In this section, we offer explanations in the context of LotC to questions of consent, age of consent, grooming, and sexual harassment.
What is Consent?
“Sexual consent is an agreement to participate in a sexual activity. Before being sexual with someone, you need to know if they want to be sexual with you too. It’s also important to be honest with your partner about what you want and don’t want.
Consenting and asking for consent are all about setting your personal boundaries and respecting those of your partner — and checking in if things aren’t clear. Both people must agree to sex — every single time — for it to be consensual.
Without consent, sexual activity (including oral sex, genital touching, and vaginal or anal penetration) is sexual assault or rape.
Consent is easy as FRIES:
Freely given. Consenting is a choice you make without pressure, manipulation, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Reversible. Anyone can change their mind about what they feel like doing, anytime. Even if you’ve done it before, and even if you’re both naked in bed.
Informed. You can only consent to something if you have the full story. For example, if someone says they’ll use a condom and then they don’t, there isn’t full consent.
Enthusiastic. When it comes to sex, you should only do stuff you WANT to do, not things that you feel you’re expected to do.
Specific. Saying yes to one thing (like going to the bedroom to make out) doesn’t mean you’ve said yes to others (like having sex).
You get the final say over what happens with your body. It doesn’t matter if you’ve hooked up before or even if you said yes earlier and then changed your mind. You’re allowed to say “stop” at any time, and your partner needs to respect that.
Consent is never implied by things like your past behavior, what you wear, or where you go. Sexual consent is always clearly communicated — there should be no question or mystery. Silence is not consent. And it’s not just important the first time you’re with someone. Couples who’ve had sex before or even ones who’ve been together for a long time also need to consent before sex — every time.
There are laws about who can consent and who can’t. People who are drunk, high, or passed out can’t consent to sex. There are also laws to protect minors (people under the age of 18) from being pressured into sex with someone much older than them.”
This can all be very confusing in an online context. Although you may not engage in physical activities with anyone on the server, consent is still required before engaging in things like sexting, erotic roleplay, and other sexual exchanges. These all fall under the category of “sex” as defined by PlannedParenthood.
What is the Age of Consent?
“The age of sexual consent is how old a person needs to be in order to be considered legally capable of consenting to sex. Adults who have sex with someone younger than the age of consent face jail time and being registered as a sex offender. The age of consent varies in different parts of the U.S. and in different countries.”
Lord of the Craft identifies the Age of Consent as 18, under UK, US, and international internet laws. Anyone under 18 may not consent to any sexual activities. Romeo and Juliet laws are a gray area and are not acknowledged in online laws. Sexting and exchanging nude photos is still considered child pornography. 18 is a minimum, and may not be accepted in your locality. Local laws still apply.
What is Grooming?
“One tool common to those who sexually abuse kids is grooming: manipulative behaviors that the abuser uses to gain access to a potential victim, coerce them to agree to the abuse, and reduce the risk of being caught. While these tactics are used most often against younger kids, teens and vulnerable adults are also at risk.
Grooming can take place online or in-person. It’s usually employed by a family member or someone else in the victim’s circle of trust, such as a coach, teacher, youth group leader or others who naturally have some interaction with the victim.
Though grooming can take many different forms, it often follows a similar pattern.
Victim selection: Abusers often observe possible victims and select them based on ease of access to them or their perceived vulnerability.
Gaining access and isolating the victim: Abusers will attempt to physically or emotionally separate a victim from those protecting them and often seek out positions in which they have contact with minors.
Trust development and keeping secrets: Abusers attempt to gain trust of a potential victim through gifts, attention, sharing “secrets” and other means to make them feel that they have a caring relationship and to train them to keep the relationship secret.
Desensitization to touch and discussion of sexual topics: Abusers will often start to touch a victim in ways that appear harmless, such as hugging, wrestling and tickling, and later escalate to increasingly more sexual contact, such as massages or showering together. Abusers may also show the victim pornography or discuss sexual topics with them, to introduce the idea of sexual contact.
Attempt by abusers to make their behavior seem natural, to avoid raising suspicions. For teens, who may be closer in age to the abuser, it can be particularly hard to recognize tactics used in grooming. Be alert for signs that your teen has a relationship with an adult that includes secrecy, undue influence or control, or pushes personal boundaries.”
No matter how much you get to know someone, you ultimately don’t know the person behind the screen. They may have other intentions with your relationship, platonic or romantic. We encourage you to enjoy your experience in interacting with the community. Make friendships that last lifetimes - but be cautious of others’ intentions. Lastly, if you see something that feels ‘off’ about a player, or even a relationship between two others, report it. It is better to be safe than sorry.
What is Sexual Harassment?
“Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature in the community. Sexual harassment does not always have to be specifically about sexual behavior or directed at a specific person. For example, negative comments about women as a group may be a form of sexual harassment.
Although sexual harassment laws do not usually cover teasing or offhand comments, these behaviors can also be upsetting and have a negative emotional effect.
Sexual harassment can occur in a variety of circumstances. The harasser can identify with any gender and have any relationship to the victim, including being a direct manager, indirect supervisor, coworker, teacher, peer, colleague, associate, or even friend.
Some forms of sexual harassment include:
Making conditions of employment or advancement dependent on sexual favors, either explicitly or implicitly.
Physical acts of sexual assault.
Requests for sexual favors.
Verbal harassment of a sexual nature, including jokes referring to sexual acts or sexual orientation.
Unwanted touching or physical contact.
Unwelcome sexual advances.
Discussing sexual relations/stories/fantasies at work, school, or in other inappropriate places.
Feeling pressured to engage with someone sexually.
Exposing oneself or performing sexual acts on oneself.
Unwanted sexually explicit photos, emails, or text messages.”
It’s natural to form attachments or relationships with people that you spend time with online. You may even develop feelings for them. These feelings, however, should both be given continuous consent and should not be aimed to make others feel uncomfortable in any regard on our platform. If you ever feel pressured or uncomfortable from a person’s interactions with you or another person, then report it. Again, it is better to be safe than sorry.