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Consent To Sex Isn’t Just About A “Yes” Or A “No”

Posted: January 18, 2018

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Consent is also about the ‘how’ of sex. It’s not (only) about the yes and no. The Aziz Ansari case got us thinking about consent to sex.

I am not weighing in on the Aziz Ansari and ‘Grace’ article. There is enough said about it on the web, from every possible perspective.

But here’s what it got me thinking about.

Consent to sex is not (only) about a yes or a no.

There absolutely needs to be a yes to begin with, but I can off the top of my head think of so many situations where a woman can want to have sex with a man and yet say no to certain things.


I want to have sex with you but not today.

I want to have sex with you but not as soon as we get in to your apartment.

I want to have sex with you but I don’t feel like doing (particular sexual activity).

I want to have sex with you but not if you don’t want to use a condom.

I want to have sex with you but not when I am so sleepy!

I want to have sex with you but I don’t feel like being rough today.

This should be really easy to understand, you’d think. And also, that explicitly writing it down in this fashion should not be the only way men get it.

After all, what part of ‘I am moving my hand away from your penis right away’ is not understandable as a call for a halt or a change in some fashion?

Sex does often involve some negotiation. You like X but I don’t like it all that much and hence can we try Y instead?

Except, we can’t always say it in those many words and we shouldn’t always have to. Sometimes, negotiation is verbal and sometimes it isn’t. Part of being in a sexual moment is listening to ‘all’ of your partner’s cues, and I am not saying this in a legalistic sense. A partner ignoring the quiet language of your body may never be liable in court.

But, in our bedrooms and in our lives and even in our media, women are saying that we’ve had enough of bearing all the burden of this communication. Men are being held to a higher standard now, and that’s okay.

Watch this video on Consent and it should be simple, really.

Image source: unsplash

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