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The importance of consent and joining the conversation

by Hazen Center for Integrated Care
Tue, Feb 13th 2018 10:00 pm

One of the most effective yet under-rated aphrodisiacs is consent. For example, let’s say you’re about to have oral sex with a new partner and before they go down on you, they ask, “Is this good with you?” You can’t tell me this doesn’t excite you. Saying things like “Is this good for you?”, “Should we switch it up?”, and “What do you like?” are great ways to have a conversation with your partner(s) while also getting consent. 

If you don’t know what they want, or they say yes but don’t seem sure, Planned Parenthood gives some great examples of how to ask: “I want to make sure you want to do this. Should I keep going?” and “It’s okay if you’re not into this. We can do something else. What do you think?”  

We know that sometimes things just get hot and heavy fast. Sex is a biological need, so of course we are going to want to jump in. Talking about consent is not meant and should not be seen as an inconvenience. Actually, it can be just as easy as ordering a pizza. 

When sharing a pizza with someone, you ask if they want to get pizza, what kind of toppings they like and don’t like, and then you order the pizza and life is great. You can apply this same process to sex. You ask your partner(s) if they want to have sex, and what kind of things they like or don’t like, and then sex can be made the way everyone likes it. 

According to bedsider.org, you should “think about what you want from the experience — how you want your partner to feel, what type of experience you want to have … Is it about having fun? Strengthening love? Creating a connection? Seeing how many orgasms you can both have? If people are in line with what they want from the experience, they are more likely to feel satisfied in the end.” 

Being empowered by your sexuality includes being empowered to give and recieve consent. We know what we like and what we don’t like, but sometimes we haven’t experienced something and want to try it. While trying new things, telling your partner(s) you want to continue or not is still important. Having a mutual feeling of pleasure is going to make the sex even better. 

When asking for consent, we don’t usually hear someone say, “Do I get consent to ___?” Just because you aren’t using this language, or specifically the word consent, doesn’t mean you aren’t asking for it. Has previously mentioned, there are multiple ways to ask and give consent. 

When giving consent, it doesn’t always have to be a “yes”. It can be a gesture or someone saying, “I’m okay with that” or “I’m down to try that.” Sometimes things aren’t always clear and we don’t always know if our partner(s) on fully enjoying the moment. If this is the case, it’s important to stop and ask them.  

On the State University of New York website, suny.edu, affirmative consent is defined as, “knowing, voluntary and mutual decision among all participants to engage in sexual activity.”  

Consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions create clear permission regarding willingness to engage in the sexual activity. Silence or lack of resistance, in and of itself, does not demonstrate consent. The definition of consent does not vary based upon a participant’s sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.” 

This definition helps us give a clear understanding of what consent is and is not.

If you are someone that still doesn’t fully understand what this definition means, stop by The Center for Select Respect and ask us questions. 

If you don’t feel comfortable asking us in person, you can always email coordinator Colleen Holcomb at cholcomb@brockport.edu. If you don’t feel comfortable asking us, you can always visit websites like plannedparenthood.org and bedsider.org for more information. Sex is a lot more than just physical pleasure, it requires a lot of responsibility. 

Remember, the conversation of consent never ends. There are many ways to receive and give it. Of course, consent is mandatory, but it can also be sexy. 



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