Two Cents on Consent

What the huge debate about  sexual consent tells us very clearly is that up until now, it was considered pretty irrelevant to many whether a woman wanted to have sex or not. The fact that it was feasible to have sex with her, after much cajoling, possible plying with alcohol, and at worst, some physical “encouragement”seemed to be all that mattered to the perpetrator. In fact, it has often been considered an inevitable part of the “hunt” that you have to chase your prey, corner it and pounce!

Most women will have experienced situations where they have tried to nip unwanted sexual advances in the bud, only to be totally ignored. The ridiculous irrationality that No means Yes, if you ask again and again…has survived the test of time. Somehow it has become embedded in some forms of the masculine psyche and it is still going to take time and a major shift in perception to change this mentality permanently.

One might think that it shouldn’t be necessary to debate the nuances of what establishes consent, that it should be pretty obvious to most human beings, with average intelligence, whether somebody wants to have sex with them or not. Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to be the case and there are thousands…millions of women who can attest to this fact.

Fortunately, in the same way that other abusive practices, long tolerated in a society, suddenly find themselves exposed as simply vile and no longer to be suffered in silence, the time has come when sexual harassment is no longer seen as the less attractive manifestation of sexual interest, but simply as the unacceptable actions of a predator.

One would hope that people could conduct themselves in reasonable, non-abusive ways in relation to each other. That they would not force themselves on unwilling others, that communication between a couple, newly- met or long-established, would be given prevalence, based on mutual understanding and respect.

However, since this is not the case, we have to have laws to regulate every aspect of our lives, including our sexual mores. According to the Sexual Offences Act of 2003, if one person does not consent to sexual activity, with the freedom and capacity to give that consent, and the other person doesn’t reasonably believe that there is consent, then it is an offence. It couldn’t be clearer.

And yet, it is understandable that all this discussion of what constitutes consent and sexual harassment has caused concern among some men, who might be genuinely unsure as to what kind of behaviour might be considered acceptable nowadays. They might be worried that some display of interest might be misinterpreted. It is a time for adjustments certainly but an approach which is honest and respectful of the other can never be far wrong.

 

BY CONCHITA TRIAY

 


Consexual

Consensual sex is a great thing. Sex is to be celebrated, not kept hidden away in the shadows. It’s what most people like to get up to and it’s how we reproduce, so surely it’s something we should all be educated on and know about.

What is consent?

Where do you draw the line?

When do we consider that this sexual or simply casual encounter is no longer consensual? It’s simple. It’s the second you say ‘No’.  Even if you’ve just had dinner, gone up to their apartment and sat on their bed and decided there and then you’re no longer comfortable, if you don’t want to go through with it and have expressed this opinion, then you shouldn’t have to.

Not once in my education did someone even hint that, even though I may feel small, that other person cannot over power me. It’s weird you know, the world has made us believe that the people who break our consent are normally unkind and dangerous men. This outlook is toxic and only feeds negativity. We have to accept that consent is broken by bad people, no matter your gender or appearance. Your advancement on another without their permission is what makes you evil, and there is no excuse for breaking that trust.

I’ve decided to compile a little list of different situations incase you need any help knowing when no means no:

  • When you take someone out for dinner, take them to your house, spoon together and watch a film. You decide to make a move and they say no
  • When they say ‘No’.
  • When you’re mid sexual intercourse or even just some fun and games on top of the shirt and they say no.
  • When they say ‘Stop’.
  • When you’ve been living together for 30 years, married for 25 years, have 3 children and you have a steady sex life with each other. Then your significant other says no when you advance on them, it’s a no.
  • When they say ‘Get off’.
  • When they’re paralytic and can barely say no.
  • When they say ‘No’.
  • When they have a reputation for being promiscuous and you take them home, lie down and watch some Netflix and you try to ‘chill’ but he/she doesn’t want to ‘chill’. When they say ‘No’, it’s a no.
  • When they say ‘Stop’.
  • When you go home to their house after a night out (which happens most Saturdays because you’re kind of seeing each other) and they’re blind drunk, half asleep lying in their bed and you think they’ll be okay with it once they realise what you’re doing.
  • When they say ‘Get off’.
  • When you lock your bedroom door, force someone down until they give in.
  • When they say ‘No’.
  • When you ask them so many times, that they begin to panic and eventually just have sex with you because they know and you know it’s easier if they just get it over and done with.
  • When they say ‘Stop’.
  • When they watch kinky films, play sexy dice games, like odd foreplay and read super raunchy sex books. If they say ‘No’, it’s a no.
  • When they say ‘Get off’.
  • When you’re friends have all slept with the same person and tell you this one person is super easy. So you give it a go and they say ‘No’. Well guess what, it’s a no.
  • When they say ‘No’.
  • When you’re at an after party, sitting on a couch. You’re the only ones left in the room and everyone else is off humping in the other rooms. You climb up to them, they kiss you (for a while), you begin to touch them up and they push you off.
  • When they say ‘Stop’.

To many this may seem as common sense but as parts of our community have expressed recently, it is not.

 

BY ALEX MENEZ