I agree with Project Consent’s campaign highlighting the “unnecessary conversations” around the topic of consent. So let’s recap:
- If she says yes, then go for it!
- If she says no, then sheath your sword solider!
While spontaneity is often welcomed and desired in this dance we call sex, I’d like to think that we would all agree that sex is a journey and not a destination. The significance of looking at sex in this way is that the emphasis is not solely on the end result but rather the circumstances, actions and decisions that inevitably lead to a particular outcome. If we viewed the point in which an apology would surface in this manner, the authenticity of an apology would be questionable if one did not take responsibility for the actions that ultimately warrant it.
Consent is simple. A lot of women would like to think that a number of men have a problem with understanding consent (I’m sure some do). Celebrity R&B singer and actor Tyrese Gibson hosts a relationship show with Rev Run, ‘It’s Not You, It’s Men’, which was recently criticized after their star guest Amber Rose had to provide them with a cutthroat lesson on consent. (see video below)
“No means no” are the words circulating the internet, and I couldn’t agree more! But there’s usually more than meets the eye when it comes to a certain type of sexual exchange.
There are a profuse number of women who use their bodies (sexually) to attain material goods (clothes, shoes, food, money etc) and services from men. Similarly, there are men that provide women with goods and services such as a date with the intention of receiving sex in exchange. Since prostitution is one of the world’s most ancient professions, this exchange in addition to more subtle versions isn’t breaking news to the people of the world.
Quick History Lesson: In the middle ages, prostitution in some cultures were deemed necessary as it helped prevent behaviors that were viewed upon as “greater evils”, such as rape, sodomy and masturbation. It was still regarded sinful by the Roman Catholic Church, and even today it is still collectively frowned upon.
Fun Fact: not to mention that male prostitution was just as common an female prostitution in many cultures!
Now I personally know a fair number of men who date in a manner that implies intent through flirtatious and sexual behavior. Equivalently, I know women who are aware of a man’s implied intent, and will consciously allow this behavior to continue, because so long as the man believes that he will be rewarded sexually, he’ll keep rewarding her materialistically. However, because this is not prostitution, per se, the woman doesn’t always intend to offer up sex as part of this exchange. But saying “no” early is likely to harm her prospect of reward.
Imagine working at a job you hate but you’re up for your yearly bonus review. As you hand in your performance appraisal, in the section that asks, “what are your objectives for next year”, you willingly leave out the fact that once you receive your bonus, you have absolutely no intention of remaining in the company!
So in the realm of sexual exchange between man and woman, if she has no intention of offering something sexual, then refusing consent would probably be more effective as a last resort. Until then, the journey of this exchange is driven by implied consent.
“Implied consent is consent which is not expressly granted by a person, but rather implicitly granted by a person’s actions and the facts and circumstances of a particular situation (or in some cases, by a person’s silence or inaction).”
In a world where ‘apparently’ nobody cares about what someone thinks about them, your words and behaviors becomes everything when it comes to implied consent. Sexual assault cases have been kicked out of court because the victim’s actions were deemed to have implied consent.
Everything mentioned above is less about blaming people and more about individuals taking more responsibility over their own actions. And though it may be true that we can’t always control someone else’s actions, your body language is always acting on your behalf when it comes to implied consent.
Being a man myself, I have been on the receiving end of a “no”. There have also been instances where I have had to exercise the use of the word “no” (even if I regretted it the next day)! But if there is one thing my experiences have taught me, its that a woman’s uncertainty can be mistaken for a green light. Most men would prefer not to question noticeable ‘awkward’ behaviors because the other head is making the decisions, but communication is an often overlooked skill during sex.
Communication leading up to sex needn’t always be ‘dirty’ or sexual in nature. It can be compassionate and considerate; “are you okay?”, “tell me if you want me to stop”. I believe as men, we have a responsibility to ensure we are communicating as much as possible during these such an exchange, as it helps to ensure that the act itself is genuine and mutually enjoyable.
So let’s recap again:
- If she say’s yes, then go for it!
- If she say’s no, then sheath your sword solider!
- Implied consent can be misleading especially when you are entertaining their implied intent.
- Communication is imperative to ensure both parties are comfortable and on the same page.
So there is more to consent than yes and no! Perhaps there is a need for reform in sex education classes. But until then, I guess we’re going to have to be an example for the younger generation through educating ourselves first!
Charles Rare (Rare Thoughts)