[CW: sex, consent]
there is a lot of talk about consent in sex, which is great – but how do you actually establish consent during a sexual interaction? after discussing that a lot with my friends recently, i’ve decided to pile up a bit of info on how i particularly try to do it.
first of all, consent is essential in any kind of (not only) physical interaction between two and more people. in order to enter someone’s private physical space, you need a permission. sounds extremely simple, but unfortunately this is still quite a shockingly radical concept for many people. don’t touch anyone unless you have an explicit approval to do so.
that, however, leads us to the main thing i want to talk about in this article – how do you tell someone’s given you consent, and how do you give it to someone else?
so, let me put this out straight away: fuck “i/they will just know.” fuck “you can tell from someone’s body language”, which is, in my view, a wannabe-sophisticated-and-nice version of “they were asking for it because of the way they dressed.” especially if it’s someone you’re with for the first time, you cannot possible decode their bodily reactions with 100% accuracy, and often, we tend to put our expectations and wishes onto people’s actions to fit the scenarios we want to happen, thus making our perception of others quite biased.
now that we’ve established that just looking at the other person is not enough, what establishes consent then? COMMUNICATION, of course. dialogue is necessary. sadly, sex has been subjected to so much stigma over the years, it has seeped into our language and communicating skills too. that’s what makes it so difficult for us to sometimes express what we want, or ask what the other person/people we are with desire.
that is something i experience personally, too. while i have no problem communicating about sex and my fantasies in English, i find it extremely difficult to get these words out in Czech. i usually don’t shy away from dirty talking, but i literally cannot even say the Czech word for “fingering” or “pussy eating” without feeling an unbearable amount of cringe and shame – and that is, of course, of the stigma that has been attached to these words, as well as their whole form not fitting the act (at least in my view). some words, even, don’t have proper equivalents, or at least not one that is used widely, like “blowjob” (as a noun) or “ass eating” (if you do know some words i could use, feel free to share!). my point here is that, very simply put, language very much restricts our lived experience and very actively works against our own pleasure, and needs to be reformed and stripped of this discriminatory function. but that’s a whole another debate, right.
but back to the actually successful consent talks. as i’ve said, when i have sex in English (with a partner who i communicate with in English, um, you get me), i have no shame whatsoever and tend to be very vocal. what works for me, then?
do you like this [technique] or that? can i do this to you? do you want me to do this? do you have any fantasies? can you/do you want to do this to me?
for me, including “do you want to” or “can you/i” is essential – instead of just saying “i want you to do this” or “i will do this.” some people might argue that this “interrogation” might take away all the fun from sex, but i disagree. it doesn’t have to have a form of a dry job-like interview, and while it is very important to have sex-related discussion before you get into the act, these questions can be asked along as you go and get more and more frisky. on the contrary, i think someone expressing an enthusiastic interest in getting you off as much as them is a huge turn on for me, and me asking “how do you wanna fuck me” (with my signature “Slavic sex enthusiasm” i was told i have in bed, lol) has honestly never ruined a sexy sesh before.
(example conversation: “how do you wanna fuck me?” – “doggy style” – “um, not straight away, but you can start fucking me missionary” – “fuck yeah”)
of course, in order to express what you want and don’t want in bed, you should know what actually tickles your fancy beforehand. my advice to this is – go explore your body, on your own or with partner(s) you know you can really trust. you might still find it difficult to get those sex-related words out of your mouth, just like i do in Czech, but in that case, pointing, nodding, or showing it to the other person(s) can be a way too.
what’s also important to note is that consent can be withdrawn at any moment – yes, even if you said you really wanted to try something and it’s not as good as you expected, or even when your partner(s) is really enjoying what’s going on at the moment. and be aware that this is not a sign for the other person to convince you into doing anything because “you have promised it”, or the other way around – no means no, stop means stop, not now means not now. “consent” given under pressure or persuasion IS NOT CONSENT.
giving consent for sex is not something nice and “more ethical” or whatever, it is crucial. sex without freely and enthusiastically given consent is, simply, rape.