Consent: Know It, Practice It & Let's Talk About It

Ah, the “c” word. So badass, so critical, so necessary. If you don’t know the word already, it’s consent. When two people are engaging in sexual activity, consent is a big part of the experience, or rather deciding whether or not to move forward with any activity at all. Well, what is consent? Planned Parenthood says it best! “Consent means actively agreeing to be sexual with someone. Consent lets someone know that sex is wanted. Sexual activity without consent is rape or sexual assault.” It’s as simple, and major, as that. It also doesn’t need to be boring, awkward, or uncool to talk about because let’s face it, it’s almost 2020. Let’s talk about it. 

Fun ways to get consent exist! Here are a few ways to do it during foreplay and sex:

  • “Do you like it when I ___?”
  • “Do you want it too?”
  • “Can I _____?”
  • Body language: read it! If someone is leaning in, take it as a sign to ask if they are okay and if they want to continue. 

What do these all have in common? Just ask, and be receptive to what their words and their body is telling you. Most importantly, remember that “no” means “no.” Period! Your “no” is to be respected, and your partner’s “no” means to stop. You may also just not be ready for sexual activity and that’s okay, too! It is so important for each of us to be comfortable with who we are individually, our bodies, and being close and intimate with other people. Whether you are sexually active right now or not, this conversation is necessary for everyone to be familiar with, and will come in handy in the future when the time feels right. Consent is also something that if said once, does not mean it lasts forever! You’re allowed to change your mind! You have every right to decide you no longer want to engage in sexual activity with someone during it, after it if they ask for a “next time,” and just because you consented once, does not mean you have to consent in the future. 

When two people are engaging in sexual activity, it can look like many different things depending on the mood, who they are, and what they are comfortable with! No matter the style of sexual activity, whether it’s oral, anal, or vaginal, they all require consent. If you know what you like, try telling your partner “I want you to do ___ to me,” and hey, say it with confidence! It’s sexy! With any sexual activity, the ultimate goal is for enjoyment, love, and pleasure. It allows us to feel connected within ourselves, others, and our bodies. Sex also relieves tension, or is engaged in to reproduce and have babies! Masturbation is also a popular and common form of sexual activity for self-love and self-pleasure. It’s an awesome way to discover what you enjoy by doing exactly what you want, and is the least risky in the sense that no birth control needs to be involved! There’s also many benefits that include improved productivity, release of sexual frustrations, when a partner is not available, and more. This is a sexual relationship with yourself that is equally, if not more, important than with others. To be comfortable with your own body, how it works, what it likes, is totally and absolutely liberating. Plus, who doesn’t want to feel good. 

When it comes to sexual activity, we’re constantly reminded with waving fingers to wear condoms, get on the pill, or just a whole lot of “don’t do it.” It’s time to change this conversation and move forward with the facts that sex feels good, and we deserve to feel good. We also deserve to be treated with respect when we express we are uncomfortable or simply when we say or show signs of “no.” Consensual sexual activity with our partners paves the way for healthy and strong relationships for both people. Ask the questions, read the body language, and also acknowledge your own feelings because each experience can feel so different. Lastly, don’t forget to enjoy yourself and make sure your partner is enjoying themselves too!