What constitutes consent?

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Anonymous #1
#1
Report Thread starter 3 years ago
#1
[Thread copied from Sexual Health forum]
I am a 25 yr old virgin....I have never made out with anyone or had a GF. This is not because I don't want to btw....

One of my most incessant fears about sex is that of what is meant by consent and when "yes means yes" and why an absence of "no" doesn't mean yes.

I am fully for 100% verbal consensual relationships. I know from speaking to people though, many are happy with implied consent as the repeated phrase "is this ok" is offputting.

Therefore, I wonder at what point does "engaging" behaviour legally imply sexual consent? If you're with someone and kissing them, and then end up lying with them in bed, when does an absence of "no" mean they didn't consent. If someone goes with what is going on, how is it possible to know they don't want to continue.

I also wonder what exactly you need to consent for. Obviously there are many different sexual acts and positions. If you gain consent at the start for sex ("is this ok?") what exactly is that consent for?

In a world where sexual assault / violence is so common, but accusations, whether true or false, can ruin someone's lives, how is it possible to engage in sex, without gaining an active "yes" every step of the way, without possibly being called a rapist.

If a woman has a bad experience, or changes her mind half way through but doesn't commincate this, is this rape? After-all, from the moment she changes her mind, even if she initially consents, this is technically rape.

I swear I am so terrified of this, that I wouldn't even consider sleeping with someone even if I really wanted to. The fear is paralysing as a man, because I know how devastating an accusation can be
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Sexwise
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#2
Report 3 years ago
#2
(Original post by Anonymous)
[Thread copied from Sexual Health forum]
I am a 25 yr old virgin....I have never made out with anyone or had a GF. This is not because I don't want to btw....

One of my most incessant fears about sex is that of what is meant by consent and when "yes means yes" and why an absence of "no" doesn't mean yes.

I am fully for 100% verbal consensual relationships. I know from speaking to people though, many are happy with implied consent as the repeated phrase "is this ok" is offputting.

Therefore, I wonder at what point does "engaging" behaviour legally imply sexual consent? If you're with someone and kissing them, and then end up lying with them in bed, when does an absence of "no" mean they didn't consent. If someone goes with what is going on, how is it possible to know they don't want to continue.

I also wonder what exactly you need to consent for. Obviously there are many different sexual acts and positions. If you gain consent at the start for sex ("is this ok?") what exactly is that consent for?

In a world where sexual assault / violence is so common, but accusations, whether true or false, can ruin someone's lives, how is it possible to engage in sex, without gaining an active "yes" every step of the way, without possibly being called a rapist.

If a woman has a bad experience, or changes her mind half way through but doesn't commincate this, is this rape? After-all, from the moment she changes her mind, even if she initially consents, this is technically rape.

I swear I am so terrified of this, that I wouldn't even consider sleeping with someone even if I really wanted to. The fear is paralysing as a man, because I know how devastating an accusation can be
Hi there

It's great you are thinking about consent - but there's no need to be terrified. Here's a blog that you might find useful. We also have a consent leaflet which you can read online. I'm going to copy and paste your question again and tackle your queries bit by bit if that's ok? As I can tell you already know from your questions, consent is a delicate issue so that's why you've got such a full answer.

One of my most incessant fears about sex is that of what is meant by consent and when "yes means yes" and why an absence of "no" doesn't mean.

-The absence of 'no' can be for a number of things, some people are too drunk or high to consent, or if someone is asleep they can't consent, they might freeze an be unable to react to a situation, or when there is a power imbalance (such as a large age gap) someone might feel like they can't say no, This is why we don't talk about consent as more than 'no means no' as someone might not be able to say no in a certain situation

-Luckily when people are enthusiastic it can be quite obvious. They might be making pleasurable sounds or telling you that they like it - take a look at the verbal and non-verbal signs in the consent leaflet.

-Body signals can be important. Adrenaline-induced reactions to scary situations can be to fight, flight or freeze. If someone tenses up or freezes, just stop and ask them if they are ok.

I am fully for 100% verbal consensual relationships. I know from speaking to people though, many are happy with implied consent as the repeated phrase "is this ok" is offputting.

-There are lots of different ways to verbally gain consent without repeating 'is this ok'. For example, you could say things like "I'd like to try this, would you?" or "Would you like it if I this" or "What would you like to do next?", "How about we switch positions?" and if you have obtained consent, you can always check in by asking "Does that feel good?". It can be a little tricky, as, unfortunately, women have been socially conditioned to be deferential to men, so the key thing is to look out for enthusiasm. If someone is a little bit like 'umm, I'm not sure' then take that as a no.

Therefore, I wonder at what point does "engaging" behaviour legally imply sexual consent? If you're with someone and kissing them, and then end up lying with them in bed, when does an absence of "no" mean they didn't consent. If someone goes with what is going on, how is it possible to know they don't want to continue.

Again, take a look at the leaflet for some ideas about verbal and non-verbal consent signals. It is very frustrating that we have been conditioned by movies to think that sex needs to develop silently without talking about it. It's ok to check in verbally as you go along. In fact, better communication leads to better sex. Getting used to giving and receiving feedback will make you a better sexual partner.

I also wonder what exactly you need to consent for. Obviously, there are many different sexual acts and positions. If you gain consent at the start for sex ("is this ok?") what exactly is that consent for?

Again, just keep checking in and don't try anything new without checking. This is an area where cisgender straight people can learn from the LGBT or BDSM community, where nothing is assumed. For example, you might say to someone, "I'd like to go down on you - is that something you would like?" or "Could we try it like this?" or "Should we change positions?" or "Is this working for you?". Again, verbal communication is your friend.

In a world where sexual assault / violence is so common, but accusations, whether true or false, can ruin someone's lives, how is it possible to engage in sex, without gaining an active "yes" every step of the way, without possibly being called a rapist.

False accusations are incredibly rare, but often take priority over the conversation about rape. The unfortunate truth is that the majority of actual rapists aren't convicted for their crimes, so many rape victims don't report what happens. The most important thing is to respect the person you having sex with, check in and make sure they are enjoying themselves, having a good time and are giving their enthusiastic consent.

If a woman has a bad experience, or changes her mind half way through but doesn't commincate this, is this rape? After-all, from the moment she changes her mind, even if she initially consents, this is technically rape.

Someone can withdraw their consent at any point during sex. In an ideal world, they'd say something, but it’s important to look out for key body signals such as tensing up or freezing. Again, at this point, you can ask them if they’re ok or if they’d prefer to do something else. If you are worried that you wouldn't be very good at picking up on signals like this then tell your partner: "Hey, I want us to have fun together. I'm not the best at picking up body language signals, so if you're not enjoying something or want to stop please tell me". It's very important that you listen to someone if they do take you up on this offer.

I swear I am so terrified of this, that I wouldn't even consider sleeping with someone even if I really wanted to. The fear is paralysing as a man, because I know how devastating an accusation can be

It sounds like you’ve put a lot of thought into this already and want to be a considerate partner. If you put care for your partner as the priority in your sexual encounters then you’re very likely to be able to respond to any reticence on their part and encourage them to communicate with you. It’s also more likely you and your partners will have pleasurable sex, as you’ll be able to communicate better about what is working.

Every day we do many things that have a small risk of serious consequences. We get in cars when we could crash, we go out in the sun when there is the risk of skin cancer. We can do things to reduce those risks, such as wearing a seatbelt or suncream, but we still have to continue to go about our daily lives and take part in these activities.

Sex and relationships come with risks. When in a relationship there is a serious risk of getting your heart broken, but people still fall in love because the feeling is worth it. Sex comes with a risk of STIs, or for cisgendered heterosexual couples the risk of unwanted pregnancy, but people still do it because it's fun and enjoyable. We can reduce the risk with condoms and other forms of contraception, but it isn't risk-free.

The chances of you being falsely accused of rape are very slim. We can't guarantee it, but the chances are incredibly slim. The chances of you hurting someone through sex and doing something they are uncomfortable with is greatly reduced if you are clued up about consent, and are a considerate sexual partner. We hope this answer helps you to be less terrified about the issue.

Good luck!

Daisy
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reply
Anonymous #1
#3
Report Thread starter 3 years ago
#3
Thank you for such a detailed reply
(Original post by Sexwise)
Hi there

It's great you are thinking about consent - but there's no need to be terrified. Here's a blog that you might find useful. We also have a consent leaflet which you can read online. I'm going to copy and paste your question again and tackle your queries bit by bit if that's ok? As I can tell you already know from your questions, consent is a delicate issue so that's why you've got such a full answer.

One of my most incessant fears about sex is that of what is meant by consent and when "yes means yes" and why an absence of "no" doesn't mean.

-The absence of 'no' can be for a number of things, some people are too drunk or high to consent, or if someone is asleep they can't consent, they might freeze an be unable to react to a situation, or when there is a power imbalance (such as a large age gap) someone might feel like they can't say no, This is why we don't talk about consent as more than 'no means no' as someone might not be able to say no in a certain situation

-Luckily when people are enthusiastic it can be quite obvious. They might be making pleasurable sounds or telling you that they like it - take a look at the verbal and non-verbal signs in the consent leaflet.

-Body signals can be important. Adrenaline-induced reactions to scary situations can be to fight, flight or freeze. If someone tenses up or freezes, just stop and ask them if they are ok.

I am fully for 100% verbal consensual relationships. I know from speaking to people though, many are happy with implied consent as the repeated phrase "is this ok" is offputting.

-There are lots of different ways to verbally gain consent without repeating 'is this ok'. For example, you could say things like "I'd like to try this, would you?" or "Would you like it if I this" or "What would you like to do next?", "How about we switch positions?" and if you have obtained consent, you can always check in by asking "Does that feel good?". It can be a little tricky, as, unfortunately, women have been socially conditioned to be deferential to men, so the key thing is to look out for enthusiasm. If someone is a little bit like 'umm, I'm not sure' then take that as a no.

Therefore, I wonder at what point does "engaging" behaviour legally imply sexual consent? If you're with someone and kissing them, and then end up lying with them in bed, when does an absence of "no" mean they didn't consent. If someone goes with what is going on, how is it possible to know they don't want to continue.

Again, take a look at the leaflet for some ideas about verbal and non-verbal consent signals. It is very frustrating that we have been conditioned by movies to think that sex needs to develop silently without talking about it. It's ok to check in verbally as you go along. In fact, better communication leads to better sex. Getting used to giving and receiving feedback will make you a better sexual partner.

I also wonder what exactly you need to consent for. Obviously, there are many different sexual acts and positions. If you gain consent at the start for sex ("is this ok?") what exactly is that consent for?

Again, just keep checking in and don't try anything new without checking. This is an area where cisgender straight people can learn from the LGBT or BDSM community, where nothing is assumed. For example, you might say to someone, "I'd like to go down on you - is that something you would like?" or "Could we try it like this?" or "Should we change positions?" or "Is this working for you?". Again, verbal communication is your friend.

In a world where sexual assault / violence is so common, but accusations, whether true or false, can ruin someone's lives, how is it possible to engage in sex, without gaining an active "yes" every step of the way, without possibly being called a rapist.

False accusations are incredibly rare, but often take priority over the conversation about rape. The unfortunate truth is that the majority of actual rapists aren't convicted for their crimes, so many rape victims don't report what happens. The most important thing is to respect the person you having sex with, check in and make sure they are enjoying themselves, having a good time and are giving their enthusiastic consent.

If a woman has a bad experience, or changes her mind half way through but doesn't commincate this, is this rape? After-all, from the moment she changes her mind, even if she initially consents, this is technically rape.

Someone can withdraw their consent at any point during sex. In an ideal world, they'd say something, but it’s important to look out for key body signals such as tensing up or freezing. Again, at this point, you can ask them if they’re ok or if they’d prefer to do something else. If you are worried that you wouldn't be very good at picking up on signals like this then tell your partner: "Hey, I want us to have fun together. I'm not the best at picking up body language signals, so if you're not enjoying something or want to stop please tell me". It's very important that you listen to someone if they do take you up on this offer.

I swear I am so terrified of this, that I wouldn't even consider sleeping with someone even if I really wanted to. The fear is paralysing as a man, because I know how devastating an accusation can be

It sounds like you’ve put a lot of thought into this already and want to be a considerate partner. If you put care for your partner as the priority in your sexual encounters then you’re very likely to be able to respond to any reticence on their part and encourage them to communicate with you. It’s also more likely you and your partners will have pleasurable sex, as you’ll be able to communicate better about what is working.

Every day we do many things that have a small risk of serious consequences. We get in cars when we could crash, we go out in the sun when there is the risk of skin cancer. We can do things to reduce those risks, such as wearing a seatbelt or suncream, but we still have to continue to go about our daily lives and take part in these activities.

Sex and relationships come with risks. When in a relationship there is a serious risk of getting your heart broken, but people still fall in love because the feeling is worth it. Sex comes with a risk of STIs, or for cisgendered heterosexual couples the risk of unwanted pregnancy, but people still do it because it's fun and enjoyable. We can reduce the risk with condoms and other forms of contraception, but it isn't risk-free.

The chances of you being falsely accused of rape are very slim. We can't guarantee it, but the chances are incredibly slim. The chances of you hurting someone through sex and doing something they are uncomfortable with is greatly reduced if you are clued up about consent, and are a considerate sexual partner. We hope this answer helps you to be less terrified about the issue.

Good luck!

Daisy
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HumanBrian
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#4
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#4
Consent is pretty much obvious from the body language.... Asking for consent is sort of useless unless you are into some proper hardcore stuff and you are actually hurting each other. Do not read gibberish articles about consent. It's just attention hoeing, useless and impractical.

Reality is that no matter if the sex was consensual, you can always end up locked up for a rape or assault/battery. Teenage chick are quite wishes creatures especially when it comes to breakups, they are not much into planning or thinking about consequences. So unless you have a video record of the whole thing, you have nothing.

She gets angry, goes to the station, bit of fake cry is enough for police to kick your door in, drag you to the police station and actually put you in jail, no evidence needed. Eventually you will get out, but well, for your neighbourhood you are just another rapist that cheated the system. You can take her to the court, but this will be a civil matter and that means that you have to pay for a lawyer from your own pocket.

So you can chose to pick between losing your reputation or a six digits sum. So much for the "rape culture"

If you date a normal one, consent is quite obvious as it has been for centuries...
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