Consent Consent Consent!

Consent is only a 7 letter word, but it's huge in its importance.

I know, from personal experience, how imperative consent is in any relationship, especially when it comes to sex (and anything physical between people – kissing, touching, aaaall that sensual stuff). 

Consent is, at its core, super easy to understand.  Recently, blogger rockstar-dinosaur-pirate-princess wrote a piece using tea in place of consent, just to show how simple the concept is (check our her post here)

But here are a few examples of very real instances of what constitutes consent and what doesn’t:

 

Person 1 says: Do you want to have sex? 

Person 2 says: Yes!  Absolutely 100%!

Person 1: Me too!

Cool!  That’s consent – a resounding, unmistakable affirmation that both people want to get it on. 

 

Person one: Do you want to have sex?

Person two: No. 

NOT consent.

 

Person one: Do you want to have sex?

Person two: Um, I don’t know, I don’t really know if I’m ready.

NOT consent.

 

Person one: Do you want to have sex?

Person two: *unconscious/asleep/too drunk or tired or sick to respond*

NOT consent.

 

Person one: Do you want to have sex?

Person two: No.

Person one: But we had sex yesterday!

NOT consent.

 

Person two: *wearing a short skirt and stiletto heels*

NOT consent.

 

Person one takes person two on a nice, fun date.

NOT consent.

 

Person one: I want to have sex.  Do you?

Person two: Sure – that sounds groovy.

*after kissing for a while*

Person two: Actually, I think I want to wait.

NOT consent.

 

And there are countless more examples.  Basically, consent means a loud and clear YES – not no, maybe, I don’t know, etc.  Skimpy clothes aren’t consent.  Nudity isn’t consent.  Past behavior isn’t consent.  Being in a relationship isn’t consent.

So then why is it so damn hard for people to figure out?

Until fairly recently, I’ve always had a really hard time saying ‘no.’ I hate creating conflict and I really hate upsetting people.  And, unfortunately, most of the time when I did say no, it led to the guy I was with getting upset.  That one simple word triggered a variety of unsavory responses:

“Don’t you love me?  If you loved me you’d sleep with me!”

“But everyone else is doing it.”

“Stop being such a prude.”

“I guess we should just break up then.”

And the worst?  When my “no” was disregarded, on more then one occasion.

I became horribly accustomed to this disregard, and came to fear the negativity that resulted when I said NO.  So instead of fighting for myself – instead of getting the fuck away from guys like this – I learned how to stay silent.  I took “no” out of my vocabulary, convinced that it would make me more desirable and more worthwhile, and that it would make my relationships better.

It didn’t (obviously), but it would take me several years to realize my own self-worth and my right to say no and to be respected.

These days I’m a (self-appointed) spokesperson for consent, and I do everything in my power to encourage women – of all ages – to speak up for themselves.  If a guy (or girl) gives you a hard time for saying no, give them a swift goodbye.  If they ignore your no, tell a friend, a parent, a teacher, someone you trust – you are not alone and you don’t have to deal with this by yourself.  If you feel like saying yes – say it proudly and without shame.  Being able to say yes is just as important as no – it is your right as a woman to be enthusiastic about sex (or whatever it is your saying ‘hell yeah!’ to).  If your partner says no, respect them wholly.  Don’t give them any grief or try to guilt trip them.

Seems pretty simply right?  Consent is so incredibly important, and it’s time we started respecting everyone’s right to say yes or no.  Listen to your partner, and make sure they listen to you.  And join me in spreading the word about consent!

XOXO!