a series of free events this week

Seen the "How to be good in bed" leaflets around campus and wondered what they're all about? Meet the Consent Collective – the people who think they can teach you to be a better lover.

The Consent Collective is a not-for-profit organisation helping people to understand and talk about sexual harassment, consent, relationships, gender, sexual violence and domestic abuse. This week they're running some exciting events in Edinburgh, including workshops on surviving university life and sex, intimacy and relationships, for any student who has experienced any form of sexual or domestic abuse or violence. They're also putting on an innovative panel show called "How to be good in bed", where you can ask all your burning questions relating to consent, pleasure, power and relationships to a panel of experts.

I managed to meet with the lovely people organising the events to find out more about it.

What is the Consent Collective?

The Consent Collective was started by Dr Nina Burrowes, a psychologist who specialises in sexual violence, sexuality and gender. In recent months she has put together the idea of a collective of people, with different strengths and different backgrounds, who can go out and do different work around consent, sex and relationships, and power, aiming to start conversations around these issues and to provide support to those who are affected by them.

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What are the aims of the events in Edinburgh?

Nina Millns, the host of "How to be good in bed", explained the importance of reaching out to students.

“This is one of the first projects that we have developed because it is really important for us to reach out to students, as the age group, from about 18 to 25, is the most vulnerable in terms of experiencing sexual and domestic violence” she said.

“It’s an epidemic on a global scale and no one really knows who to turn to, and the organisations that are there are so under-resourced so theres such a huge need for it.”

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The organisers of the Consent Collective

What will the events be like?

"How to be good in bed" is a panel show featuring Dr Nina Burrowes, Tanaka Mhishi (a poet and theatre performer with a background in working in sexual violence), Jade Swaby, an independent sexual violence advocate for West London Rape Crisis, and a special guest from the University of Edinburgh. Tanaka emphasised that the show is all about having fun and creating a low pressure environment to ask all your burning questions surrounding sex, consent and relationships, from “What’s the psychology of good sex?” to “Are there grey areas in consent?”

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Two workshops will also be offered. "Surviving University" is for anyone who has experienced sexual or domestic violence, and aims to guide people to the resources available to them as well as enable people to meet others with similar experiences and create a supportive community in Edinburgh. The other, "Pleasure after pain", is also for people who have experienced sexual or domestic violence, but aims to provide advice on how to heal and move towards being able to experience sexual pleasure again.

Who can come?

The events are open to anyone and everyone – Nina emphasises that the events are “open to anyone of any gender, everyone is welcome, and we are not going to police what anyone’s experience is. If they feel that there is a need to be there, then they are welcome.”

The Consent Collective urge people to never feel that their experience of sexual or domestic abuse or violence isn't valid – Jade also pointed out that “if you are questioning it, then the chances are that you should be there, and nobody has to make any disclosures. It is about bringing to this space what you feel comfortable with.”

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What support is available?

Representatives from organisations such as Rape Crisis and Women’s Aid, as well as counsellors and members of the university’s sabbatical team will be on hand and clearly identified at all the events to provide advice and support. The organisations are local so that you can access ongoing support once the Consent Collective events are over.

What's next for the Consent Collective?

The Consent Collective currently only have plans to work with four or five other universities, in order to provide the best possible level of help and support and to sustain relationships with those that they work with. They are also doing work with business corporations and are hoping to expand to schools and even festivals, as well as being in talks about coming back to Edinburgh in the spring – so look out for more exciting and informative events in the future!

Visit the Consent Collective website to book your free tickets for the events.

If you have any more questions you can get in touch with the Consent Collective by emailing [email protected], or you can get in touch via Twitter or visit their Facebook page.