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Ask: Building Consent Culture

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  241 ratings  ·  51 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 Thornapple Press (first published 2017)
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Average rating 4.16  · 
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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
Kitty Stryker
May 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: radical
Of course I love this, it's my book. But more to the point, the essays in here are really fantastic and honest, the voices here are diverse and fierce. ...more
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 people abou
Nathan Albright
Mar 07, 2021 rated it did not like it
Shelves: challenge-2021
This is a book full of asymmetries, and they exist in a way that does not reflect well on the editor or the various contributors to the book. And in many ways, these asymmetries point to some of the larger asymmetries that exist when it comes to matters of morality and understanding. For example, one of the writers in this book speaks somewhat contemptuously about the way that the late Rush Limbaugh understood that for the contemporary left, all that is necessary to please the moral sensibilitie ...more
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.
Isaac Cross
Jun 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Review by Jordyn ( and Fox (
Edited by Isaac Cross (

Read the full review at

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
Joey Mopsink
Jan 26, 2020 rated it liked it
Giving this a solid 3 out of 5. Kitty Stryker just kind of makes me feel... tired. As other people have stated, the introduction is very self-aggrandizing (a white woman bragging about how many people of color she got to contribute is not a great look). Also, you named your cat Foucault? Really?

As for the essays, it’s a mixed bag. Some are very good and thought provoking, even fun (the ones on LARPing and wrestling). Some helped me understand my own experiences, esp. the very first one, on cons
Should be required reading for every teenager and adult. The essays included are amazing.
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. ...more
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.
Daniel Schulte
Mar 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Surprise! This book is all about consent. I bet you never would've guessed that one, right? What you might've not guessed is that this book doesn't just talk about consent in the context of sexuality.

It brings us pregnancy, giving birth, and having your birth plans respected and obeyed (which they often aren't).

It brings us feeling safe in gaming spaces (such as LARPing) and how explaining rules, acceptable behaviors, and agreed-upon safe words can help everyone to relax and have a good time bec
Shelley Diamond
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 Coleman
4. Rehearsing Conse
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. ...more
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 Jail; In the Workplace; In
Aug 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A quite enjoyable and eye opening series of essays that vividly illustrates how coercive Western culture really is. These essays give really good examples of how including consent could make for a more integrated and considered society where a real equality might be possible. It was inspiring. I hope you’ll consider reading it for yourself and everyone who you hold dearly in your life.
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, regardless
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
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.
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.
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. ...more
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
Shelves: non-fiction
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 a Life Skill: Se
Jan 30, 2020 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: consent-culture
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
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
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“We propose that families built on consent start from the premise that human beings attach to one another—and when we attach, we then want to make choices that support the relationship and the people in it.” 3 likes
“What I hope to create with this anthology and with my work generally is a living demonstration on how to admit when a fuck-up occurs and how to pursue a restorative justice model when seeking to resolve conflict.” 2 likes
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