What Exactly is Consent?
Consent is the cornerstone to any activity, however, we often associate consent as the “unsexy” or “unclear” aspect of “sex”. When, in fact, consents reach is far beyond “sex” itself. So lets break down consent, what really is it?
There are a number of parts of true consent, to start “consent” must be explicit, direct and individualized. This tends to be explained as “verbal”, which is rooted in ableism which is why we explain consent as “individualized”. Consent comes in different forms for different situations and people, meaning consent is not continual. A “yes” today is not a yes, tomorrow or even a green light for the future.
The idea of having this constant conversation is actually not as “exhausting” as one may think.
Especially if you checked out our previous blog on communication, “Good communication takes a lot of practice. One of the ways to practice is talking about Wants, Wills, and Won’ts that I discussed in a previous post.” These consistent conversations present us and our partners with opportunities to reexamine and discuss what has been happening and what we would like to change. Setting aside time to communicate for past, present and future is not only a responsibility, but also a moment of time that you can set aside to self assess or discuss you sex life.
Where to Draw the Line?
Many of us can imagine that the basic sentiment of consent is a clear, conscious state. All people involved should be in their clear conscious mind not only before but throughout.
Chemsex and sex under the influence can be problematic and blur the lines of consent. We would not recommend it, especially not with unfamiliar people or situations. In the same breath, “influence” is not solely limited to the things you take/drink, Influence can even be the company you keep.
Coercion is the act of “persuading”, “pressuring” or “utilizing force” to get another person to do something they did not agree to. If you’re curious what that may look like, just think about a scenario where you did not get your way, not only sexual, and sought to “persuade” someone.
What examples did you use to do so? Were these examples rooted in imbalance of power or even containing hints of force?
– “Well, I do ‘X’ for you, so you should do ‘Y’ for me.”
– “Come on, please, just this once.”
– “You’re my partner, it’s your duty.”
Coercion not rooted in consent, and nor is a coerced consent ever true consent. So what really is true consent then? True consent is individualized and an ever growing conversation. This article cannot direct you to a perfect formula of consent, but rather present you with an opportunity to reevaluate and move forward.
Set aside time alone and think about what aspects you would like to improve for yourself.
Things you would like to try, and how you would like to move forward to do them? Are you/have you been coerced in the past? How will you move forward and recognize these situations?
Ask yourself and even your partner some questions, and if you need an extra boost of consent
and information, check out Sex Schools Consent video with Sadie Lune