Sex and consent

An enthusiastic ‘yes’ is vital to any relationship.

Allison Damigella, Contributing Writer

As the great Salt-N-Pepa once said, “Let’s talk about sex baby, let’s talk about you and me, let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be, let’s talk about sex.” 

And that is what I want to do, explore all the good and bad things that stem from consent.

Now, I know we have all heard the consent speech from our school and are pretty tired of this basic concept, but it is so important. As a society, we don’t talk about consent enough.

In light of the #MeToo movement that started in 2006 by activist Tarana Burke and gained momentum in 2017, women have finally felt comfortable speaking up about sexual assaults. This movement has been a positive for sexual assault survivors to use and lean on. However, there are still people who don’t see the need for it and misuse the message.

Just because there has been a movement set in place for these women doesn’t mean sexual assaults disappeared overnight. These crimes are still happening to men and women, and there is only so much a slogan like “No means no” can do. 

So, friends, let’s talk seriously about consent.

I am sure there are many of us out here that think constantly asking for permission is not sexy, and, to be completely honest, it can be. That doesn’t mean we can just carry on without asking. It is so important to make sure you and your partner are both on the same page before progressing. I always say the best way to be sure is to sit down and have a conversation together before jumping into anything. This should be a very open and honest talk where you can establish a baseline of things you and your partner are and are not comfortable with. Our minds can change, so it’s important to keep up and communicate with your partner. 

Consent is vital to a healthy sexual relationship. (Connor Lawless )

Always know you have the right to say no. It has taken me too long of a time to realize that it is OK to say no.  It’s not going to hurt anyone’s feelings. However, if you say no and your partner keeps pressuring and asking until you finally “give in,” that is coercion. 

Coercion is not consent. It is when someone pressures you into doing something you don’t want to do. You see how that’s different from consent, right? Consent should be given freely and enthusiastically — it shouldn’t be something that’s beaten out of you.

Whenever a friend of mine tells me about a sexual encounter they have had, my first response is always to ask: Did you want it to happen? Were you safe? Are you happy? 

I think it is so important for us to check in on our friends and not just immediately praise them for having sex. While yes, sex can be an amazing thing, it is also a scary concept for others.

Go out and have fun, but remember that consent is the most important thing to give a person during sex. Yes, while there is a stigma about how asking for permission is not sexy, I am challenging each and every reader to make consent sexy. Because if we’re being honest, nothing is sexier than an enthusiastic “yes.”