If you have paid even 1% attention to the news and online communities over the past eighteen months or so, you will be well aware that the issue of consent has become more and more prevalent and important across society. People, both male and female, are starting to come to terms with the fact that what they might have perceived to be acceptable sexual politics and behaviour in the past, is not considered to be something else entirely. The faster we all catch up and get on the same page, the healthier society is going to be. Let’s take a look at consent: What is consent?, what does it look like and what does it feel like?
1. How Does It Work?
Some people often admit to feeling awkward about making sure that consent is something happening between them and the person they are getting physical with, but it’s essential. Just because you are in the midst of undressing someone of your kissing has turned in to something heavier, you still need to get that verbal confirmation. Just a simple question like ‘are you comfortable?’, ‘is this okay? ‘do you want to go any further?’ turns the scene into one of communication and understanding with killing the mood at all.
2. What It Looks like
Consent looks like a lot of communication both verbal and nonverbal, respecting your partner when they voice opposition or hesitation to something that you try out in the bedroom, and also for us girls, understanding that we are always the ones that need to consent. Guys want to take things slow too sometimes, so just be careful and aware of his body language as well as your own.
3. What It Doesn’t Look like
Consent certainly does NOT cover the thought process of assuming that someone is willing to engage in sexual contact just because they are dressed in a certain way, are flirting with you, accept a ride from you, or accept a drink from you. It does NOT cover them saying yes to things when they are clearly drunk or under the influence. It does NOT cover them saying yes to something because you are constantly badgering them. Conceding does not equal consent.
4. Red Flags
A few key red flags to look out for are the feeling that you might be applying undue pressure to your partner to do something, making them feel like they ‘owe’ a sex act for one reason or another, reacting negatively and angrily to the fact that they aren’t as willing to experiment as you are, or flat out ignoring their verbal and non-verbal cues such as pushing you away.
5. Get It Every Single Time
Regardless of whether you have been with your partner for two weeks or twenty years, you still need to put these rules into practise with regards to consent. Always ask them if what you are doing is okay and if they want to go further, never assume that because you are married and together for years, that you no longer have to put in the effort of checking in with them and ascertaining their feelings on the situation.