Consent is a much debated issue which is constantly being catapulted back into the media by various celebrity incidents provoking national debate about when and how consent should be obtained. No matter how much debate is put into nailing down the subject once and for all it will always be like holding water.
The issue with consent is that it will forever be one parties word against the other. Despite how many witnesses may perceive what appears to be consent in the club unless it is expressly given then it’s not there and can be removed later. But in all honesty how many of us have actually given consent for sex? I don’t mean had consensual sex, I mean how many of us have discussed consent beforehand? Often consent is implied in terms of, if you haven’t been stopped and they are appearing happy, willing and partaking it’s a fair bet that’s a green light, but this leads to abuse on both ends of the scale. Intoxicated victims unable to make well-informed decisions, taken advantage of whilst the attacker uses the defence of “they never said no”. This isn’t consensual sex. Not in any realm. But equally drunken girls waking up with a hangover and claiming rape rather than regretting and facing up to the consequences of the sex they fully consented to the night before. I fully accept that the victims of rape can fall both sides of the fence, the genuine victims and the unjustly accused.
Ultimately discussing consent can be awkward. At what point do you bring it up? Over drinks? During a date? What if the other party wasn’t actually intending on sleeping with you? Do you wait till you’re in your underwear? The “Consent Is Sexy” campaign works in universities, schools and colleges in a range of countries to try to educate young people about the importance of obtaining consent before sex and I do believe education is key to cracking this issue. I’ve also seen contracts and consent apps being trialed to try to definitively show consent has been gained. Although they show the importance being given to tackling this issue they don’t solve the problem. Unless that contract is signed seconds before penetration occurs it’s as much use as a chocolate tea-pot. A person can change their mind about sex in the pub, in the cab, during foreplay and right up until the eleventh hour. Even during sex if they so wish. Nobody should be forced into a sexual act they don’t want, it’s our body and we choose who touches it and how. That is a basic human right.
My chosen form of sexual play is often rough and I definitely enjoy consensual non consent with my partner. This is a form of BDSM play where you pre-consent to specific sexual practices to allow a rape play scenario to be acted out. This requires immense trust. You need to be sure your partner knows you back to front and inside out. They must know your tolerances and your hard limits. I find consensual non consent exceptionally arousing. To hand over total control to him and be at his sexual mercy is seriously delicious. This by no means is an indication that I want to be raped in reality. Allowing my partner to act this fantasy out with me is not the same as someone violating me without my permission. I always want sex with my partner. I want to explore every dark recess of my sexual fantasies with him, and yes that does include rape fantasy. This still doesn’t mean I want to be raped nor does it give anybody a free pass to do so. I abhor the attitude that this form of play leaves me open to abuse, or makes me a valid target for unwanted sexual contact. I only give consent for my man to touch me like this. If you’re not my man then you’re not allowed to touch me. Simple as.
Consent isn’t just sexy, it’s vital. If you’re not sure you have it then the chances are you don’t. Unwanted sexual advances and rape destroy people’s lives. They take apart their self-confidence and leave them wracked with guilt self-doubt and anger. Guilt? From the victim? Oh yes, don’t ever kid yourself that the victim doesn’t blame themselves erroneously every single time they think about it. What could they have done differently? Did they bring this upon themselves? Could they have stopped it? Rape is like an invisible scar you carry every day of your life. Often victims never admit it to anyone, such is the general air of skepticism surrounding rape cases, particularly date rape. Equally when someone is accused of a rape they didn’t commit it’s like throwing a hand grenade into that person’s life, there will always be a “no smoke without fire” mentality amongst certain elements and proving innocence is difficult to say the least. Consent protects both parties if adhered to properly. If only we could find a way for this to be proven. Although some areas of society sneer at BDSM communities and practices, consent is often much discussed in BDSM play. Due to the structure of D/s relationships consent and limits are often much clearer than in a vanilla relationship. Maybe in this respect everyone could learn a little from kink.