Consent, voluntary agreement to something, is the fulcrom upon which a civilized society turns. If an adult does not want to engage in an activity then they shouldn’t have to do it. Whether it’s a cup of tea, a scientific experiment, church, politics, or “bumping uglies”–consent is everything. People want voluntary interactions. People want to be free from fraud and coercion and harassment.
There is of course some gray area left in the debate about sexual consent (ie can you consent while drunk) but the sexual etiquette has been pretty much well established in our culture.
So the real question remains, is verbal consent good enough or (as Dave Chappelle pointed out) do we need to get written consent for sexual intercourse?
Now, I’m an individual who lives in this place called the real world. I understand that there are many different personalities that exist within this place. Some people find that asking permission out loud for amorous congress is endearing and flattering; it shows that your date respects your space, you and your bodily autonomy.
Sex-positive feminists would probably argue that this is the only sure way to proceed in the 21st century. If you do not vocally ask, “May I fuck you now?” and receive a resounding “Absolutely!“, then the deals off, you’re not getting laid. Simple as that.
Or is it?
The problem is, like I said before, this world is full of different types of people who all have minds of their own (believe it or not), and each person has a tendency to like things done a certain way.
To some people, consensual sex still has to have an element of surprise and spontaneity. To them, asking the question, “May I kiss you now?” pretty much kills the mood. Some women may find men who ask first to be unconfident and cloying.
If a guy leans in and asks for a kiss and his date gets turned off, what went wrong?
Of course, in our politically correct culture, most feminists will tell you that he did the right thing. He asked for permission, got rejected, and nobody was violated. All is good. Yet to cling to this fiction is deliberately ignoring what a lot people actually want, and pretending that life as it is actually lived doesn’t happen.
Whether you like it or not, some women just don’t want men who abruptly stop the moment to get all bureaucratic. Nor do they want them to “check in” every few moments to see if she’s still having a good time. Some may think it’s sexy, some think it is totally unsexy and annoying.
However, the important thing to remember is that every person wants consent. Are you agreeing to what is happening to you? Even if it’s rough and wild and forceful and passionate and spontaneous, they still have to want it from you.
So, consent is mandatory, but maybe asking out loud for permission might kill the vibe.. what now?
The real reality is that human beings communicate quite well without speaking. Consent can be derived through body-language. A good yard-stick to measure consent is a level of enthusiasm. If the vibe is off and they’re visibly not feeling the mood, then trying to relentlessly pressure or coerce them to submit to your will is pretty creepy, and in a lot of cases illegal.
The rule you should always keep handy and live by is the fuck yeah! rule. Instead of just a simple “no means no”, try going by “fuck yeah means proceed”. If the person is hesitant, resisting, pulling away, or awkwardly silent or if they appear to be nervous, scared, guilty or uneasy at all whatsoever, do not proceed. A clearly agreed upon mutual self-interest has to be taking place to preclude the occurrence of assault and/or sexual coercion.
If you’re not seeing fireworks, then the show is over…
Some people aren’t ballsy enough to just tell you to fuck off when they don’t want something. They might be trying to spare your feelings. They might feel guilty or shy. They might even be trying to avoid losing their job or hurting a professional relationship, so it is possible that you won’t always hear a verbal “no” even if the writing is on the wall. That’s why you should always go by the rule of fuck yeah!
You don’t have to necessarily get a written permission slip, but consent is mandatory nonetheless. You have an instinctual ability to recognize social cues, and if you’re not getting the green light, just don’t keep trying. Take your rejection with some stride.
If you are dating and it’s not just a casual encounter, it is possible to communicate these issues without being a nervous dweeb waiting to get a signature on a document before you hold hands. An intelligent discussion on the subject can go a long way prior to carnal activity.
Now, last but not least, consent works both ways.
A huge myth in this whole debate is that men always want sex, so the rules somehow don’t matter for women. They do. Typically we single out the guys because we have an inherent eagerness in our culture to protect women, but this doesn’t mean women cannot commit sexual assault.
The narrative of a sex-crazed man pinning down some damsel in distress to have his will of her in a darkened alley is so ingrained in our culture that people think sexual assault cannot happen to a guy because he’s simply too strong to let it happen.
The reality is that most sexual abuse happens in close social circles where the victim usually knows the abuser.
We may have the physical strength of a savage brute, but we’re not going to (hopefully) knock out a female co-worker or friend who tries to have sex with us against our will.
In other words, just because we typically have the strength to physically stop a woman from abusing us, it doesn’t make it any less uncomfortable and awkward or damaging having to deal with it. The same fuck yeah! rule applies to women too. If we’re not into you, don’t keep trying to seduce us.
Check out this nice video here: