Wheel of Consent Workshops
Wheel of Consent Workshop
The Holy Grail of Desire, Touch & Consent
Learn the basics of the Wheel of Consent as developed by Dr. Betty Martin
For Individuals & Couples
Get help with sexuality, touch and intimacy. Find the ease, confidence and sensuality that is your birthright. Learn to apply the Wheel of Consent in relating.
Sharpen your professional skills around consent, boundaries and facilitation. Learn to embody the Wheel of Consent and apply it in your sessions and workshops.
Create contracts and agreements with colleagues, clients, communities and the environment that are in alignment with the values of all parties.
The Wheel of Consent
is a model of consent based on, but not requiring, touch. The Wheel brings ease, sensuality, confidence, self-responsibility and freedom to the touch interaction. Yet these are touch and non-touch dynamics, and the non-touch dynamics may be of greater import.
Using the Wheel of Consent as a framework, you will learn:
Clarity around Receiving and Giving
Creating clear agreements
Awareness of sensation in the body
Connection, compassion and intimacy
…you will be invited to create the world we want to live in, where people are connected to self, others and the earth.
After this workshop, you'll have the tools to practice the Wheel in all aspects of your life.
Space is limited to 8 participants in each workshop. $500/person.
River was trained by Dr. Betty Martin to facilitate this Official Wheel of Consent Workshop. She is the only trained facilitator in Texas.
join the community
My intention is to help create and support a vibrant Wheel of Consent community here in Austin. As soon as we have enough people trained in the method I plan to host regular practice sessions for everyone who has taken the workshop. After you learn the Wheel, you will have a place to practice with others who get it! That in addition to the private Facebook group where you will be able to commune online with other Wheel heads. :)
Bottom line - it’s all getting better and more exciting. It’s going to be a juicy 2019. Be part of this exciting movement!
reflections from past participants
After this workshop, I am able to understand in the moment when someone is trying to invade my boundaries intentionally.
I can also say “no” when I couldn't before.
I was taught to never have boundaries so I would do whatever those who had authority over me wanted me to do.
I now have control over my life and myself that I have never had before.
My former husband has been trying to get me to give up visitation time with my son. I held my ground rationally and he backed down. I would have never been able to do that before this workshop.
My entire life has changed!
~ by a counselor in her 30’s
The primary reason I took the workshop was to improve sex, and the communication around sex, with my wife. After 20 years, things between us had become, as I like to euphemize, well-practiced.
Paradoxically, for all of our mutual experience, there was a real lack of communication, a lot of uncertainty, and too much built-up resentment in our sex life. I often wondered who I was touching her for. My wife would sometimes intuit that a certain act was for my benefit, even as I pretended it was for her. So intriguing, but also dangerous!
I wanted to understand more about who I was touching for in a given moment, and gain a better vocabulary for navigating sex and desire with my wife.
I think my confusion surrounding touch began early, like so many, as I fumbled through teenage sexual experience. I learned patterns of behavior, and modeled a staunch lack of communication, which became a sort of cycle...
That lack of communication around sex begat tentativeness, which in turn fostered deep uncertainty. Being uncertain offered me a fork in the road — quietly explore and hope for the best outcome (so many times not even knowing my own definition of a good outcome!), or go out on a limb and develop a language and courage surrounding desire. It seemed easier to make the silent, passive choice!
Taking pleasure though my hands was, ultimately, a big eye opener.
What I have loved most dearly about this work is how slowly it started, almost imperceptible. Delightful no doubt, the touching. But the ramifications of those not-quite-aha moments feel to me now like hurricane lashings brought on by the delicate flutter of a butterfly’s wings.
Being in the group was helpful to me. We all had different perspectives on the workshop content, but River ensured everyone was heard, and integrated our varied perspectives into the lessons. For me, it was important to begin this type of work in a group setting — I felt supported in my journey. Learning new things in a room surrounded by like-minded people who understood each other.
Afterward, I was able to apply the Wheel practices alone and with my wife. But the group offered such unique support and belonging, which was wonderful.
With regard to River as a teacher, I started with “patient and kind.” Which River certainly is. And then I looked up 1 Corinthians 13:4 because I felt like I was starting wedding vows and, wow, is that passage apropos! River is love!
Seriously — so. much. patience. Holding space for every person in the group. A profound sense of inclusion. Nurturing in the sense of encouraging — and deeply caring about — the growth of others.
River is also a superlative facilitator. I remember calling River “a born leader” as we gave our exit interviews in-group. And then I felt terrible having used that language because I sense her leadership skills are borne from incredible sacrifice, hard work, tenacity, and attention. A life’s work that isn’t easily encapsulated, or was ever something that “just happened.”
For me the “aha” moment was when I [finally] realized River was going to go from the practice to the theory. It took forever to get to the actual wheel diagram! Aha!
I’d already read a lot about the wheel and dug into Betty Martin’s site before I attended the workshop. I loved the way River led us through the material — first experiencing the different quadrants of the wheel, and what each one awakened in our bodies. Only then did we consume the Wheel theory with our minds. Aha! Perfect!
To River: thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!
~ by a design professional in his late 30’s who is the father of young children
I primarily took this workshop to help me understand healthy boundaries better, especially my boundaries.
Before the workshop, touch was something I felt I needed and had no choice in needing more, nor in what kind of touch I could both give and receive.
Mid-way through the workshop, I tapped into a part of myself that desired specific touch, in specific ways, and for the first time, I began to feel like I had permission to choose.
In addition, I began to feel safer when touching others. I felt that I could trust them and their directions to guide me to the right touch far more than I have ever trusted people who let me touch them before.
Since the workshop has ended, I have been terrifyingly empowered to discover my true pleasure and desires outside of what I learned from others. I attribute this to the encouragement and celebration of taking my own pleasure.
I also find myself deepening my trust and therefore intimacy with my partner, opening myself up to an inner vulnerability that I did not know existed. The trust came when I practiced setting boundaries as totally free, sacred desires that I now had the right to express no matter the situation or the circumstance.
The group meshed very well to me. We all were committed to the workshop and we all cooperated together to give each other and ourselves the richest experience. Whether I was with a man or a woman, it didn’t matter. We were comrades, taking this journey together.
As a whole, I would say our unity allowed us to raise each other and dive deeper together than we ever would have alone or if there was discord in our group. People felt safe to, and did, share deep personal feelings, cry, laugh together, and generally enjoy the process in an uninhibited way. That’s why we had such an amazing experience.
In the course, we were taught through simple guided exercises in a small enough group that our instructor could tailor the lesson plan and pace to our individual needs as much as to the group's. There was some discussion and lecture but it was always very interactive and free form; allowing us to joke, laugh, and ask questions throughout the spoken part of the course.
The real life practices were the experiential journeys that brought me into my body, into my heart, and into myself. They were the “keys” to the workshop that allowed me to not just think about what we were learning but to both feel them in my body and also feel what comes up for me or how I react when I put these ideas into practice.
River exuded a gentleness confidence, and passion for the material that drew all of us students in from the moment we started the class. During the class, she engaged with each of us individually and tailored the pace of the class to suit what we were ready for in each moment. My favorite part was how she kept the tone light and informal so that the class was as much about having fun with these practices, as it was about learning them. At the end, she felt like a friend as much as a teacher.
I would say that the big benefits for me were two-fold.
1) Receiving permission and encouragement to pursue my own personal pleasure and by extension, to my true desires. Especially important as a part of that is being guided to how to feel those genuine desires in the first place.
2) Experiencing what truly clear boundaries and consensual interactions between people are really like, including how to create those for myself and practice them in my own life. Feeling my right to hold my boundaries wherever “I” needed to in the moment was another revelation for me.
The workshop completely challenged my old ideas of what pleasure was, what I wanted in the moment, and more. In order to keep moving forward in in the workshop I had to move through fear of what I held inside and the utter belief in my own failure should my insides not measure up. Getting through and touching my forgotten truth and bodily feelings was raw, painful, and intense; but I cannot describe the relief I felt at finally being able to “listen” to my self/my body again.
Part way through the second day, during an exercise to “take” my pleasure from an object, I touched a hidden part of me deep inside where my true capacity to experience genuine pleasure was hidden. I then felt how different what I thought I had wanted based on porn, movies, and other societal messages was from what I truly desired inside. It was an incredibly raw, painful, and enlightening experience which, alone, would have made the whole workshop worth it.
My toughest moment was on Saturday when, during an exercise, I felt what I just described above. I did not want to touch these hidden inner parts of myself, much less do it in a circle with a bunch of strangers whom I had met the day before. I kept going though and went through the monumental task of accepting my feelings and then letting them out and sobbing in the classroom for a while. I refused to let go, just as I refused to give up on myself.
This course helped me in so many ways, but personally, I think the biggest was the permission to really value myself. This valuing showed up in the form of discovering and owning what “I” genuinely desired regardless of outside influences, as well as knowing that I had the right and the strength to defend my true boundaries, no matter how much that may bother others.
I recommend this workshop to anyone who is interested in being more deeply connected to their bodies and in having clearer understandings of boundaries. I recommend it because it takes us into a deeper layer of “listening” to our bodies and to others, thusly to the often forgotten parts of ourselves and of our relationships.
To you who will be attending in the future, I only ask that you come into this with respect for something that has more to offer which, despite how simple it may sound, you do not understand yet. Also, the more you commit, the more you will get out of it.
~ by a man in his 30’s who has a partner who knows the Wheel as well
I took this workshop to access more pleasure in my body, learn how to give and receive care with more awareness, and help others do the same.
Before this workshop began, I approached touch and choice without the distinction of 'who is this for?' About mid-way into the workshop, I experienced more pleasure in my hands and body! More a-ha's around the difference between giving/receiving, doing/done to. Now that the workshop is over, I feel empowered. Embodied. Inspired.
The teaching methodology of this workshop is part didactic, part experiential. It is a workshop to empower reconnecting with the pleasure in your body, attention and attunement to others, and negotiating skills in giving and receiving care.
The real life practices in the workshop helped make the lessons real and more embodied.
The group dynamic in this workshop helped. The intimacy and vulnerability of sharing with individuals put pressure on my actual (not just imagined) barriers and deficits when it comes to giving and receiving care.
I had a personal “aha” moment realizing that I tend to focus on giving pleasure to others, and feel shy when it comes to asking for what brings me pleasure.
My toughest moment in the workshop was probably 'taking' pleasure for myself from a partner that I did not know - it felt very intimate and I felt shy about exploring those boundaries fully.
I realized that I find it difficult to 'impose' what I desire on others unless it's pleasurable for them.
The big benefits of this workshop are getting clarity around knowing what I desire from feeling it in my body, and how to navigate boundaries and situations where the heat gets turned up in intimacy.
I recommend this workshop to others because having an understanding of who the giving/receiving of care is for changes the way I relate with people and can help heal a world full of people feeling abusive and abused. Also recognizing we need to take responsibility to discover through our bodies what we desire and what our boundaries truly are is important.
To future participants, I would say: Be willing to touch and be touched, be willing to turn your awareness into your senses and your inner world. Be prepared to ask for what you truly desire.
This workshop helped me personally because I feel more confident to ask for what I want, not take it personally if someone can't/doesn't want to give that, and also set my own limits around giving and receiving.
River is a great teacher in her ability to be relaxed and present, playful and sincere, guiding yet allowing, and helping people touch into uncomfortable places with support and grace.
I hope that this can be taught to everyone!
~ by a psychotherapist in his 30’s who focuses on sex and relationship issues
My primary reason for taking this workshop was my divorce and how meaningless my marriage had became. The lack of love, passion, sex, touch, etc. turned me into such an introvert which is unlike my old self. I missed the person I used to be and wanted to see if something was really wrong with me.
Before this workshop began, I thought I was passionate and seductive. However, I never really knew whether it was for me or my ex-wife. We didn't communicate so everything was left to what was going through our minds. Not smart.
At first, I thought I was broken with all these other people in the workshop describing their experiences as seductive and sensual and whatever. I was like "what the hell are you guys smoking because I need some." Then when I went home and reflected on what I heard, I tried again. This time I slowed down and listened to my body and was so excited that I sent River a message that night.
About mid-way into the workshop, I realized that it was good to want, and great to give pleasure exactly the way someone asked. I didn't have to feel inadequate. It was exhilarating and although I was only rubbing a woman's hand and arm up to her elbow it was better than sex I've had. So just imagine what I can do when I do have sex. Delish! ;)
Towards the end of this workshop, I feel pretty awesome and I want to continue growing my relationships with some of the members. It’s great that I've seen some at other meetups.
The small group was ideal because we were all heard and were more open with each other. I wouldn't have liked the course as much if there were more than a dozen people.
This workshop will start off mildly so you don't freak out, especially for those that have issues with being touched, and will progress. You can also opt out if you just want to watch or don't feel into the exercise although I never opted out. :) By the end of the course I was sad that we would be parting ways and not sharing our Friday mornings together.
I had a huge “aha” moment the first time I was receiving the gift exactly the way I asked without giving anything back. It was AMAZING!
The real life practices made us stick to boundaries and created a very safe and open environment so nobody felt like we were expected to go beyond what was given as a guideline.
The workshop helped me personally because I felt pretty shy at first and now I feel more empowered especially when it comes to others that feel the same way. I'm not in a relationship so I haven't been able to share with a partner yet. However, the class has given me a better understanding of how to ask for things that I want, and more appropriate phrasing.
The toughest moment for me was when I was approached by a male to be his partner since I was in a playful mood and would have rather given/taken with a female partner. It wasn't until River changed my perspective of the situation that I was able to get out of my own head and see it for what it was. The ability to explore the actual flesh, tendons, scars, etc. was pretty amazing and wonderful in an exploratory way instead of a sexual or seductive experience.
Here is why I would recommend this workshop: We live in this jaded "don't hurt my feelings" and instant gratification world which desensitizes most interactions. I'm new to this dating world and most interactions with women have been disappointing so far. I've learned that this group is looking for more of an understanding of themselves and what is and isn't alright, and what we are allowed to ask for and that boundaries are ok. We aren't here just to make every other person feel good about themselves.
I would advise future participants to be open to the concept and hear what others are sharing. Be more than the majority of the population out there since life can be amazing once you aren't expectant and you are willing to share with an open heart. Oh, and make sure to at least get one big hug from River. ;)
As a teacher, River rocks, is sexy, crude in the best way possible, and seems to be very accepting of all walks of life.
~ by a recently divorced father in his 30’s who helps clients plan their financial future
I took this workshop because I was tired of not knowing what I want, what feels good, particularly sexually.
I definitely was sloppy before this workshop in that I would start to touch a partner for my my own pleasure but then "forget" and make it about him. Also, I love to have my back and hair touched but when my (new) husband was reluctant I got very angry instead of seeking an agreement. This was a huge issue for us for a long time.
About mid-way into the workshop things changed. I became more comfortable with the other participants and my body "got it" about touching for MY pleasure.
Now that the workshop is over, I feel like I need to process this and incorporate it into my life and relationships!
It is interesting to explore this with a group of people who don't know one another. I am not sure if it would have been better for me to have my partner there for the fine-tuning work of our touching. I think there were other things that were learned however with strangers that would not have been learned if I'd just been there with my partner.
The group dynamic helped in that I really appreciated getting to know the other participants and enjoyed our group laughter and the camaraderie that we generated together.
This course is taught using a combination of theory and then putting it into practical experience. This makes the learning much more solid, as there will be questions that arise in the practices that would not come to light without the experiential aspect.
I had a personal experience of an “aha” moment when, in the very last exercise, I really got it that I enjoyed touching my partner's body for myself!!
One of the big benefits of this workshop is that you are making AGREEMENTS with people that you are touching. And noticing that much of the touching we have experienced, particularly as children, was without such agreement.
Oh! The real life practices helped. There is NO substitute for practical application! I could have gotten the information from reading about it but I would have had to practice it with someone to REALLY get it!
The workshop is challenging to many old ideas. I had to sacrifice "knowing what I'm doing" so that I could learn what I do not know. Often, I find that even though I think I know a few things about the subject, I have to let that go to really harness the full experience of this "New Angle"...
My toughest moments were that I always want to "bolt" the first or second day...but I was able to remind myself that it is hard to learn new things, and I am always happy that I stay. I have proven this to myself countless times, so it gets easier and easier to relax into the minor discomfort.
I recommend this workshop because I think it is a great opportunity to immerse yourself in a new concept with others who are also new to it. There is nothing like theory and practical application to demonstrate something brand new in such a way as to really cement it into place.
To future participants, I would recommend to put aside all your "ideas of touch" and allow yourself to open up to learn touch from this new vantage point. Then you can incorporate it later and add in what you still feel applies within the new framework!
This workshop helped me personally because I definitely feel I understand my errors in touching within partnership, and I also feel that I am able to explore with my partner a much more honest and heartfelt touch. I have already experimented with asking for what I want and directing his touch for my pleasure.
Also, understanding the shadow side of the wheel showed me where I was not in alignment with agreements and trying to "cheat" or sidestep true agreement. Since I identified primarily with the Giver, I could really see how I lapsed into subtle demanding which might even get me the touch I wanted but it came at the expense of agreement and created a sense of unsafe-ness for my partner who was not in agreement.
River is an enthusiastic and energetic presence in the learning environment. She allows the participants to explore and learn from each other with almost no interference and was ready when we needed support or guidance. This feels very relaxing in that I did not feel I had to perform for her, I only needed to enjoy and trust my process.
River as the seminar leader brings a wealth of knowledge and exuberance which makes the learning very enjoyable!
~ by a healer and light worker in her glorious Queen phase
My primary reason for taking this workshop was to learn the wheel of consent, so that I can make sure I can practice it when working with clients.
This course is taught through experience. Every class started with solo or partner touching exercises. After the experience, River taught about where the exercise(s) we did fell on the wheel.
I would say the big benefits of this workshop are learning that an important part of consent is being clear on who the activity is for, practicing naming physical sensations in the body, and learning the difference between what I want and what I am willing to do.
I had watched videos on the wheel of consent before and didn't fully understand it. Getting to experience practicing the wheel not only helped me to understand the wheel, but enabled me to recognize what being in each quadrant on the wheel feels like in my body. This has helped me be able to easily pinpoint which quadrant I am in in situations in real life.
Even though the course was primarily about touch, I've been able to apply what I have learned to every aspect of my life. I've started to practice getting clear on my intentions and communicating them, even if it’s just as simple as my intention for wanting to be friends with someone or inviting a friend to coffee. When I know the intention for the interaction, then i can know if I am actually a yes or not.
~ by an explorer in her 20’s who offers clients energy and body work
I took this workshop because I was seeking a practical tool that could help me better understand myself and the dynamics in my relationships. There had been so much confusion around giving and receiving and who is doing what for who that it was painful. Also as a sex therapist I wanted more practical and experiential tools that I could use to help my clients more effectively and in a way that is more practical and productive than just talking about problems. I have found The Wheel to be one of the most practical and helpful tools for both personal and professional use!
Before this workshop I was totally unaware of the quadrants of giving and receiving. I now realize where my last relationship went so wrong and how much of that was due to us being totally unconscious about consent (or lack thereof). This lead to a lot of pain and suffering that could have been avoided had we had this tool!
I also have had a big aha moment about my relationship dynamic with my ex husband. For years, I have felt manipulated, abused and perpetrated by him while never actually realizing that I was actually at fault too for acting from the shadow side of allowing by not having any limits or demanding that those boundaries and limits be honored. As a result, I have allowed him to just take and take while being too afraid or lazy to stand up for myself and create a different dynamic. After learning the wheel I have been able to recognize when I am allowing someone to overstep my boundary or dishonor my limit and I have been able to stand up for myself in a very empowered way. This is so exciting to feel!
What I love about this course is that it is mostly experiential. Learning the concept of the wheel is fascinating but the rubber only meets the road when you actually get to experience what it feels like for you to be in each of the quadrants. This is one of the most direct and practical tools for self knowledge and personal growth and healing that I have ever encountered. It is simple yet absolutely profound. I am so excited to keep exploring the depths of wisdom and insight available to me through the application of this wisdom in my life.
In truth, everything in my life now looks different as I begin to see things through this wheel. It is slowly changing the way I communicate, how I ask for or request things of others, and I haven’t even applied it yet to sex—oh the wonders! LOL
Being in a group dynamic to learn this work is really a gift. So many people are shy to be in groups or afraid to be seen. The group space that River created was very safe and respectful. We always were given the choice to share or not to share, to participate or not and in being given this choice we were learning how to tap into, honor, and listen to our own desire. River modeled the concepts of the wheel effortlessly through her teaching style.
From this workshop I have learned to say no, ask for what I want more clearly, and to respect myself much more compassionately and passionately. If you get a chance to take this workshop with River do it! It is totally worth the investment of time and money.
River is a fun, engaging and playful teacher. She creates a very safe and sacred space for her students to learn and grow while exploring sides of themselves that may otherwise be challenging to discover on their own. River is also very respectful and encouraging of each person’s individual growth process which makes the class also feel very personal even though we are in a group setting.
~ by a mother in her 40’s who offers licensed sex therapy and other healing modalities
My main reason for taking the workshop was curiosity and the knowledge that I need support setting boundaries.
Before this workshop, I used to approach touch and choice in a passive and habitual way.
About midway into the workshop, I experienced a paradigm shift, especially in the context of “taking” and touching for my own pleasure.
Toward the end of the workshop, I feel empowered to say “yes” and “no” with confidence.
Hearing other people’s journeys in our group provided a sense of community and understanding of myself. Practicing with others provided an experiential opportunity to explore. The workshop is taught with hands on, group discussion, some lecture and lots of reflection. The real life practices helped to solidify abstract ideas into concrete awareness.
I had many experiences of “aha” moments. Touching another person as a taker was huge for me. The big benefits of this workshop are looking at everyday interactions from a whole new perspective. The workshop was liberating, and a healthy container to explore. I would advise future participants to be open hearted.
The toughest moment for me was asking for what I want. I don’t think I did. It is an area of growth for me.
I would recommend this workshop because it is invaluable information that applies to multiple areas of life.
As a teacher, River is intuitive, knowledgable and makes sure that participants are practicing and understanding the true heart of the content.
This course was a game changer for me. It opened a door to personal and interpersonal dynamics that I have always been vague and powerless around. Through the workshop I found language to speak my truth, ask for what I want. And in turn, hold space for my partners truth, listening and honoring what they desire and where their boundaries lie. Those who uphold the integrity and values of the Wheel of Consent will create a win-win world for all people!
~ by a mother in her 30’s who is redefining her marriage
Due to the sensitive nature of our work client identities remain confidential.