What You Need To Know About Consent
It’s On Us states that “consent is voluntary, mutual, and can be withdrawn at any time. Past consent does not mean current or future consent. There is no consent when there is force, intimidation, or coercion. There is no consent if a person is mentally or physically incapacitated or impaired because one cannot understand the fact, nature, or extent of the sexual situation”
Communication is the most important aspect as you escalate a sexual relationship and that communication does not have to sound clinical. You can say “Yes” in other ways like saying “I’m okay” or “That’s good”. You can ask for consent by asking things like “Are you okay?”, “Can I touch you there?”, “Are you comfortable?”.
In the same vein, we can also say “No” in non-clinical ways. “No” can be stated in a variety of ways including “Don’t touch me”, “I’m not sure”, “I’m not ready”, “I’m scared”, or, “I think I’ve had too much to drink”. No means no and at that point, sexual activity has to stop because consent is not given.
You may have heard of tacit consent or implied consent and it’s the opposite of everything we’ve outlined so far. Tacit consent can be dangerous in casual sexual relationships because it can often be the result of a miscommunication. It is important to get an affirmative response from your sexual partner and be aware of how they may be trying to say yes or no to you.
When you’re mindful and intentional about your communication, consent can go from a clinical term to something very organic.