Essential Guide On Consent

A word that is so heavily enforced but not so heavily taught within educational systems is what is Consent? Consent in the dictionary is defined as:

“Permission for something to happen or agreement to do something.”

Whilst scrolling through social media or merely watching the news, it is becoming more and more apparent to me that the terms ‘consent’ and ‘sex’ are going further and further in the opposite direction. You often hear of saddening violent stories in the media about rape or sexual assault and action’s that have happened without someone’s Consent. Consent is an ENORMOUS aspect of all situations in life, though especially in any sexual encounter. It isn’t enough to assume that someone wishes to have sex with you just as much as you do. Consensual sex and non-consensual sex is something we commonly discuss at Oh Zone Adult Lifestyle Centres and thoroughly understand. Though it seems to be a word that is slipping out of the world’s vocabulary and rather seen as ‘poor judgement’.
First things first, clothing and alcohol have absolutely NOTHING to do with knowing, understanding and respecting the word consent. Looking back at my sex education in Primary School and High School, I do not remember EVER being taught about consent, what it is, and what it means if there is a lack of consent. How disgusting that we are taught WHAT sex is, HOW to have sex, and how to have PROTECTED sex, but not how to have CONSENSUAL sex? Is this a major fault in our education system? Absolutely. Should we be teaching from an early age about consent? Absolutely. Is this going to solve the problem and completely eradicate the problem? Absolutely not – but it’s a damn good place to start. There should be a regulated sexual education class that is compulsory that will talk about what consent is.

What Is Consent?

In any sexual encounter, it is of utmost importance to know that the other person/people involved are just as enthusiastic about having sex as you are i.e the person is 100% certain that they wish to have sex with you.. Consent means that someone says YES to sexual activity. Unbeknownst to children, young adults and many adults, not only is sex WITHOUT consent illegal, but it can be physically and emotionally damaging to a person for life. It is also important to realise that though someone has given their consent, they are allowed and absolutely entitled to change their mind. At any point in a sexual encounter it is your absolute right to stop the progression of activities if you so wish.  Remember, just because someone consents to kissing you, does not mean that they consent to intercourse.
Consent Statement
Image: Consent Can Be Withdrawn At Any Time

How Can You Tell If Someone Has Given Consent?

ASK. ASK. ASK.
Getting consent is only a sentence away and quite possibly one of the most life changing sentences you could ever ask. Below are a few simple sentences that could change yours or somebody else’s life by simply asking them:
  • Are you comfortable with this?
  • Would you like to go further?
  • Are you okay?
  • Would you like to stop?
  • Would you like to take a breather?
  • Do you want me to keep going?
  • Does this feel okay?
  • How do you feel about this?
  • Are you still into this?

Way’s To Tell Somebody Doesn’t Give Consent, Even Though They Haven’t Explicitly Stated So & What Means No?

  • Stiffening of their facial expression
  • Stiffening of their muscles
  • Not responding to touch
  • Not doing anything in return
  • Pushing you away or holding their arms out
  • Sobbing or crying
  • Saying ‘not now’ or ‘maybe later’ ALSO means no
  • If someone is asleep, unconscious, drunk, or under the influence of drugs, they cannot consent to sex and you should not accept their ‘yes’ as consent.

It is okay to say NO

There are other ways to slow down the progression of things if you are feeling uncomfortable:
  • Can we stay like this for a while?
  • Can we take a breather?
  • This is a little too much too soon.
If you are in a position where you feel you are in danger, are compromised or you are uncomfortable – it is okay to say NO. It is your right to say NO. Should you be the victim of non-consensual sex please seek assistance from your local rape crisis centre.

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Stephen is a cis-gendered gay male who spends far too much time with his two cats and eating tim tams. A self-identified sex-positive advocate he cares deeply about gender equality, disabilities, sexual education and social issues. Opinionated and bold he isn’t afraid to speak his mind and say what others won’t. With a yearning for knowledge and experience in all things relating to sex, he is a prolific writer that has developed the content for a myriad of informative Sexual Health and Wellness websites.

Stephen’s articles and writings tends to focus on social issues, sexual education, queer issues and all things fetish and absurd. He comes qualified with the completion of a double Bachelor degree in Social Sciences and literature, and a Masters in Education.

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