Sexual permission slip

Both Ecstasy is Necessary by Barbara Carrellas and Healing Sex by Staci Haines talk about the concept of a sexual permission slip. Given our culture around sex and consent, you might think that this would be a document written to outline what acts you give others permission to engage in with you, but you’d be wrong. The permission slip is about giving yourself permission to create the sex life that you want for yourself. Many of us, especially those of us healing from sexual trauma, struggle with giving ourselves permission around sex, permission to talk about it like it is important, permission to have the boundaries that we want and need, and even permission to masturbate. Rather, we may deny ourselves permission to be fully ourselves.

Writing out your own sexual permission slip can help you to recognise areas of comfort and discomfort around sex. For example, while I have always been comfortable talking about sex with partners and even acquaintances, there have been times when I did not give myself permission to feel all the emotions that came up for me with sex, or to ask for what I really needed after sex. Comfort around sex is also non-linear. For example, your connection with one person may help you to feel free with your sexuality with them, but you there may be other areas of difficulty in your life, such as masturbation or connection with a different lover. Your sexual permission slip can highlight areas of uneven comfort and give you space to examine them more closely.

You may well want to create your own permission slip with items that make sense to you, but this one gives you a general gist of what you might include.


I _________________________ give myself permission to fully explore and express my sexuality. This includes choosing where, when, how and with whom I want to express myself. Specifically, I give myself permission to:

  • Talk about sex, pleasure and connection like it is really important
  • Ask questions of myself and my partners to explore the meaning of sex for me and the meanings created between us
  • To acknowledge all the feelings that I am having during sex and to take care of them in whatever way I need to in those moments and that serves me the best.
  • To have and maintain the sexual boundaries that I need to stay safe, whatever they are and whether or not they make any sense to anyone but me.
  • To laugh and cry during sex.
  • To do sex differently than my friends and peers do and to want different things from sex.
  • To be in my body during sex.
  • To experience comfort, joy, shame, intensity, connection and discomfort during safe, sane and consensual sex.
  • To keep sex just for myself, for as long as I want and whenever I want.
  • To say yes, no and maybe to sex, and not explain why unless I want to.
  • To figure out what I need before sex, during sex and after sex and to have my needs met.
  • To trust my instincts even when others don’t like it.
  • To use sex as a vehicle to explore sensations in my body or the connection between myself and another person or something else entirely.
  • Not to have sex at all for as long as I want and whenever I want.

You, ________________________, are granted full permission express your complex and multifaceted sexuality on your own terms. Enjoy!


Signed ______________________________

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