Sex blog: Consent campaigns and the complexity of sex

Communication is the key to sex-cess (insert laughter/groaning here), and consent is a major component of communication.

There has been a lot of talk about consent lately, which is great. Consent is a two-way street: sexual partners also have the responsibility to ask consent.

You want to have sex and someone says no? Don’t have sex.

Someone wants to have sex with you and you don’t? Say no.

These yes-or-no campaigns treat consent as a black-and-white issue: either you have it or you don’t. While it’s great that more and more people are being informed about consent, I strongly believe these campaigns could do a better job of reflecting the diversity of sex.

Consent is easy to define with a yes-or-no answer. Sex is not so simple.

What troubles me about consent campaigns is that they often fail to highlight its importance throughout sexual encounters.The impression that “no” means “no sex at all” doesn’t empower sexually-active folks to revoke consent during sex.

Your partner hurting you? Say no.

You don’t want to do a certain position or give/receive a certain act? Say no.

No one likes speaking up during sex out of fear they’ll ruin the mood. But sex with someone who would like to revoke consent does ruin the mood, since only scumbags are cool having sex with those who aren’t comfortable/enjoying themselves. And no one should have sex with scumbags.

Pointing out that how someone looks and whether they’ve bought you drinks does not equal consent is great. Pointing out that people under the influence and/or unconscious can’t give consent is great.

Stressing the importance of consent for casual encounters is crucial, but mainstream campaigns often neglect to point out that consent is needed in all types of relationships.

The main takeaway for all you sex-havers reading this? You can say no to anything at any point. Always remember that with any point of any sexual act with any sexual partner, you have the power.