Initially, consent was generally defined as simply, “No means no”. Over time, we’ve grown to understand that consent is much, much more complex and complicated than hearing a yes or a no. Some of the following are outdated views on consent and need to be addressed, so we’ll explore that today.
1. “Hearing a yes at any point during sexual activity means that person has consented to everything following that yes.” Wrong! A woman saying yes to one sexual act does not mean that they have consented to the following ones. Assuming anything is a problem, especially when making an assumption about what a person is okay with.
2. “ Regardless of the mental state of a person, if they have consented, then any sexual actions that follow are fine.” Absolutely not. If you have ever been intoxicated and made a poor decision that you know you wouldn’t make while sober, then you can understand how taking an inebriated person’s yes with 100% certainty could be an issue.
In summary, the biggest issue is assuming – assuming that a person is okay with everything that is happening or assuming that she consented in the first place. If you need to assume then you shouldn’t engage in the activity, because if you make an assumption and it turns out to be wrong, then you would have participated in a sexual assault or rape. The best way to gain clarity on a persons’ view is by asking them. In a situation where there is uncertainty, the strictest rules need to be followed. Some but not all, of the general rules of consent are as follow:
- Once a person consents, they are allowed to take it back whenever they choose to.
- Being intoxicated eliminates a person’s ability to consent.
3. Coercion is wearing somebody down by consistently asking and pressuring them to have sexual relations. This is considered sexual assault.
4. Ask for consent at all points of sexual relations, so that there is no confusion. Transitioning to a new or different act of sexual activity should include asking for consent.