Consent *cough* is one of those things that you should understand immediately especially when it comes to getting consent for safe sex.
Consent is getting or giving permission for something to happen. It is a mutual agreement that must be given freely and voluntarily, and should always be clearly communicated.
Which translates to: You ask, I say yes. Let’s do it.
Consent can be presented in different forms:
This refers to a positive ‘yes’, or other affirmative statements like “I’m ready to try something new”. This agreement should be explicitly communicated between parties.
2. Physical cues
These physical cues should be done without coercion from the other party.
Although ‘No means no’ is a phrase that is often heard and seemingly understood, there are still many instances where consent is assumed or even miscommunicated.
Consent may look like, but is definitely not:
1. Openly flirting, wearing revealing clothes, accepting a ride or drinks, friendliness
It is often a misconception that extremely friendly gestures are direct invitations to go to bed with someone. It is not. As long as you are unsure of the situation, do not proceed.
2. A drunken or incapacitated agreement (verbal or physical) under the influence
If someone is unable to properly think in his or her current vulnerable state, it is definitely not consent.
Silence is never consent. Just because you didn’t hear a ‘No’, or ‘Stop’ – doesn’t mean it is perfectly fine to continue. That being said, forcing out an ‘Okay’ or ‘Yes’ doesn’t count either.
You can withdraw consent at any point of time.
Consent isn’t commitment, it is crucial to remember that you can withdraw at any point of time. Do not feel bad if you feel uncomfortable about what’s about to go down, instead – communicate with your partner at every step of the way.
To sum things up, imagine this:
You’ve just learnt how to bake a triple truffle fudge cake and you can’t wait to share it with the world. Would you:
- Walk down the street stuffing your sumptuous treat down the throat of passersby?
- Offer the cake for tasting and give a slice to people who are keen?
Most importantly, just remember to be a decent human being – when something feels wrong, trust your gut and check with the other party.
Respect each other, constantly communicate, and never assume, especially when it comes to consent.