With the long overdue Hollywood reckoning of sexual transgressors and the Me Too Movement, both men and women are asking themselves deeper questions about sexual consent. What is consent anyway and how could it possibly be sexy?
We applaud Planned Parenthood’s clear guidelines on this issue. The information and the videos they provide are more realistic (and less cheesy) than your average “How To” video. But that’s exactly what these videos provide: a straightforward ‘how to’ on communicating sexual consent in different situations.
Here are the basics of consent as listed on Planned Parenthood’s Website.
- Freely given. Consenting is a choice you make without pressure, manipulation, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Reversible. Anyone can change their mind about what they feel like doing, anytime. Even if you’ve done it before, and even if you’re both naked in bed.
- Informed. You can only consent to something if you have the full story. For example, if someone says they’ll use a condom and then they don’t, there isn’t full consent.
- Enthusiastic. When it comes to sex, you should only do stuff you WANT to do, not things that you feel you’re expected to do.
- Specific. Saying yes to one thing (like going to the bedroom to make out) doesn’t mean you’ve said yes to others (like having sex).
We endorse sexual encounters where both parties are enthusiastic and engaged in the experience. Having sexual consent means that all partners involved are really into what’s going on. If you’re not sure about your partner’s downward glance or subtle shift away from your touch, all you have to do is check in. It’s as simple as asking, “Are you okay with this?” and being okay with their response whether they’re into it or not.
Respecting someone’s boundaries is crucial in building healthy, satisfying relationships. Do you know what’s not sexy? Someone being pushy, manipulative and aggressive both verbally and physically. This is a one-way ticket to Bad Sex City or worse.
In fact, according to Planned Parenthood, having any sexual contact without consent is considered sexual assault or rape. Silence is not consent. If someone is drunk, high or passed out, it is not okay to have sexual contact with them.
If you’re in a long-term relationship and you’re giving each other the silent treatment or you feel frozen or unenthusiastic about sex, pay attention. There’s always a reason for what’s coming up for you. It could be a physical or psychological issue, or a flag that something is out of whack in your broader relationship.
We recommend seeking more education, or even therapy, about yourself and your body as well as your relationship. Our Ladies Come First masterclass addresses some of the issues that could be impacting a woman’s interest in sex; The Men by Design masterclass discusses what could be impacting his enthusiasm for sex. For women and couples over 50, The Mature Woman’s Guide to Sexual Health and Relationships delves deep into common psychological and sexual issues impacting more mature couples.
Have you ever thought that negotiating consent can be sexy? Showing someone where you want to be touched, for example. Saying to your partner, “I really want to kiss you right now!” Consent doesn’t have to be phrased in a form of a question, for example “May I kiss you?”, which may sound awkward to some people. We give people ideas for how to gain consent in sexy and playful ways that keep the passion alive in our Men by Design masterclass and our upcoming class on dating.
Communication is key to good sex. Talking about sex can be a turn on! Talk about it before you get into bed with someone. Usually, you can tell if someone is pushy before any clothes come off. Know your boundaries. How far are you willing to go with someone you just met? What are you comfortable with? Maybe it’s just waist up foreplay on the first date!
Spending time with someone is key to getting to know them. Delay as much as possible so you have time to define your boundaries. If you’ve taken any of our masterclasses, you know that creating anticipation in the bedroom will strengthen anyone’s orgasm a hundred fold….if you so choose!