Bethany Saltman’s capacity for deep thinking and profound analysis has been extraordinarily helpful to me as she has undertaken research on my behalf. She uses her fine mind with galvanizing energy; she is meticulous, broad-ranging, and original, and I count myself lucky to work with her.
-- Andrew Solomon, President, PEN Foundation, author of Far from the Tree, Noonday Demon, and many others
“There are some conversations happening that are about the joy of consent. And that’s the conversation I would like to bring forward; consent is a path to kindness and pleasure in our bodies and in ourselves. We shouldn’t be looking at sexual delight as something that needs to be hidden in these dark recesses of desire. There’s definitely something to mystery, but I think that the more enlightened we become as a culture, the more we’ll see that we can be really honest with ourselves and allow for all the variation that is part of human sexuality and and still have a rockin’ good time. And what it means to be joyful and really saying yes to ourselves, especially as women. Because in order to say ‘yes’ you have to really want sex.”
Video interview on We Thrive TV at motheringanddaughtering.com
Bethany Saltman drafted the nation’s first “affirmative consent” policy at Antioch College in the 90s. That means she’s been having the #metoo conversion and talking about the politics of pleasure for a good long time.
“It can be really hard to say yes,” Ms. Saltman said. “You have to be so brazenly wanting sex to say yes.”
I mean to me it’s so obvious, it’s so not a big deal, it’s like instead of ‘did she say no, did you ask?’
“Saltman presents our early relationships with our parents as a scattering of tea leaves from which we can predict all our future relationships, both with our children and others.”
Separate, connect. Separate, connect. It’s the primal dance of finding ourselves in another, and another in ourselves.
I have always believed that the policy we wrote was semiotically profound, emotionally powerful, and culturally transformative. And yet I have also looked back at that time at Antioch with some personal chagrin, even shame, embarrassed to have been riding my high horse so publicly.
Though at the time, it was annoying and even embarrassing, I can now appreciate my dad’s relentless pursuit of his own vision, asking the waitress at Big Boy to bring a bowl of lemons so he could fix up the hollandaise he ordered in copious amounts on the side of his Eggs Benedict.