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Ask: Building Consent Culture

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  144 ratings  ·  36 reviews
Have you ever heard the phrase “It’s easier to ask forgiveness than permission?” Violating consent isn’t limited to sexual relationships, and our discussions around consent shouldn’t be, either. To resist rape culture, we need a consent culture—and one that is more than just reactionary. Left confined to intimate spaces, consent will atrophy as theory that is never put int ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published October 27th 2017 by Thorntree Press (first published 2017)
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Average rating 4.17  · 
Rating details
 ·  144 ratings  ·  36 reviews

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Aug 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Kitty has edited a book that provides a unique conversation on consent by discussing it as it relates to sex, law, society, government, mental health, cosplay, and other areas. Ask does not deliver its message with a gentle approach; it is in your face, it is radical, political, it tears down the culture in order to rebuild it. Ask is in your face, and it is exactly what we need.

In a conscious effort to include diversity, Kitty first approached oft-ignored non-white and non-cisgender
Jun 12, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: anthology, consent
Giving this 2 stars because there are a handful of essays in here that are genuinely well-developed and thought provoking (the essay about consent in LARPing immediately comes to mind). But the anthology itself is kind of a mess. First, the smug as hell introduction talking about how this anthology "does diversity" better than other anthologies. While I appreciate the commitment to working with a diverse group of writers on this project, it rubs me the wrong way to read a white person bragging a ...more
Isaac Cross
Jun 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Review by Jordyn ( and Fox (
Edited by Isaac Cross (

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Ask is taking the phrase ‘it is easier to ask forgiveness than permission’, and rephrasing it to ‘if you don’t ask, the answer is always no’. The book takes all the sides of consent culture that might not be immediately apparent and pieces them together, to create a story with multiple angles of the issues outside the bedroom and opens the door to discussion about how to move f
Jan 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I don't normally write reviews but I want to recommend this book to EVERYONE. I randomly saw it at my library the other day and picked it up by chance and just - wow. This was truly my first introduction to the concept of consent culture (at least, in any defined way) and it was an excellent one. The essays and contributors and their stories are so varied and interesting and give some and introspective crucial queer/POC/womens' voices, and truly show how our current rape culture permeates and af ...more
Audacia Ray
Tired of all the reactive hot takes about whatever celebrity is currently under fire for consent-violating behavior but want good and provocative writing about consent and rape culture? READ THIS BOOK. It’s vital. Clear arguments, real ideas about the interpersonal work that needs doing to end rape culture.
Terri Strange
Apr 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
A few informative essays interspersed with really weird, unrelatable and not relevant to what I'd hoped the content was.
Should be required reading for every teenager and adult. The essays included are amazing.
Nov 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was a really good collection of essays about consent across most aspects of life. However I was left wanting more.
Nov 09, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5 stars!
This is fantastic. If you’ve been following conversations about consent in relation to sex, this book will take you to the next level. Almost every essay had me wanting to pull out my highlighter.
Nov 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a helpful crash course in consent, beyond the "permission-seeking" its generally understood to be in popular culture. While I found the writing inconsistent in quality and helpfulness, having authors from a variety of identities and experiences is so important. Thanks to @alicia for recommending this last year.
Jan 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
When I saw on Facebook that Kitty Stryker was drumming up publicity for her new book Ask: Building Consent Culture, I was immediately curious to read it. Wanting to support what seemed like a worthy project, I also invited her to come on my weekly radio show Eros Evolution, and you can find the interview here.

To prepare for the radio interview, I opened her book to realise that it was separated into seven well thought out sections: In the Bedroom; In the School; In the Ja
Ryan Brady
Oct 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I had a brief conversation with Kitty Stryker after reading the book, and she said "part of what I wanted was to raise questions and make people think about consent in new ways." She has absolutely achieved that goal with this book.

The way that consent is approached in this book is revolutionary. Instead of looking at consent as a legal barrier delineating crime from acceptable behavior, the essays explore how consent permeates every aspect of our lives, and how violations of consent
Maggie Gordon
Jul 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Ask: Building a Consent Culture is one of those books that starts an important conversation, but is not going to be the most powerful part of that conversation. Stryker has gathered a number of people to discuss what consent looks like outside of just sex, and that's an important issue to parce through. On the other hand, many of these articles are very short and light on analysis. Most are very focused on specific situations rather than consent as a whole. There are lots of interesting ideas ar ...more
Anneke Alnatour
I gave this read 5 stars, even though I did not find all the essays as informative as others. However, combined it is such a valuable, and inspiring, resource. It really leaves me thinking about consent in ways that I have never considered consent before. Especially as a white, cis woman it is important to read about perspectives of other people.

So valuable and so recommended.
Danni Green
Apr 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is everything I hoped it would be and then some! The contributors were really intentional about making sure that the voices of contributors who are trans and/or people of color are represented. The perspectives illustrate a wide range of contexts in which to consider consent culture, both theoretically and practically. Highly recommend.
Feb 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The sections of this book start with consent in the bedroom, which seems natural enough, but it could have started in its reverse with the last chapter, Consent in the Community. And Carol Queen's afterword first.
A useful primer on consent in different areas of life and ideas for combatting rape culture.
Naomi Rodman
Apr 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Interesting, relevant and important anthology that covers a wide range of topics quite concisely. Would suggest for young people and those raising them.
Sep 25, 2019 rated it it was ok
I checked Ask: Building Consent Culture with the hope that I may gain insight in how to talk and teach consent with my family. What I got was a grab-bag of essays of varying quality that may or may not directly discuss consent.

The six essays I thought most useful or thought provoking are:

"Sex and Love When You Hate Yourself and Don't Have Your Shit Together" by Joellen Notte, for tackling mental illness, love, and consent. That also ties in well with Sez Thomasin's essay "Sex Is
Dec 09, 2018 rated it liked it
I truly struggle to rate and critique this book, but with a gentle hand, I'll try. I thought the concept of this was incredible when I first picked it up. As a sexual assault survivor, I want nothing more than consent culture to be radiated through our society. Many of the stories in this anthology touched on that in ways I'd never even thought to think of consent. Even as the person I am, they made me think I could do better to seek consent in every day life. Where I struggle is that some of th ...more
Sep 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: consent

Damn, this is one hell of a book.

A collection of short essays on consent, this book covers a lot of topics. Ideas around consent and paying for porn, consent and teenage bullying, consent and medical care. There is an article on consent and LARPing, one on consent and race, several on consent and polyamory.

I won't say I loved every single essay in the collection but the ones I did like, I absolutely am obsessing over. These are all written by good, artic
I have a mixed response to this book of essays. It's pretty uneven, quality-wise, but an important conversation. I found many of the essays forgettable but a few --"The Kids Aren't All Right: Consent and Our Miranda Rights" by Navarre Overton, "Bodily Autonomy for Kids" by Akilah S. Richards, "Giving Birth When Black" by Takeallah Rivera, and "Wrestling with Consent (and Also Other Wrestlers)" by Jetta Rae-- enlightening, informative, and memorable. I'll keep thinking on those and I'm hopeful th ...more
Kayleigh Cassidy
Apr 02, 2019 rated it liked it
This collection of essays addresses consent culture in a diverse and empowering way. The fact that the following quote; "each of us deserves respect, and consensual sexual behaviour should never be a source of shame" appears at the end of Carol Queen's afterword is significant because it is the essence at the core of each chapter.

An educational read tackling a very relevant subject. When writing is activism, it makes a stance to change something and there is all that power in this book. I defin
Oct 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Intelligent set of essays on the subject. The essays don't just focus on consent in terms of sexual activity, they also address consent in all areas of human life. Very thought-provoking.

I particularly liked the first six essays:
1. Sex and Love When You Hate Yourself and Don't Have Your Shit Together by JoEllen Notte
2. The Legal Framework of Consent is Worthless by AV Flox
3. The Political is Personal: A Critique of What Popular Culture Teaches about Consent by Porscha Co
Apr 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a must read for EVERYONE. The essays in this book challenged me to confront the ways in which I have violated consent, and reckon with the ways in which society makes consent impossible. The inclusive cast of authors had me thinking about consent at work, in healthcare, with lovers, and in families. Every person will take something profound away from reading Ask, something that will bring our world a little closer to manifesting consent culture.
Claire Bracegirdle
Aug 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own-read, non-fiction
Jan 22, 2019 rated it liked it
Great ideas, not great writing.
Katrina Hamann
Jul 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
“Consent culture can be seen as a love practice, a practice of seeing all humans as sacred”
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