Consent is simple, yes means yes and no mean know, right? Not exactly. Consent is a little more complicated than that.
To clear up some of the confusion, here are 3 things to remember about consent:
Consent to one thing, doesn’t mean consent for everything.
If you go to Subway and tell the employee you want provolone cheese on your sandwich, and the employee puts on American cheese, you’re going to be a little angry, because you asked for something and you got something you didn’t want. If you hear your partner(s) give consent for provolone cheese, and you give them American cheese, you have violated their consent. That’s why it’s important to listen to your partner(s)’s consent and ask questions if you are confused. It also helps to be specific when communicating with your partner(s), don’t just tell them you want cheese, tell them what kind!
Consent now, doesn’t mean consent later.
Let’s say you are talking to your friend, and your friend asks you to scratch a part of their back they can’t reach and you decide to comply. This doesn’t mean you can run up to your friend any time and scratch their back or any other part of their body whenever you feel like it. The consent only counts once, and you need to get consent if you want to repeat an event.
Consent isn’t permanent.
At any point in time, a partner is allowed to change their mind and modify or revoke their consent. For example, I could consent to going running with a friend, but at any point during that run, if I feel unsafe, exhausted, uncomfortable, or any regret, I can change my mind and we will stop running. You are always free to change your mind, and you should be careful to listen to your partner(s), just incase they change their mind.
So remember, yes does mean yes, but it does’t mean yes to everything, it doesn’t mean yes to any time, and yes can always change into a no. The key to nailing consent is communication. Talk to your partner(s) and decide what your boundaries and comfort levels are. It is always better to clear up any confusion with questions that to proceed without certainty.
Stay safe and sexy!