I read this most amazing and provocative article this week! Please read, as I cannot summarise nearly as well as the author has written, but the main points of conversation are as follows:
– The verbal elements of consent as hyped by the media and used by millenials
– Using verbal consent to ‘tick the box’ and not thinking about what consent actually means
– Consent during sex not extending to experiences in the outside world
Are we so preoccupied with attaining verbal consent that we have lost sight of whole point?: showing care and respect for another human being in a vulnerable situation.
I think part of it comes down to the idea of enthusiastic consent. A yes that’s coerced, seems uncertain, or has unenthusiastic or otherwise uncomfortable body language isn’t really a yes, but some might argue that the yes is all they need.
A lot of times the stereotype is that someone ‘didn’t say no’ and therefore consented, so I guess we do place way too much focus on the word ‘yes’ (or in that instance, the lack of ‘no’).
I think we need to shift the focus to consent as a process, so not just the yes to start a sexual act, but maintaining that level of comfort and respect during, responding to feedback if things are uncomfortable or in a change of mind, and not assuming that yes to a specific sex act means yes to the whole shebang.
What I loved about this article is how it applied the need for consent to other areas of our lives and relationships. It queried why consent (hopefully enthusiastic consent) only applies in the sexual realm and often does not extend to respect outside of the bedroom.
All this discussion on consent is so great, but is our definition still too narrow?
I think we need to respect people’s boundaries a lot more and consent isnt really taken into consideration in non-sexual social situations, e.g I absolutely loathe being cheek-kissed by people I don’t know very well, but no one stops to think about whether their actions affect my comfort level because it’s social, not sexual.
It talks about how you can bring consent up in a relationship, keep it comfortable, and be comfortable asserting what you want. I think the three minute game the article talks about is a good way to help people approach talking about consent with their partner, instead of making it a big, scary discussion