Updated: Dec 26, 2020
So, what is Consent? Is it about an excited “Yes”, or is it applicable in the absence of a “No”? Is it about a person’s actions, or it is about a person’s past behavior? When is it necessary – Is it required only before intercourse? Or is it required only for the first time?
Consent is an affirmative permission given to the other person before engaging in sexual activities. Consent could be an actual “Yes” or it could be the actions of the other person. And it is mandatory to seek that permission every time – even if you have already engaged in sexual activities in the past. Another important aspect is the circumstances and situations surrounding Consent. If another person is drunk or not in state to provide consent; refrain from performing any sexual activity.
Sex is enjoyable when there is mutual consent, trust and respect for each other - for their bodies, for their emotions and for their decisions. In case you are confused or in doubt, always ask. Ensure to make the other person comfortable and give them the space to say No or Yes.
There have been times where we keep saying “I am not in the mood”, “Not today”, “I am not comfortable”, “I am not feeling like it”; only for your partner to ignore these. Typical responses are “So you were okay during last time”, “But you wanted so bad at the party!”; or they may become aggressive – “Are you crazy? What the fuck!”. It is very critical to normalize consent and exercise your right to say a clear No/Yes.
Some sample questions you can ask before engaging in sexual activity are:
1. Let me know if you want me to stop
2. Do you want to take things to the next level?
3. Would you like, if I do this?
4. What do you want to do next?
5. Is this okay?
6. Do you want to try this?
So, how do we normalize the culture of seeking consent? Should we start teaching about Consent right from school itself? Can we take workshops in colleges, universities highlighting the importance of consent and cases where offenders were punished due to lack of consent? Can we make it mandatory for porn websites to include the message of consent in their videos? Can we showcase consent in main-stream videos, movies, etc.?