10 Posters for a Much Needed Lesson in Consent 101
Consent is a simple concept to understand. No means no, yes means yes, and it's all good. But many fail to understand how consent really works, and still think there is a middle ground to sexual consent. There really isn't. And only an enthusiastic YES, verbal or non-verbal (like a nod), can be termed as giving full consent.
To give you a better understanding of what is consent and, more importantly, what is not, Vagabomb gives you a brief lesson in Consent 101. Keep these in mind when you're getting intimate with your partner the next time. Sex, after all, is a mutually pleasurable act that both partners should enjoy equally.
Many believe that it isn't rape unless there's someone screaming and yelling 'no.' But it is more complicated than that. Sexual assault victims are often too scared to say no, or can't because they think it will further provoke the perpetrator. To ensure you have consent, all you have to do is ask your partner whether they're okay with whatever's happening. You can also gauge by their body language. If you feel there is even a little resistance, you do not have their consent.
If someone wanted to have lunch with you on Saturday, it does not mean they'd want to have lunch with you on Tuesday, even if they were really persistent about it earlier. The same goes for sex. If you've had consensual sex once (or even multiple times before), it does not mean they'll be up for it again or every other time.
While having sex or making out, if one wants to stop in the middle out of discomfort, is reconsidering the act, or is simply tired, you no longer have their affirmative consent. Going ahead anyway is assault. If they haven't said no, be on the lookout for changes in body language. Withdrawal of consent is as good as no consent from the beginning.
When one consents to kissing or making out with you, it does not necessarily mean they want to go all the way. They may not be ready for it, or they're simply not comfortable doing it. Make sure your partner is completely on board with whatever stage of foreplay or sex you want to get to. If you're not sure, just ask.
If one consented under the assumption that you're free of STDs, monogamous, will marry them eventually, or are on birth control, it cannot be considered consent. Consent under any false pretext is not total consent. Your partner did not agree to have sex with the real you, and that means there is lack of consent.
Consent is when both partners are really completely involved with what's going on, and are enjoying it equally. Making someone feel guilty and telling them that they owe it to you, or pressurising or threatening them to have sex with you is not consent. Being overly persistent until they eventually give in is also not consent. It is about giving your partner a choice, and not leaving them with a choice is as good as not getting consent.
Wearing a certain kind of clothing or not wearing anything at all is not consent. One's clothes are not an invitation to sex or any kind of sexual advance. Clothes cannot physically ask for sex , people can and will if they really want to. And 'provocation' is never an excuse for the lack of consent.
When alcohol or drugs are involved, or one is sleeping or is a minor, one is incapable of giving valid consent. If they cannot understand the details of the sexual interaction, they are not in a state to give their consent. One needs to be conscious enough to be able to understand the situation and be aware of all details (such as who, where, what, when, why, or how).
Only a clear, conscious, coherent, and definite 'yes' is consent. If it's anything other than that, clarify it with your partner before you go ahead.
Yes, it really is that simple.
Artwork by Utkarsh Tyagi .