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“Yes Means Yes,” and Other Ways Consent Is Sexy: A Quick Guide

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Patricia Elzie-Tuttle

Contributing Editor

Patricia Elzie-Tuttle is a writer, podcaster, librarian, and information fanatic who appreciates potatoes in every single one of their beautiful iterations. Patricia earned a B.A. in Creative Writing and Musical Theatre from the University of Southern California and an MLIS from San Jose State University. Her weekly newsletter, Enthusiastic Encouragement & Dubious Advice offers self-improvement and mental health advice, essays, and resources that pull from her experience as a queer, Black, & Filipina person existing in the world. She is also doing the same on the Enthusiastic Encouragement & Dubious Advice Podcast. More of her written work can also be found in Body Talk: 37 Voices Explore Our Radical Anatomy edited by Kelly Jensen, and, if you’re feeling spicy, in Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 4 edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel. Patricia has been a Book Riot contributor since 2016 and is currently co-host of the All the Books! podcast and one of the weekly writers of the Read This Book newsletter. She lives in Oakland, CA on unceded Ohlone land with her wife and a positively alarming amount of books. Find her on her Instagram, Bluesky, and LinkTree.

Today’s pick is a small but mighty nonfiction comic book on a subject that is important for everyone to know, especially for and even beyond its human sexuality applications.

Book cover of A Quick & Easy Guide to Consent by Isabella Rotman & colors by Luke B. Howard

A Quick & Easy Guide to Consent by Isabella Rotman, with colors by Luke B. Howard

I am a huge fan of the Quick & Easy Guides put out by Limerence Press. They are unintimidating, clear, concise, and fairly inexpensive, so they aren’t only good, impactful reads, but they may also be easy to buy extra copies to give to others. I definitely did that with the Quick & Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns as well as the one on Queer & Trans Identities.

As it says in the title, this installment is about consent — specifically consent in sex, relationships, and other physical contact. The information in this book is far from the often common and sometimes oversimplified “no means no” advice. This book focuses on and reinforces enthusiastic, informed, active consent, also referred to as “yes means yes.” Affirmative consent means that whatever the people involved are doing, they are all truly interested in doing it. This framework focuses on people wanting to do something and not just willing to do something.

Our guide through this book is Sargent Yes Means Yes from the Consent Cavalry. They are witty and charming, and I would venture to say that this book is probably more explicit consent training than most people get. One of the most important things is that this book is really positive. It’s less about danger around every corner and more about how consent is not only good and necessary, but getting and giving consent can also be fun and sexy in itself.

This book doesn’t really cover laws, because laws vary and are dependent on many things, such as time and geographic location. This book does, however, make it very clear that consent is for all gender identities, and the people drawn in this comic are diverse with regard to race, gender, and orientation. Sexual violence is definitely discussed, but there are no visual depictions or graphic descriptions.

If you are thinking to yourself, “How can there be a whole entire book, even a small book, on consent?” then it might be in your best interest to read this book!

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