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Sexual Consent 101: A Guide That Will Burst All Myths Around Sexual Consent

Welcome to the course, folks! This is a 15-minute course, but one, which is essential; one, which will help you with the basics of sexual consent, something that is treated like a joke around the world. Let’s start at the very beginning with a definition:

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What is sexual consent?

Sexual consent is a clear agreement between people engaging in a sexual activity. This means if someone says NO to your idea of having sex, or engaging in any sexual activity, it means NO. It does not mean, “Try a little harder” or “No means yes”.

Suggested read: How Watching PINK Forced Me To Confront The TRUTH About Sexual Assault We Conveniently FORGET

NO means No.

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Image source: Google, copyright-free image, under Creative Commons License 

Sexual consent has no middle ground. Also, it does not exclude those who are already in a relationship or are even married.

Not many people understand this (some don’t want to understand it!), but sex without consent is rape.

Also, the other thing people fail to understand is: Both women and men can refuse to sex. It is their right to not give consent.

Recapping the most important point again: Sex without consent is rape.

A traumatic experience like rape has many negative impacts on the victim; the impacts can be physical, such as STDs, and internal and external injuries and bleeding in case of violent rapes; the impacts are also psychological, such as fear, anxiety and depression. In some countries, the impact can even be social.

According to statistics, women’s chances of getting raped is more than that of men; however, we need to acknowledge the fact that men are also victims of rape (which is violation of sexual consent).

Why is sexual consent indispensable for women?

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Image source: Google, copyright-free image, under Creative Commons License 

We know that, on paper, women are given the same human rights as men. But in practice, this is far from true. This needs to change, and the change will only come when women realize, identify, and fight for the rights they are entitled to.

Understanding sexual consent and exercising it is essential for women, as it is reflective of the autonomy, independence, and power that they have on their bodies. It suggests that women cannot be pressured into a sexual activity they do not want to engage in. If they are forced (by anyone), then it is a violation of their right over their body, and the right to safety. It is a violation of a basic human right.

Suggested read: Here’s The PROBLEM With Telling Women That Their Power Lies In Their Sexuality

Why is sexual consent important for men? Why is it important for a relationship?

Every relationship should be based on mutual respect and trust. When your significant other values your consent, it means he or she identifies your value as a human being.

Violating sexual consent, on the contrary, exhibits disrespect, not just for the other person but also their well-being. A relationship or a marriage like this is not a healthy one, and does not contribute to improving the society either.

To show your lover or partner that you respect them, you need to respect their sexual consent. You cannot expect them to engage in sexual activity with you just because the two of you are in love or because the two of you are married. That is wrong.

To get an affirmative consent, ask your partner verbally whether they would like to have sex or not. Then, respect their answer.

How to ensure sexual consent?

Are you finding it difficult to understand whether someone is giving you consent or not (dude, a yes means a yes, and a no means a no!), or are you confused about how to make your consent known (now, this is a genuine case!)? The answer to both these questions is:

More than often, people do not understand or take no for a no. Even in something as silly as you telling your parents, “No, I don’t want to eat,” your parents are more than likely to hear, “Give me more food!”  So keeping that in mind, you can try negative body language to get your point across.

Push the person away if you are not in the mood for sex. Do not respond to their touch. Glare at them. Take your pillow and go to a different room.

Now if you think your partner is smart enough to understand words, then make your consent or lack of it, known through a verbal NO.

If you are the partner requesting consent, then you need to ask the following questions to ensure that you are about to engage in sexual activity with your partner with their approval:

  1. Do you want to have sex?
  2. Are you okay with this?
  3. Is this hurting you?
  4. Should we go further?
  5. Do you want me to stop?

Yes, sexual consent needs to be reaffirmed through the whole episode of sexual activity, and if you care about this person, that will come to you naturally.

Is sexual consent a basic right?

Yes! It not only means that you get to choose who to have sex with (which has an unstated “who not to have sex with!”), but it also means you get to choose when to have sex.

Sexual consent means that no matter who this person is, you can say no to sex if you don’t want to have sex. You may have engaged in sexual activity with this person before, but at a specific time, if you are not willing to, then you are not obliged to have sex.

There is a myth that is very popular, which needs to busted: Rape is done by strangers only. Beep! That is incorrect!

Whenever a person’s sexual consent is violated, the sexual activity that follows is rape. This means, you can be raped by someone you know, even someone you love. It can take place is familiar places, like your own home!

Marital rape is not a myth. Just because you agreed to marry someone, does not in any way mean that you have relinquished the autonomy you have over your own body. It does not mean that your body is now your partner’s to do whatever with it as they may please. You have a right over your body and you need to claim it by exercising your right to sexual consent.

Suggested read: We-Consent Anti Date Rape App Allows You To ‘Lock’ Your ‘Consent’ Before The Date

What is not consent?

what is sexual consent_New_Love_Times

Image source: Google, copyright-free image, under Creative Commons License 

Now that we know what is sexual consent and how to ensure it is being respected, let us discuss what is not sexual consent.

1. Silence does not mean the person is giving you his or her consent

Next time you engage in a sexual activity, you should make sure it is pleasurable to all the parties taking part in the act, and that can only be ensured by respecting each member’s sexual consent. Now sexual consent is not silence. Many people think that rape always involves one person screaming and making their “no” heard. Sorry, but it isn’t that simple. Usually, when someone’s consent is being flouted, they are scared to spell it out in words as this might “anger” the perpetrator.

Thus, to ensure consent, ask your partner the questions we have discussed early on, and then respect their answers.

2. Consent is not a forever and always promise!

Take for example, you agreed to let your friend keep one of your dresses. Does that mean you have given them the right to take any/all of your dresses, without asking for permission again? The same applies to sex, my friend! Before every episode, you need to take permission.

3. Consent needs to be reaffirmed

For example, someone agreed to having sex with you or engaging in any activity of a sexual nature, but while you both were at it, he or she does not look comfortable and their body language seems to hint that they want you to stop, then you need to ask them again. Removal of consent is the same as no consent.

4. Uninformed consent is no consent

If you duped someone into giving consent without providing proper information about your sexual history, then that cannot be considered consent. Consent should not be availed under false pretext.

5. A certain kind of clothes does not mean consent!

Drill this into your head! Clothes or lack thereof should not be translated into consent. What clothes one wants to wear is that person’s personal choice. It is not an invitation for sex. It does not mean the person is “easy” or “asking for it”!

When you ask the right questions to get someone’s sexual consent, it is the person who will answer you, not their clothes. So ask the person!

6. Taking someone’s consent when they are not in the state to give valid consent, is no consent

Consent availed when the other person is drunk or under the influence of drugs or asleep or unconscious, or is a minor, is no approval. If they are not in a state to understand your request for sexual interaction, then their consent is not an informed one, and thus it carries no meaning.

That is all we have on today’s post on what is sexual consent. Did you find this informative? Did this clear your doubts and give you important details about how to ensure sexual consent is part of every sexual activity you engage in? Let us know in the comment section.

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Featured image source: Google, copyright-free image, under Creative Commons License 

Article Name
What Is Sexual Consent 101: A Guide That Will Burst All Myths Around Sexual Consent
This is a 15-minute course, but one, which is essential; one, which will help you with the basics of sexual consent, beginning with what is sexual consent.
Riya Roy

Riya Roy

“If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn't brood. I'd type a little faster.” This Isaac Asimov line, embraces my love for writing in the finest and most desperate way that it is and should be! I was tormented by the earnestness of the written word not very early in my journey. But once smitten, it has helped me devour life twice over; savoring the moment and indulging in its memories. As a flâneuse, I wander to understand the intricacies of human relationships. Realizing that, they are just different manifestations of the same feeling of love, has been my greatest learning. I seek to share its opulence through the words I type.