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The Wheel of Consent

Updated: 2 hours ago

I have learned a great deal since begining Sensual Bodyworks in 2019 which now seems a lifetime ago. The learning never stops and it's an ongoing process and mistakes have been made along the way, but something I came across early on was the Wheel of Consent. It really helped me frame how I worked and I think it can be of use to many people, especially if exploring with others.


The Wheel of Consent was designed as a tool to help individuals understand and navigate the dynamics of giving and receiving in both personal and professional relationships.


Who developed the Wheel of Consent?

The Wheel of Consent was developed by Dr. Betty Martin, a sexological bodyworker, and educator and author of "The Art of Giving and Recieving". As the name suggests, The Wheel of Consent focuses on the importance of consent, with the use of clear communication and agreement to achieve it. It can be used in everyday interactions, but is of particular relevance for intamcy with others and for therapy amongst other uses.


Betty Martin's approach, with the Wheels of Consent and using the 3 Minute Game described later, has become a respected method for exploring and teaching the nuances of consent and personal interaction in a simple, direct, and practical way.


What are the 4 segments of the wheel of consent?

The wheel consists of four main segments: Giving, Receiving, Taking, and Allowing.

  1. Giving: To actively offer or offer up something to someone else.

  2. Receiving: To accept or receive something from someone else.

  3. Taking: To take something from someone without their explicit consent.

  4. Allowing: To allow someone to do something to you without actively participating.


The wheel emphasises that exchanges should be based on mutual consent, and that everyone involved should be fully aware of and comfortable with the interaction they're engaging in. Understanding the wheel and it's 4 segments can help people have clear and open conversations about what they do want but also their boundaries.


What are the benefits of the Wheel of Consent?

The Wheel of Consent helps facilitate communication and understanding around consent. BDSM and other forms of sexual play. The wheel helps individuals to understand and communicate their desires, boundaries, and limits in a clear and concise manner. By using the wheel, individuals can:

  1. Clarify their own desires and boundaries: The wheel helps individuals to understand what they are comfortable with and what they are not, and to communicate this to their partner(s).

  2. Communicate with their partner(s): The wheel provides a framework for having open and honest conversations about consent, and for ensuring that all parties involved are aware of and comfortable with the level of interaction they are engaging in.

  3. Ensure mutual consent: The wheel emphasizes that all BDSM and sexual play should be based on mutual consent, and that all parties involved should be aware of and comfortable with the level of interaction they are engaging in.

  4. Prioritise safety: The wheel helps to ensure that all BDSM and sexual play is safe and respectful for all parties involved.

Overall, the Wheel of Consent is a useful tool for promoting open communication, mutual understanding, and mutual respect. By using the wheel, individuals can ensure that their interactions are fulfilling, safe, and respectful for all parties involved.

The 3 minute game

The 3 Minute Game is designed to help individuals learn about their own preferences and boundaries, as well as how to communicate these to others.


The game is very simple and involves two people taking turns asking each other two questions:

  1. "How do you want to touch me for three minutes?" (Where one person asks how they can touch the other person in a way that pleases the asker.)

  2. "How do you want me to touch you for three minutes?" (Where one person asks how they can touch the other person in a way that pleases the recipient.)

The responses and actions are timed to last only three minutes. The objective is not sexual gratification but to explore and communicate one's desires and boundaries clearly.


The 3 Minute Game serves several purposes:

  1. Exploring Consent: It helps participants understand and practice consent, emphasizing that consent is not only about saying yes or no but also about knowing and communicating what one truly wants.

  2. Communication: It encourages clear and honest communication between partners, an essential skill in all relationships.

  3. Self-awareness: It fosters a deeper understanding of one's own preferences and comfort levels.

  4. Boundary Setting: It teaches people how to set and respect boundaries.


While the game can be used in intimate or therapeutic settings, its principles are broadly applicable in teaching the dynamics of consent and interpersonal communication in various contexts, such as education, counseling, and personal development workshops. It's an effective tool for enhancing empathy and respect in relationships, contributing to healthier and more mindful interactions.


Where to find out more?

If you would like to find out more there are a few options. You can hear Betty Martin herself in the video below as well as reading her book "The Art of Giving and Recieving".

There are a number of excellent practitioners in the UK offering workshops and events where you can learn, experience and practice with likeminded individuals.



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