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Consent is sexy

Sarah Scanlon | Sexual Assault Centre London | Lifestyles | February 13th, 2012

Seriously. Engaging in sexual activity in which all parties feel listened to and respected is hot. Being able to talk about both your boundaries and desires is key to having really great sexual connections.

Often when we talk about consent, we automatically go to "No Means No." While I think this is important, I wonder if we aren't missing something. I also really want to know what 'Yes' looks like! I want to know what it looks like to have a partner (or multiple, no judgments here!) who is equally excited to be getting down with me. We call this "enthusiastic consent."

I think for sexual encounters to be really amazing, we need a voluntary, sober, enthusiastic, creative, wanted, informed, mutual, honest and verbal agreement. To have passionate and consensual sex, all parties' desires and needs have to be involved in the decision- making. It's a process, that must be asked for every step of the way; if you want to move to the next level of sexual intimacy, just ask. If you can't check in with your partner and say, "Does this feel good? Are you comfortable? Are you interesting in trying...?," then perhaps you should stick to playing board games.

Consent is also never implied and cannot be assumed, even if in the context of a relationship. Being pressured, threatened or forced into saying yes is not consent. Before you become sexually active, ask yourself, "Have I expressed what I want? Do I know what my partner wants? Am I certain that consent has been given? Is my potential partner sober enough to decide whether or not to have sex? Am I sober enough to know that I've correctly read the situation?" These few questions could be the key to having some of the hottest and most connected sexual experiences. After all, having a partner who I know cares about what turns me on as well as what makes me uncomfortable seems like the recipe for a long night of bedroom (as well as kitchen, bathroom and living room) fun!
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