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Welcome to #AskCam, a column where sex and intersectionality are not divided but welcomed together.

  Dear Cam, How exactly do I address consent in casual relationship settings? If I'm in a longer-standing relationship, I'm not embarrassed or ashamed to talk about literally any topic....but if I go on one date with someone and I'm not vibing them then they kiss me or grope me or touch me in some way that my body is adverse, I get uncomfortable and can't find the words to defend myself in the moment. Sometimes it's because I shut down, other times I just prefer the out that I can ghost them and use that as a way to avoid the in-person confrontation. If I don't know the person at all, I'm fine. You creep on me at the bar or catcall me I'm telling you to your face to not sexually harass me, but it's this weird in between where I almost feel a sense of either guilt, or obligation, or fear that clouds my ability to speak out. -Casual Consent   Dear Casual Consent, I think your question is an increasingly important one. There's so much conversation lately about the ways that desirability, consent, and autonomy spill over into our everyday (*ahem* sexual) lives, and I think that we don't really allow much space for navigating these things in ways that are free of confusion and awkwardness. When I first read your letter, I immediately thought that this wasn't so much a question of consent itself – you already seem to have a firm grasp on that – to me, your question speaks more about boundaries. Boundaries are a tricky thing in itself – for women and people who have been conditioned and socialized as femme folks, we've been brought up with this idea that other people's needs should come before our own. Empathy and compassion for others are admirable traits, but because conversations about autonomy and boundaries weren't accompanied, the message that most of us received was that what we want and need aren't as important as our partner's wants and needs, whether they identify as cis-het men or not.
Related: HOW SEXUALITY IS CRUCIAL FOR INTERSECTIONALITY: AN INTRODUCTION

Claws shows us how Black women deserve to explore the scope of their sexuality without scrutiny or consequence.

It's New Year's Eve in Palmetto, Florida. Desna Simms, played masterfully by Niecy Nash, haphazardly pulls into the vacant parking lot in front of the strip of neighborhood businesses, one of which is her soon-to-be-bustling nail salon, Nail Artisans of Manatee County. There, she meets her fellow nail technicians and friends, Jen (Jenn Lyon) and Quiet Ann (Judy Reyes). Before she can fully exit her ivory Lexus, the first emotion you immediately register from her is unmitigated excitement. Desna takes a moment to show off the lacy black catsuit that she plans to don for that night's festivities – the one that's going to lovingly embrace every single curve of her body. And as she playfully struts up and down her bit of asphalt while the rising South Floridian sun kisses her brown skin, I'm in awe of the way that Clawswithin the first minute of its inaugural episode, Tirana – commits to giving Black women the freedom to unabashedly revel in their sexuality.
Related: BLACK AND BROWN SISTERS ARE DOING VISUAL MEDIA FOR THEMSELVES

Ask Cam is not going to be a sexuality column that you're used to - it is a space where sex and intersectionality are not divided but welcomed together.

As intersectionality becomes more of a buzzword and an opportunity for mainstream (*ahem* white feminism) to co-opt Black-specific labor, I can't help but see similarities between social justice activism and how we explore, talk about, and navigate issues of sexuality. I've written before about how sexuality affects how we view our identities and navigate the larger world. But in my time exploring how social justice affects marginalized people, I find that we rarely have space to talk about how sexuality plays into all of this. And not just the basics of the act of sex - the where, how, or how long? How does social justice and intersectional spaces make space for us to navigate the nuances of this, the cracks of sexuality where identity, internalized oppression, and individual awkwardness spill together to create something new?
Related: SEX EDUCATION CENTERS WHITENESS — AND IT’S A PROBLEM

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