Code of Ethics

Code of Ethics: San Francisco Sex-Positive Democratic Club

It is the explicit mission of the SF Sex-Positive Democratic Club (“Club” or “Sex-Positive Dems”) to promote the ideals of sex positivity in local governance and discourse. Consent is the foundation of sex positivity. As such, we hold ourselves to the standard that enthusiastic consent is imperative for all sexual activity, as well as other forms of physical interaction. We also welcome and affirm people of all genders, relationship structures, and identities. This Code of Ethics outlines our standards of behavior for elected and appointed members of the Board of Directors (“Leadership”), based on the standards of consent, transparency, and harm reduction. It applies not only at Sex-Positive Dems events, but in all areas of life.

Adhering to the Values of San Francisco Sex-Positive Democratic Club

Our Club holds consent, transparency, and harm reduction as our highest values. It is important that the Leadership of the Club behave in a manner that aligns with these values in all areas of their lives. We hold this high of a standard to show respect for the people we advocate for, and to honor the trust they put in us. We advocate for people who are queer, kinky, non-monogamous, and sex workers as well as for everyone to live in a sex-positive world.

Why a Code of Ethics

We would prefer to live in a sex positive society where consent, transparency and harm reduction are de rigueur. Since we do not yet live in that society, this Code of Ethics helps to establish the Sex-Positive Democratic Club as a model of that society to which we aspire. In other words, if we don’t set our own rules, we implicitly endorse those prevalent in society – including the unwritten ones – many of which are based in sex negativity and rape culture. 

Definition of Consent

At its best, consent is an ongoing collaboration between two or more people in constant verbal, physical, and emotional dialogue about what each other needs to willingly, safely, and pleasurably interact with one another.

Consent must be:


There is clearly expressed agreement to participate in an activity. We're looking for the presence of a yes, not the absence of a no


All parties have the unfettered ability, knowledge, judgment, or skill to have a physical interaction.


All parties are able to decide whether to participate in an activity based on a shared understanding of risk factors, risk tolerances, and other relevant facts.


A "no" should be immediately accepted without undue persuasion, influence, or intimidation to encourage someone to do something they've expressed hesitation about doing. Any coercive tactics (e.g., threats, leveraging a power relationship) or pressure (e.g., making someone responsible for your disappointment, continuing to ask for something after a boundary is stated, or emotional manipulation) are expressly forbidden.


All parties are clear about what they are doing together and the boundaries of proposed activities. Where there is a lack of specificity, participants act with heightened caution and attunement.


Consent must be given throughout the interaction, and it can be revoked at any time.

This framework is a modified version of the work of William Winters ([email protected]) & Misha Bonaventura ([email protected]) of Bonobo Network, you can find their open source Consent & Accountability Policy here: It takes consent out of a simple binary framework. In allowing us to judge the consensuality of any interaction qualitatively (as opposed to "It's there or it isn't"), we are thus invited to constantly strive for higher quality consent. 

Expected Behavior

  • Interact with others in a consensual manner. In doing so, you contribute to the health and longevity of this community.
  • Exercise consideration and respect in your speech and actions.
  • Refrain from demeaning, discriminatory, or harassing behavior and speech.
  • Ask before touching anyone at our events. Pay attention to verbal as well as non-verbal queues.
  • Avoid making assumptions regarding gender. If you aren’t aware of what someone’s gender is, ask for their preferred pronoun(s) or, when available, look at their name tag.
  • Be mindful of your surroundings and the other participants. Alert community leaders if you notice a consent violation or other dangerous situation, someone in distress, or violations of this Code of Ethics even if they seem inconsequential.

Unacceptable Behavior

Unacceptable behaviors include: non-consensual interaction; intentional misgendering; or intimidating, harassing, abusive, discriminatory, derogatory or demeaning speech or actions.

Harassment includes:

  • harmful or prejudicial verbal or written comments related to gender, sexual orientation, transness, physical appearance, body size, technical choices, lack of technical knowledge, ability, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, religion (or lack thereof) and other personal conditions and choices
  • trolling, i.e. sustained disruption of conversations, talks or other events
  • non-consensual photography or recording
  • inappropriate use of nudity and/or sexual images in public spaces
  • deliberate intimidation, stalking or following
  • non-consensual physical contact
  • unwelcome sexual attention
  • microaggressions, i.e. small, subtle, often subconscious actions that marginalize people from oppressed groups
  • minimizing other people’s experiences


Ask everybody in the photo/video if they agree to be photographed or filmed.

For group shots, ask if anyone wants to opt-out before taking any, or ask people if they need their face obscured after taking photos.

What happens in case of violations of our Code of Ethics

Leadership asked to stop any harmful, hateful or disrespectful behavior are expected to comply immediately. If a member of Leadership persists in such behavior, the Board may take any action it deems appropriate, including warning or removing them from the event or position of Leadership, or by suspending or permanently terminating their membership.

See: Consent Policy for further details including reporting guidelines.

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  • Kelsey Britt
    published this page in SFSPD Blog 2021-11-18 11:46:49 -0800