We’ve seen a lot of different ways to talk about consent. You might be thinking, “Okay, okay, yes means yes, let’s get going.” But we’ve been talking about it so much because it’s the most important part of any sexual encounter. In fact, it’s important in any kind of interaction. You don’t want mustard on your sandwich, but the person making your sandwich does it anyways? You speak up and say that’s wrong. So why is it any different with consent?
It shouldn’t be.
Consent is the conscious agreement to a proposed action. There are some rules with consent that we’ve covered before: consent for one thing doesn’t mean consent to another; consent can be rescinded at any time; consent isn’t permanent; consent is not received through coercion or from someone unable to consent.
But let’s get into it a little more.
Let’s talk about the “enthusiastic yes!” You and your partner should always be ready and willing to do whatever activity you’ve decided on before and during that activity. If that feeling is not happy, excited, eager, prepared, or some other form of pleasure, you should stop and address it. If someone isn’t comfortable with something and doesn’t convey that explicitly in words but their body language says otherwise, then “maybe that’s not a no, but that’s definitely not a yes.”
Always make sure that all partners are consenting! “The communication of that, verbal and nonverbal is clear and constant. This is consent, and wrong would be the absence of that in any context for any reason.”
To put it in another way, check out this great video from Button Poetry on Youtube (that’s only a little over 4 minutes) called “Consent at 10,000 Feet.” I’ve quoted it a few times in this post because it’s that awesome! It looks at consent through a slightly different lens than what a lot of people are used to. Here’s a fantastic quote from it:
“Have you ever had sex while skydiving? Like where you talk about consent the same way you talk about wearing a parachute – no gray areas, no assumptions, like, ‘Yeah, I’m pretty sure I’m wearing a parachute, no questions.’ Like, I asked her to check my parachute and she didn’t say anything but it was okay last time so I’m sure it’s good this time, too.”
Just as important it is to have a parachute EVERY time you go skydiving, it’s important to get consent for EVERY sexual encounter! Respect your partner(s) and their boundaries, and stay safe!