Consent… how to get it and give it
Everyone knows that consent is important, but people can still get confused about what it is, how we can give it, how we can get it, and how we can make sure that everyone’s on the same page when it comes to sex. Consent is an informed, freely given and communicated agreement between everyone involved. More than that’s it’s also a process – it’s not like a box that you tick and then you’re done, it’s something that you have to make sure is there are still good the whole time you’re having sex, so make sure you check in before trying anything new to make sure that everyone is having a good time.
This is a workshop that was initially developed and piloted by two residents, and has been enhanced into a peer led training workshop, that can be simply described as adult conversations about adult sexual relationships. This is workshop is now mandatory training for all new residents at MRS, and you will get to experience it during your Orientation period!
Some important things to remember about consent are:
- It has to be freely given – that means if someone only has sex because they’ve been tricked, coerced, pressured into it or feels like they can’t say no, that’s not actually consent.
- It has to be communicated – in the eyes of Victorian law, consent doesn’t exist unless it’s communicated, so never just assume! Make sure you have a chat about it first.
- Someone can always say no – it doesn’t matter how far into it you are, or what they said before you started, someone can retract their consent at any time, and when they do you need to stop then and there.
- If someone is intoxicated (drunk), asleep or unconscious they can’t consent – someone has to be sober and awake to understand what’s going on and be able to freely consent.
So, how do you do it? You ask them and listen to what they say back! How do you ask? A good place to start could be asking things like:
- How far do you want to go?
- Can I…?(Anything – all sexual acts require consent!)
- What do you want to do?
- Is this ok? (for checking in and making sure you still have consent)
Listening is just as important as asking, so it’s not consent if you hear things like:
- Maybe later / not right now.
- Can we slow down a sec?
- I guess, if you want me to.
- Not there.
Talking about sex is something we’re taught has to be really embarrassing, and generally something we shouldn’t do, but the opposite is true! Talking about what you’re comfortable with and asking your partner about their boundaries might seem awkward at first, but making sure that you have your partner’s consent is way too important to just ignore and be quiet. Besides, communicating what you want and letting your partner talk about what they do and don’t want shows that you respect them and want them be comfortable and have a good time. What’s better than that?!
On Res we believe in having a ‘Culture of Consent’ which means that asking for consent isn’t encouraged, but it’s also expected and we all agree everyone has the right to make their own rules. This means that no matter if someone has more sex than you, less sex than you, no matter how many partners they’ve had in the past, what they’re wearing or how much they’ve had to drink, the only person who gets to what is right for them, is them.