Let’s be clear: Consent and sexual interest are NOT the same
Male sexual misconduct is a focal point of American news right now. Claims, new and old, are coming to light daily. Men just can’t seem to take no for an answer. In other words, most men appear to know very little about consent. This is exactly why it’s important for women to speak out about the times they were violated and silenced by men in positions of power. These revelations are starting a much-needed dialogue about the way we approach and think about sexual encounters.
A paper written by staff members at New York’s Binghamton University shares the results of a study focused on consent. Researchers gave 145 heterosexual male students examples of sexual situations. In the end, the conductors came to the conclusion that the majority believed that just because a woman showed sexual interest in them, it meant that they were saying yes to sex.
This is problematic to say the least.
Consent is not a tricky grey area. It’s black and white, yes or no. Unless a woman says “yes” to sex, you better believe that the answer is no. No more of that “well, she didn’t say no” rape culture crap. It is crucial to be very clear about intentions and make sure that both parties are comfortable with what’s happening. That is the basis of safe and healthy sex.
I’ve been in a situation in which I was not verbally firm about not feeling the situation 100%. In the end, I felt violated and required healing. While I now clearly communicate my desires, I also know this part of my past would not have happened if more men asked and completely understood the rules of sex and consent.
Ask. EVERY. Time.
Because everyone deserves kindness and respect.