A Modest Proposal: The Thorny Issue of Sexual Consent
Thursday, October 18, 2007
There's been a lot of discussion about what constitutes "consent" in terms of sexual encounters. Personally, I'm a strong proponent of just asking my sexual partner (even after we've been together for years) the simple question: "Do you want to have sex with me?"
Figuring out what to do after asking this question is a very easy If/Then statement:
IF Answer = "Yes", THEN *sex ensues*, ELSE *sex does not ensue*.
Now, when I've proposed this solution to
rape-apologists some people, they have challenged my programming sequence with a very thorny "ElseIF" equation: "But what if she changes her mind in the middle of it and then accuses me of rape?" -- because according to these rape apologists people, this apparently happens all the time -- just every time you turn around, I guess (on some planet).
rape apologists individuals also say that getting clear consent before gettin'-it-on is a "mood-killer", and one of them stated "unless a woman is chanting "Yes' over and over for hours without interruption . . . . any woman can then claim withdrawal of consent."
And that's when it hit me -- my fool-proof solution to the thorny issue of "consent":
1) Get a clear "yes" from your partner before engaging in sex AND 2) BECOME A BETTER LOVER
See, I've never really thought of it as a problem if my lover was chanting (or screaming) YES! YES! YES! "over and over for hours without interruption" during sex. ("Don't Stop!" and "Keep doing whatever it is you're doing!" also do not disturb me in the slightest.)
In fact, this situation has been so common for me that I had simply assumed that it was par for the course.
You may be wondering: "But PortlyDyke -- How do I become a better lover?"
So here are PortlyDyke's Quick Tips for Better Consensual Sex:
1. ALWAYS get consent from the other person(s) involved before engaging in sex. Awkward as it may sound, I have found that most people who want to have sex with me actually enjoy being asked. (I still ask my partner of many years, and y'know what? -- it tickles her pink! -- no pun intended) Yes, this means that you may have to deal with the inconvenient fact that your prospective partner is too drunk/unconscious to either comprehend your question or answer you -- but in that case --DO NOT PROCEED. See? Isn't that simple?
2. If, at any time during the sexual engagement, your partner says "Stop", "No", "Don't" -- then stop, no, DON'T! If your partner resists you physically -- stop, no, don't. Immediately. DO NOT PROCEED. (There are some exceptions to this rule if you are engaging in consensual S/M, but if you're playing those games without talking it over first and employing "safe words", you deserve whatever fallout you get, AFAIC.)
3. Now here's where the "better lover" part comes in -- If, at any time, you perceive that your partner looks uncomfortable, apathetic, disinterested/disengaged about what's going on, stop and ask them questions like: "Are you enjoying this? Is there something else you want?", etc.. Then listen to their responses and take creative, consensual action on what you hear. I suppose that having apathetic, listless sex may be a turn-on for some people, but if you want to hear that resounding and enthusiastic consent (YES! YES! YES! over and over for hours without interruption), then continuing without enthusiastic response maybe isn't such a great strategy in terms of building your sexual mojo. Jus' sayin'.
(On a totally serious note -- if you are having sex with a stranger, and both of you aren't sober or conscious enough to at least have a coherent talk about STDs and birth control before you make the beast with two backs or commence with the muff-diving/sword-swallowing -- maybe you should consider exchanging phone numbers, going home alone, and having a nap. Seriously.)
Posted byPortlyDyke at 3:17 PM