Owning Your Sexual Self

61.2- What is Consent?

April 27, 2021 Rachel Maine
Owning Your Sexual Self
61.2- What is Consent?
Chapters
Owning Your Sexual Self
61.2- What is Consent?
Apr 27, 2021
Rachel Maine

This episode was taken directly from rainn.org, an incredible resource for sexual assault awareness month. To those local to Wayne County Michigan, First Step is a non-profit dedicated to helping individuals of domestic and sexual violence. They're website is firststep-mi.org. 

What is consent?
Consent is an agreement between participants to engage in sexual activity. Consent should be clearly and freely communicated. A verbal and affirmative expression of consent can help both you and your partner to understand and respect each other’s boundaries.

How does consent work?
When you’re engaging in sexual activity, consent is about communication. And it should happen every time for every type of activity. Consenting to one activity, one time, does not mean someone gives consent for other activities or for the same activity on other occasions. For example, agreeing to kiss someone doesn’t give that person permission to remove your clothes. Having sex with someone in the past doesn’t give that person permission to have sex with you again in the future. It’s important to discuss boundaries and expectations with your partner prior to engaging in any sexual behavior.

You can change your mind at any time.
You can withdraw consent at any point if you feel uncomfortable. One way to do this is to clearly communicate to your partner that you are no longer comfortable with this activity and wish to stop. Withdrawing consent can sometimes be challenging or difficult to do verbally, so non-verbal cues can also be used to convey this. 

What is enthusiastic consent?
Simply put, enthusiastic consent means looking for the presence of a “yes” rather than the absence of a “no.” 

Enthusiastic consent can look like this: 

  • Asking permission before you change the type or degree of sexual activity with phrases like “Is this OK?”
  • Confirming that there is reciprocal interest before initiating any physical touch.
  • Letting your partner know that you can stop at any time.
  • Periodically checking in with your partner, such as asking “Is this still okay?”
  • Providing positive feedback when you’re comfortable with an activity.
  • Explicitly agreeing to certain activities, either by saying “yes” or another affirmative statement, like “I’m open to trying.”
  • Using physical cues to let the other person know you’re comfortable taking things to the next level.

***Physiological responses like an erection, lubrication, arousal, or orgasm are involuntary, meaning your body might react one way even when you are not consenting to the activity. Sometimes perpetrators will use the fact that these physiological responses occur to maintain secrecy or minimize a survivor's experience by using phrases such as, "You know you liked it." In no way does a physiological response mean that you consented to what happened. If you have been sexually abused or assaulted, it is not your fault.

Consent does NOT look like this: 

  • Refusing to acknowledge “no”
  • A partner who is disengaged, nonresponsive, or visibly upset
  • Assuming that wearing certain clothes, flirting, or kissing is an invitation for anything more
  • Someone being under the legal age of consent, as defined by the state
  • Someone being incapacitated because of drugs or alcohol Pressuring someone into sexual activity by using fear or intimidation
  • Assuming you have permission to engage in a sexual act because you’ve done it in the past

If you’ve experienced sexual assault, you’re not alone. To speak with someone who is trained to help, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673) or chat online at online.rainn.org.

Show Notes

This episode was taken directly from rainn.org, an incredible resource for sexual assault awareness month. To those local to Wayne County Michigan, First Step is a non-profit dedicated to helping individuals of domestic and sexual violence. They're website is firststep-mi.org. 

What is consent?
Consent is an agreement between participants to engage in sexual activity. Consent should be clearly and freely communicated. A verbal and affirmative expression of consent can help both you and your partner to understand and respect each other’s boundaries.

How does consent work?
When you’re engaging in sexual activity, consent is about communication. And it should happen every time for every type of activity. Consenting to one activity, one time, does not mean someone gives consent for other activities or for the same activity on other occasions. For example, agreeing to kiss someone doesn’t give that person permission to remove your clothes. Having sex with someone in the past doesn’t give that person permission to have sex with you again in the future. It’s important to discuss boundaries and expectations with your partner prior to engaging in any sexual behavior.

You can change your mind at any time.
You can withdraw consent at any point if you feel uncomfortable. One way to do this is to clearly communicate to your partner that you are no longer comfortable with this activity and wish to stop. Withdrawing consent can sometimes be challenging or difficult to do verbally, so non-verbal cues can also be used to convey this. 

What is enthusiastic consent?
Simply put, enthusiastic consent means looking for the presence of a “yes” rather than the absence of a “no.” 

Enthusiastic consent can look like this: 

  • Asking permission before you change the type or degree of sexual activity with phrases like “Is this OK?”
  • Confirming that there is reciprocal interest before initiating any physical touch.
  • Letting your partner know that you can stop at any time.
  • Periodically checking in with your partner, such as asking “Is this still okay?”
  • Providing positive feedback when you’re comfortable with an activity.
  • Explicitly agreeing to certain activities, either by saying “yes” or another affirmative statement, like “I’m open to trying.”
  • Using physical cues to let the other person know you’re comfortable taking things to the next level.

***Physiological responses like an erection, lubrication, arousal, or orgasm are involuntary, meaning your body might react one way even when you are not consenting to the activity. Sometimes perpetrators will use the fact that these physiological responses occur to maintain secrecy or minimize a survivor's experience by using phrases such as, "You know you liked it." In no way does a physiological response mean that you consented to what happened. If you have been sexually abused or assaulted, it is not your fault.

Consent does NOT look like this: 

  • Refusing to acknowledge “no”
  • A partner who is disengaged, nonresponsive, or visibly upset
  • Assuming that wearing certain clothes, flirting, or kissing is an invitation for anything more
  • Someone being under the legal age of consent, as defined by the state
  • Someone being incapacitated because of drugs or alcohol Pressuring someone into sexual activity by using fear or intimidation
  • Assuming you have permission to engage in a sexual act because you’ve done it in the past

If you’ve experienced sexual assault, you’re not alone. To speak with someone who is trained to help, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673) or chat online at online.rainn.org.