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Defining Sexual Consent

A clear and difinitive picture of what consent to sex looks like.

BY Beryl Karimi-La Patrona

Dec 06, 2022, 03:49 PM

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Since the advent of #MeToo, the question of consent is the one that continues to be answered. How do you know you have ever been abused? How do you know you have been violated by someone? And is there a rule book that defines these boundaries? 

In Netflix's limited series, The Anatomy Of A Scandal, a British politician finds himself in court following a lawsuit filed by his former mistress accusing him of rape. 

She says she said no and he says he did not hear it. She says she tried to get away from him and he says she responded to his touch. She says he tore her panties and he says they always had rough sex. That it was not the first time anything like that had happened. In between the accusations and the firm denials the question that remains is, did she consent to sex? Or did she just give in as a result of the pressure imposed by her lover? 

You have to watch the series to find your answers but here are a few tips on what consent to sex really means.

Consent is a firm YES. 

Consent is not implied. It cannot be assumed. The person is either into it or they are not into it and you can only know they are into it if they verbalize their desire to have sex with you.  

No does not mean, "convince me."

No is a complete sentence. No means I do not want to and it should be treated as such. A lot of women acquiesce to sex because the other party is so insistent. People especially men cry about blue balls to guilt trip their partners into sex and that level of emotional blackmail is basically rape. 

Consent is enthusiastic.

The moment you blackmail someone into saying yes, the moment you coerce them into saying yes it becomes rape. There are a lot of times when women given to sex because they know there will be consequences when they don't. That cannot be counted as consensual sex. Consensual sex only happens when both parties are eager to be with each other.

Consent can be withdrawn.

Consent is not cast on stone. It isn't a binding contract. It is something that can be withdrawn if the other party starts feeling uncomfortable. They do not have to be in pain. They do not have to make any excuses for it. If they are not feeling up to it they can ask you to stop and it becomes rape when you refuse to listen to them.

Stop means you stop. It doesn't mean it is time for you to get on a race for your orgasm.

Consent is continuous.


When you are having sex it is very important to keep on checking on your partner because consent to one act of sex is not consent to other acts of sex.

In heterosexual relationships women are oftenly raped anally because men penetrate without asking first. They just take advantage of the fact that they have been given consent to penetrative sex to explore other parts of her body.

Consent looks like, "Can we try anal sex?"
"Can I touch you here?"
"Are you enjoying that? What does it make you feel?"

Checking on your partner is a very important aspect of sex as it helps you know you are on the same page with the other person.