With all of the recent news about the #MeToo movement, there is no better time than now to talk about and truly understand the importance of consent. For too many women and men, a situation that they did not agree to, has unfortunately been their reality. In order to build trust and love in any relationship, there has to be respect of the other person and what they are comfortable with doing. Here at TooTimid, we understand the importance of sexual consent. Here is some information about consent and 15 situations that do not correspond as consent:
1. BEING IN A RELATIONSHIP
It’s important to remember that even after knowing someone for a long time, or being in an established relationship, that a person’s interests and feelings can change. Just because you’ve maybe engaged in a certain sexual act with your partner in the past, does not automatically mean that they are down to do it again. With any initiation of sex, there has to be clear consent.
2. BEING INTOXICATED
If the person in which you are planning to have sexual relations with is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, it is not easy to properly consent. In this scenario, leave these acts to a time when both of you are sober and are able to talk about what you’re doing with a clear mind.
3. BEING OPEN ABOUT ONE'S SEXUALITY
There has become an unfortunate stereotype when it comes to people who are open about their sexuality and the different partners they prefer, that they are open to have sex with anyone. Knowing a person prefers men and women per say, is not an open invitation to engage in sexual acts with them. Like anyone else, they deserve the same respect to open conversation, and being able to express whether or not they consent.
4. WHAT THEY'RE WEARING
Every person has their own sense of style when it comes to what they enjoy wearing. In fact, many people enjoy wearing low-cut tops or a short skirt, and they have every right to do so. However, this doesn’t mean that they are necessarily seeking attention from others sexually, or even at all.
In a lot of situations, people are not always vocal about their feelings or what they’re comfortable with. In fact, a lot of men and women will remain quiet out of fear or dislike. It’s important to remember that even if they aren’t saying much or anything at all, it is still not okay to go forward with a sexual act.
6. SAYING "YES' BEFORE
Although you may have discussed plans of having sex with someone, there is always the possibility that the person is no longer comfortable with the act. If you are in a scenario, even if the act has started, and the person expresses disinterest, or says no, stop what you’re doing immediately.
A lot of people have a degree of charisma and flirtation in their personality, most of them without even knowing. However, if you’re in the midst of a great conversation that you feel could lead to sex, it is not appropriate to go about it without getting clearly communicated consent from him or her. Flirting does not necessarily mean interest, and even if the person is interested, you still need to get their consent beforehand.
By no means ever, can an individual under age, give consent. This often falls into a grey area when people assume if they say yes or agree to it, that is consent, but it’s not. Most states have laws about the age of consent and what they determine as an appropriate age for people to be engaging in consensual sexual activity. However, even if the individual is over this age, clear consent is still needed.
9. BEING IN A POSITION OF POWER
Individuals in power, whether you're someone's boss, supervisor, or any high authority, this does not give you the right to take advantage. A person must give consent no matter what their relationship is to you, the individual in question still deserves the respect of consent.
10. GOING ON A DATE
Of course everyone loves to be wined and dined, it's romantic and a very sweet gesture. However, even if you pull out all the stops, if the other person does not agree to sexual activity, you are not entitled to it.
11. PAST ENGAGEMENTS
Say you've known someone for a long time; whether it be in a relationship or a friendship. You may have experienced a sexual encounter with this person before. Past situations don't reflect the present, so even if they were cool with it before, you have to make absolute sure that they're okay with it this time around.
12. BEING POLITE
Similar to being flirtatious, just because someone is nice and polite to you, does not necessarily mean they want to jump into bed with you. Being kind should already be in your nature as it is, but sometimes people mistake kindness for interest, when that is not the case at all.
13. WELL "SO AND SO" DID IT WITH HER...
People talk, it's inevitable, but sometimes can be extremely damaging. Your buddy may told you all about the incredible sex he had with this one girl. What that doesn't mean though, is that this person is open to doing it with just anyone. If you wish to pursue this person, get proper consent before continuing with sexual activity.
In a lot of situations, even if you are in the midst of hooking up, or talking before, any kind of physical touch is not consent. To be sure your partner is into it, make sure that you have verbal, clear consent that they are okay with what is going to happen.
15. GUILT TRIPPING/COERCION
Being intimidated and guilt tripped into hooking up, is not sexy. In any sexual activity, both parties need to verbally consent and make it apparent that they are interested. Forcing someone into "agreeing" to a sexual encounter is not consensual.
DRAW BOUNDARIES & TALK TO YOUR PARTNER
Talk to your partner or the person with which you are going to have a sexual encounter. Start by telling them upfront about what your intentions are, so there is no confusion. Ask your partner how they feel about doing said act, and if they’re comfortable with it. If there is any sort of hesitation from that person, still, do not assume that it’s okay. Telling your partner about your personal limits and boundaries can lead to not only a healthier sex life, but it can help deepen the emotional connection between the two of you. Be open and honest about what you feel comfortable with ahead of time, ask the other person about their limits to create a safe environment to discuss these issues. Establish physical cues between the two of you, similar to a safeword, but for any sexual activity. At the end of the day; at any stage of a sexual encounter, consent is needed.