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Positivity for Peers: Consent

Picture this: you settle into bed with your snacks and your comfy clothes. All of your makeup is off, you hair is thrown in a messy bun and you can finally watch Netflix like you have been dreaming of all day. Later in the show, you meet some characters. Let’s name them. The first person we met is “C”  and the second is “E.” Now, C starts to pressure E into hooking up, but E declines because they don’t feel up to it. C becomes angry, and accuses E of not loving them, or not being attracted to them despite being in a relationship. C gets up and leaves.

In order to gain consent, you must ask for it. In our example above, C did not ask for consent, and instead assumed E would just give in because they were dating. That’s not the case at all. Whenever a person wants to engage in physical intimacy with another person, you must ask for their consent. It’s really that simple. Let’s go over a few easy ways to ask for consent:

  • Is this okay?
  • Are you sure?
  • Do you want to do this?
  • Do you feel comfortable? Or does this feel good?

To gain consent, you are given verbal or non verbal affirmation. You have to be careful to not assume a persons consent is always given. You always ask. Regardless of if you’re in a relationship. Regardless if they were intimate together last week. Consent is not to be judged by what a person is wearing, nor what they have said. Consent is what they are saying in that moment. And if you are unsure or non verbal affirmation isn’t clear, it’s always best to stop and get verbal consent. 

 Let’s think back to the movie example like before. It’s pretty rare to see a couple asking for consent in a tv show or a movie, right? And usually, when one doesn’t consent the other leaves throwing a fit. Why? Why is such a vital part in relationships portrayed in such a negative way? We always hear that “communication and respect is vital to a relationship.” Yes it is. Communication is also vital when it comes to any form of physical intimacy. Asking for consent is one of the most respectful things a person can do. Consent is something that must be talked about more often.

-Grace

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