Consent has been in the news a lot due to the fact that there are still a lot of people who do not get it. As a sex positive blog we would be remiss if we didn’t try to help clear this up as well.
Consent is given not implied
Only a Yes is a Yes. As the saying goes, “however you dress, wherever you go, yes means yes, and no means no” In fact, California enacted a “Yes means Yes” law which requires affirmative consent defined as “affirmative, conscious and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity”. While this is the law in California many states still use the “no means no” standard which requires the victim to articulate “no” forcefully, with prosecutors going so far as to imply that if a victim doesn’t fight back, she’s not really saying no. While that is fine for a prosecutor, you the human being, will want to always look for affirmative consent. Affirmative consent is never merely implied. Just because she invited you over or flirted with you does not imply a “yes”. If you are not comfortable asking if you’re about to engage in sex, then you probably shouldn’t be having sex. Sexual relationships should have active communication at all times. You should be comfortable talking not only about what you like and don’t like in bed but whether your partner wants sex right now.
Consent can be revoked
I ended the last bit with “…wants sex right now”, because consent can be revoked. In fact, it can be revoked during the act if need be. If your partner says something creepy during sex, you have the right to stop. If you no longer wish to have sex with your partner, or just are not in the mood right now, you can say, “no”. Past sex doesn’t mean your partner gets to have sex with you whenever they want, it is only when you wish it.
Consent cannot be given if unable to properly communicate or if coerced
As the California law articulates it must be “conscious and voluntary agreement”. If someone uses threats to get your consent, that’s not actually consent. Likewise, if you are drunk or under the influence of drugs, whether you took them or were slipped them, you cannot give consent. Many tattoo parlors have rules against giving obviously drunk people a tattoo, because they understand that the person is unable to make a rational decision. If you are with someone who is slurring their words or stumbling, they cannot consent to sex. If you’re in that situation, you can’t give consent and anyone who tells you otherwise is simply wrong.
Consent is a serious subject and RAINN has a post on on What Consent Looks Like and is a good primer, also their website is a good resource for sexual assault survivors.
While it is a serious subject, a few people have managed to bring a little humor to conversation such as this video based on a blog by Emmeline May:
Nafisa Ahmed made the point using $5
I don't get how rape is so hard to understand for some men. But, if you put it like this, they get it:
— young curry (@thatxxv) August 16, 2016
Here’s more, but check out her twitter feed for the full story.
Remember ladies and gentlemen, #consent is sexy!