Can We Talk About Consent?

My latest book is Can We Talk About Consent? It’s a book about freedom, choices, and agreement. Where you can learn about how to actually do consent, rather than just being lectured about how important it is. The illustrations, by Fuchsia Macaree, are amazing.

Can we talk about consent a book about freedom choices and agreement
Can we talk about consent?

Consent is more than just a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’. It’s about freedom, choices, and agreement in our everyday lives (it’s not just about sex). It’s about self-consent, how you can work out what you want for yourself (via choosing a pizza) and why that is tricky, even when it’s just you. 

There’s a lot of practical advice on how to do things more consensually with other people, like what TV show you want to watch together. There’s lots about on-going communication and how to make sure that you are happy with your choices and having a nice time. You will learn how to give the best (consensual) greetings – no more awkward hugs or missed high fives. There is a bit about sex but it’s not a sex book and there’s a lot of warning before you get to the sex bits: hashtag consent. 

Me chatting about the book

Then we have a section on how to do consent in groups, like deciding who plays in goal (not just the person with the biggest hands). It’s also about politics and how we can use our freedoms and choices to help everyone else in the world have more freedoms and choices. At the end there are worksheets for you to think some more about power and privilege, as well as figuring out what chocolate bar you buy next time you’re in a shop.  

Sometimes the book is pretty serious but it’s also friendly and helpful. Also the illustrations are beautiful and really funny. It’s available now for pre-order worldwide at your local bookshop, or online at the usual places. More detail on this here.

A bit more info about the book

Here’s a bit more of a summary of it so that you can make your mind up about whether you buy it (or get someone else to buy it for you).

I went for a pizza. Taken from can we talk about consent. Text © 2021 Justin Hancock. Illustrations © 2021 Fuchsia MacAree.
I went for a pizza

As you can see a lot of this is about pizza, I just really like pizza. When I found out that this book was going to be published I went for a celebratory pizza. I was thinking that freedom and choices starts with us – self-consent. So the first chapter is about why tuning into our own wants and needs is important. The second chapter expands on that to talk about agency – which is our power to make decisions and how that is interlinked with other people and society.

Agency Taken from can we talk about consent. Text © 2021 Justin Hancock. Illustrations © 2021 Fuchsia MacAree.
Agency, or clout, or ooooompf

Most of the book is about doing this with other people of course. In these chapters we learn about how we can help everyone to tune into what they want and need. Then thinking about the many ways we can do things together more consensually. This is my favourite illustration in the book.

Doing things with other people. Taken from can we talk about consent. Text © 2021 Justin Hancock. Illustrations © 2021 Fuchsia MacAree.
Doing things with other people.

From eating a pizza with someone else, or watching something on TV. Rather than just say ‘consent is important’ or ‘consent is non-negotiable’ I give practical examples on how we can actually do it and what consent might feel like.

There’s a chapter on how to ask

Taken from can we talk about consent. Text © 2021 Justin Hancock. Illustrations © 2021 Fuchsia MacAree. How to ask
How to ask

and also (sadly) a chapter on ‘no’ (both saying and hearing a ‘no’).

About no. Taken from can we talk about consent. Text © 2021 Justin Hancock. Illustrations © 2021 Fuchsia MacAree.
About no

And one on how to do more consensual interactions. No, not the sex bit, I said I’d give you a warning when we get to that bit. This one is about greetings. Shout out to everyone I’ve done the handshakes workshop with at school (I came up with that with my mate Meg-John).

Consensual greetings. Taken from can we talk about consent. Text © 2021 Justin Hancock. Illustrations © 2021 Fuchsia MacAree.
Consensual greetings

And then yes, here’s the bit about how you can put all this into practice if you ever decide (or can) have sex with someone. Just like on this website, there are lots of practical ideas about how you can communicate before, during, and after sex. You don’t have to read this bit if you don’t want to, just skip on to the next chapter.

The sex bit. Taken from can we talk about consent. Text © 2021 Justin Hancock. Illustrations © 2021 Fuchsia MacAree.
The sex bit

Then there’s the bit about just not doing something, even when there’s so much pressure to do something. Often it’s best just just shrug and be like

Meh, let's not. Taken from can we talk about consent. Text © 2021 Justin Hancock. Illustrations © 2021 Fuchsia MacAree.
meh, let’s not

How do you put all of this into practice when you’re doing things in groups? If you’re going to the pictures, or playing football, or just organising yourselves generally.

Consent in groups. Taken from can we talk about consent. Text © 2021 Justin Hancock. Illustrations © 2021 Fuchsia MacAree.
Consent in groups

Then at the end of the book we look at politics and identity and how these are barriers but also opportunities for freedom and collective agency. Firstly looking at the different messages we receive about our own freedom depending on our gender.

Gender. Taken from can we talk about consent. Text © 2021 Justin Hancock. Illustrations © 2021 Fuchsia MacAree.
Gender

Then looking at how inequality and oppression means that ‘agency’ is not fairly distributed in society.

How 'isms' make consent harder. Taken from can we talk about consent. Text © 2021 Justin Hancock. Illustrations © 2021 Fuchsia MacAree.

Which means that if we act in solidarity with other people we can increase everyone’s freedoms and agency.

Empower each other with consent. Taken from can we talk about consent. Text © 2021 Justin Hancock. Illustrations © 2021 Fuchsia MacAree.
Empower each other with consent

There’s also a set of worksheets at the back to help you to put these into practice. Also there’s a glossary where I explain some of the key phrases and really bad Uncle jokes I make throughout.

Where to buy

It’s published on 5th January 2021 and will be available at all good bookshops, on and offline. You know, in real life. It costs around £8.99.

It would really really help me and the popularity of the book if you pre-ordered it. Just search for ‘Can We Talk About Consent?’ using your favourite internet search engine. You could also find it at these websites that share out their sales with independent book shops: like Bookshop or Hive. Or you can get it at the usual places like Amazon (please review it there) and Waterstones.

You can also find more information at the publishers website Quarto.

Also if you could please share it on social media with everyone and help me get the word out there I’d be very very grateful.

Text © 2021 Justin Hancock. Illustrations © 2021 Fuchsia MacAree.

I've written "Can We Talk About Consent - A Book About freedom, choices, and agreement." It's about how to choose your perfect pizza, what to watch on TV, who plays in goal, politics, rights, and yeah also a bit about sex. The illustrations are beautiful and hilarious.

Out in January but please.....