When Does Consent Matter?

I want to answer some questions.

When does consent count? Always.

What if we’ve already started having sex? Always.

What if I’m second guessing, can I stop in the middle? Always.

What if one partner wants to use protection and the other doesn’t? Always.

Always. Always. Always. Consent matters every time.

Coercion is not consent. Convincing someone to “just try it,” is not consent. Begging your partner to do something or guilting them into it is not consent. Asking someone multiple times for sex until they finally give in is not consent. Foregoing protection because “it’ll be fine,” when a partner was clear about using it is not consent.

That last one rings close to home for me. Earlier this year I had gone on dates with a guy that I genuinely liked. We had a lot in common, he was cute, very sweet, and after a few weeks of going out I felt pretty comfortable around him.

But when we decided to first have sex he expressed his frustrations with condoms. This is an issue for me because I’m not able to be on normal birth control due to a genetic condition called Factor V Leiden. In short, this condition means I have a higher risk of developing blood clots in the deep veins of my body that could then break off into my organs.

Blood clots are more likely to form with obesity, cancer, physical trauma, and hormonal changes from things like, of course, oral contraceptives. Non-hormonal birth control like a copper IUD is definitely on my radar, but there are multitudes of possible health complications that can accompany it, not something I’m keen to go try until I’m in a long term relationship.  

types of birth controlSo I explained this to the dude, who seemed to understand and didn’t bother me about it. Until the next time things got heated, where he asked again. “So I have to use a condom?” The answer hadn’t changed in the few short days that had passed and I reminded him of that.

Not only are condoms protection from unwanted pregnancy (lol my worst fear) but they’re also super important to protect against STIs and STDs (lol my other worst fear). I expressed to him, again, even if we both got tested and came up clean I’d still want to use a condom.

I’ll be blunt, it was awkward. Things weren’t exactly. . . working as planned for him with the condoms. It seemed he hadn’t had much experience with them. He was embarrassed, frustrated, and turned to me almost annoyed. He asked again. Again I said the same thing.

Unfortunately I’d had similar experiences before. Sometimes they ask multiple times either for more when we’re just kissing or for unprotected sex when we get to that point. It. Is. So. Annoying.

ugh eye roll gifIf someone asks, asks again, and maybe even another time for good measure, I see that they don’t respect me or my decisions about my body. When I say “no,” I mean no, I do not mean “convince me.”

Even if he claims “my pullout game is strong,” I still want to use a condom. Even if he lectures me about the numbers and statistics of pregnancy actually happening “it’s really, like, a slim chance just this once,” I still want to use a condom. (BTW according to this study by the Journal of Adolescent Health 75% of teen pregnancies are unplanned. And the chance of pregnancy can be as high as 30% during certain times of your cycle. I wouldn’t consider these slim chances but I digress.)

Often times society views condoms as something to do with men’s bodies, when in fact it has everything to do with women’s bodies too. It might affect how it feels for him, but it’s literally protecting not only a woman from the most strenuous change a human body can go through but her entire future. I’m not trying to be dramatic, but when it comes down to it that’s often the reality.

I mean what kind of narcissism and privilege does it speak to for someone to think they can tell ME what to allow with MY body? Like seriously, as if.

Ugh, as if!Anyways, I had to write this for myself and for anyone reading. Because my personal experiences added up to a scary realization that a lot of men don’t view my body as something that’s mine, but as possibly something that could be theirs for 10 minutes (or 45 seconds, depending on who you’re with lol).

Ladies, gents, and non binary readers stand up for yourselves. Be selfish with your body. Take care of it in the way you see fit and don’t let anyone change your mind for their sake. The only time you should change your mind about your body is for your own sake and enjoyment.

 

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