I’m going to talk about an uncomfortable topic. Consent. Now, consent shouldn’t be an uncomfortable topic. We should feel free to give and take consent in any area of life. We shouldn’t do things without the consent of others either. Specifically I want to talk about consent relating to sex and intimacy.
Important things to know about consent before we begin:
- All parties involved must give consent for something to happen
- A person cannot give consent if they are intoxicated
- A person cannot give consent if they are unconscious
- If it is not a hard yes, it is a no
- If they were pressured or coerced into saying yes, it is a no.
- CONSENT CAN BE SEXY
To me, very few things are sexier than feeling comfortable with the person you’re being intimate with, knowing your boundaries. There is a stigma around asking “is this ok?” Or “do you mind if I…?” Because it apparently kills the mood. I’m going to be completely candid, I, and so many others, would rather the mood died a little then picked back up than one person killed the mood completely by doing something the other wasn’t comfortable with.
Consent doesn’t just apply to physical intimacy though. We live in an age where many people partake in “sexting” and other forms of online intimacy. Sending unsolicited nude pictures of intimate parts of your body, whilst not illegal, is wrong and can make the recipient extremely uncomfortable. According to a 2017 YouGov study, 53% of women aged 18-24 have received unsolicited “dick pics”.
I’d like you to imagine something for me. You are having a conversation with your friend, one of those easy chats, talking about nothing in particular. The conversation takes a turn when the background of their snapchats are no longer their face, but their bulge, or cleavage, or something with even less clothing. Or perhaps even you haven’t spoken to the person in a while, a couple hours, maybe even a couple of days. And you get one of these pictures. You’d feel uncomfortable right? If you answered no, I’m going to assume you’re lying to yourself.
Just like with physical intimacy, even if someone has given consent and partaken before, doesn’t mean they will again. I promise you, sending an uncomfortably forward or suggestive picture is not the best way to initiate virtual intimacy. Talk to people, understand where their boundaries lie. Just because the person isn’t with you in person and you cannot physically violate them, doesn’t mean you can’t violate them emotionally, leaving them with sour experiences that make it much harder to be intimate in the future when they are ready.
In conclusion: don’t be an asshole, get consent.