Consent is sexy

Trigger warning: Sexual abuse

Two people are together, one person comes close to the other one, and before they kiss, there is this short moment of not knowing if it is okay to continue. Wouldn’t it be sexy to ask for permission? 

Tim Samuel | Pexels

Sexual consent means that people are actively willing to engage in sexual activity. That means that a person is freely accepting something that is going to happen related to sexual activity. It is important to give or receive enthusiastic consent when it comes to kissing, having sex, sexting, or sending nude photos, for example. In this context, enthusiasm means that the person genuinely wants to do this and is not only allowed to please the other person or because they feel like they should behave like it is expected. But how do you know the other person is interested, or what does enthusiastic consent look like?

If a person is awake during the sexual activity, aware, and feeling free of making their own choices, it means that there is enthusiastic consent. A person can also give you consent through words and action. 

But if a person says “No!” whether, with body language or out loud, it indicates that they do not give you consent to do this. People can change their minds though you already began to be sexual and say “No” to something they usually say “Yes” to. Silence is not confirmation to keep going, and also, a nod is not enough to establish content. 

Sometimes it is hard to say “No.” because you don’t want to enter into a conflict or don’t want to disappoint someone. So, if someone says sentences like “I am tired,” “Maybe later,” “Not now,” that’s a big red flag, and you have to stop immediately. Just as crying, shaking, passing out, no eye contact, and silence is not a sign of acknowledgment. 

But how can you know if the other person wants to kiss, have sex, be touched, or even wants to see your nudes? You have to ask. Ask if they feel comfortable with this and if it is okay for them. Listen to what they are saying; if you are not sure if you can continue, double-check and never assume something. 

However, is it necessary to ask for consent, even though you are married or in a relationship? 

Sydney Sims | Unsplash

According to the UNIFEM, one in three women worldwide will be raped, beaten, forced to have sex, or otherwise abused. Based on UNODC data, more than one million rapes are committed each year. This does not take into account that many rape victims do not report, and the crime is not registered. Based on information from the National Center to Combat Sexual Violence, every fifth woman in the USA experienced an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime, and one in three experienced this for the first time between the ages of 11 and 17. About half of female rape victims reported in the United States being raped by an intimate partner and 40.8% by an acquaintance. Nearly a quarter of men experience some form of contact sexual violence in their lives.

So yes, it is vital to ask for consent. Without it, sexual activity is sexual violence, and this leaves enormous consequences on the physical, mental, and sexual health of the survivor. 

It is never the fault of the survivor, the person that survived an abuse, assault, or rape, and there are no excuses. If this happens to you, there are places where you can find help. It would be best if you talked with someone you trust and have a good relationship with. Stay safe and always ask for consent. 

 Annik Fasold

Sources:
Microsoft Word – Weltweit Gewalt gegen Frauen (uni-freiburg.de)
WHO | Sexual violence
Consent: What it is and why it’s important – Kids Help Phone
What Consent Looks Like | RAINN
How to give and get consent – Brook
Microsoft Word – Weltweit Gewalt gegen Frauen (uni-freiburg.de)
Sexual Assault Statistics | National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC)

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