Sexual Consent

A great take on consent. It shows what ASC is all about.

Admin tl;dr/spoiler: Couple is about to kiss. Their lawyers show up and go through an exhaustive process of determining exactly what each of their clients do and do not consent to. So no, not exactly what ASC is all about.

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19 thoughts on “Sexual Consent

  1. ASC isn’t trying to be the sex police. It just wants you to you know, ensure that the person you want to have sex with would like that as well. You should be able to communicate with the person before having sex with them to ensure you are on the same page.

  2. Isn’t that what this video is doing? Everything is communicated and well-reasoned out beforehand. There’s no room for a “misunderstanding,” which in CiS’ eyes is rape.

    • There may be no room for a “misunderstanding,” but there’s also no room for enthusiasm or chemistry or intimacy. In other words, no room for some of the best parts of sex.

      I’ve had sex since I was assaulted and since this campaign started, and consent was very clearly in my mind. In some cases, the rules were established beforehand by me or my partner: no “sex,” but kissing/clothing removal/oral was fine. Sometimes we “is this okay”-ed starting with taking off shirts, through to sex or to something else. A few times, it was “wanna fuck?” My communication with each of those partners was different, but I felt comfortable that I was neither misunderstanding nor being misunderstood. Getting and giving consent was (and is) hot–and I was sure about it, no lawyers required.

      • Better safe than sorry. I’d prefer no enthusiasm or chemistry or intimacy than a rape charge. It was established in your mind, but again, you can’t know what the other side was thinking.

      • But without enthusiasm, how can you get enthusiastic consent? Kind of a paradox.

        You’re right that I can’t be absolutely sure of what the other side was thinking, but clear communication (and relative sobriety in most cases) means I have a pretty good chance of being right. The only way your argument works is if you don’t have sex at all ever.

  3. haha if this is what you think ASC is trying to do, I feel bad for your sex partners and you. You must be having terrible sex if you don’t understand how to obtain consent or have open communication between partners.

    • Alright that’s it. Struck a nerve. This is a rant. This is a somewhat unrelated but angry rant that’s going to have several points in it.
      1. Who the hell do you think you are making ad hominem attacks on me?
      2. You’re entirely incorrect. I don’t have terrible sex; I don’t have sex period, because my best friend was stuck with a rape charge after a girl got him drunk, held him down, had sex with him, and then accused him of rape because he was drunk. I know this because I saw her holding him down. And after he asked me to testify on his behalf, she wanted to accuse me of being an acessory. Of course that got thrown out, because in our justice system, you can’t attack a witness. So thanks for this campaign, turning me into a paranoid wreck. I thought I was finished with this “I can do anything I want while drunk but you’re responsible” mentality. Guess not.
      3. This idea that’s it okay to make fun of guys who don’t have sex is as disgusting as it is to make fun girls who have, i.e. slut-shaming. You know what the male corrolary is? It’s virgin shaming. The idea that I’m funny because I have worse sex or I don’t have sex at all is just as repulsive as the idea that it’s okay to make fun of girls who have a lot of sex. Maybe the reasons guys don’t think about their partners as much as they should because people like YOU make fun of them.

      • And btw, I know this video was absurd, but honestly, after what my friend went through, sometimes I feel like this might be the only way to be assured of safety. How can you be accused of rape if the other person is holding you down?

      • I don’t know what happened to your friend but I’m really really sorry for him.

        I was responding to this video (/ your post introducing it “It shows what ASC is all about.” stating that this type of communication was the goal of these postering campaigns) and the idea I’ve heard thrown around a lot that “getting consent” is like a fucking contract negotiation. I (a woman) ALWAYS ask consent before sex (unless my partner does; but either way, usually it’s not one person saying “can we have sex” and the other person saying “yes” it’s a conversation or a statement or an “I want you so bad” or “should I get a condom?” or dirty talk in foreplay). And asking consent doesn’t kill the mood.
        I’m really sorry if you felt attacked by my joke. I’m often surprised by these types of comments (that asking for consent is unrealistic, kills the mood, etc.) and wonder what the fuck people are doing in the bedroom if there’s no communication, no idea of what the other person wants/likes.
        Also I was in no way trying to “virgin shame.” My idea of open communication about sex and includes open communication; and being sex-positive to me doesn’t mean that you need to have sex.

        I don’t understand what you mean by “Maybe the reasons guys don’t think about their partners as much as they should because people like YOU make fun of them.” Could you clarify what you mean? I understand the part where you think I’m trying to make fun of people who don’t have sex/”good” sex, but how does that relate to people “not thinking about their partners as much as they should;” In my opinion, fulfilling sex should involve caring about your partner’s pleasure. Do you disagree with that?

  4. I can’t reply directly, but the first part of this is in response to the comment, “I’d prefer no enthusiasm or chemistry or intimacy than a rape charge.” I agree with you, but I’m bothered by your semantics and what I perceive to be your attitude. I feel like ASC’s campaigns aren’t necessarily about about avoiding a rape charge, at least not the way I see it. This campaign isn’t saying “Look out for your own legal record” or “Beware, lest someone point a finger and accuse you of sexual assault,” and we’re not pointing fingers or accusing individuals. (If you feel defensive, that might be worth reflecting on.) The way I see it, it’s about encouraging people to use methods/strategies to avoid sexual situations in which misunderstandings, or lack of regard for needs and desires, can cause great harm to people. It’s about providing examples of what those strategies of getting consent can look like, and different ways that “No” can sound including but also other than use of the word “no,” and what “yes” can sound and look like, too. It’s about how “yes” is sexy and anything else is blurry and should be clarified at best and avoided if not. It’s about healthy sex and preventing incredibly harmful sexual experiences, especially on this campus, through a better definition of consent than what we may have heard before, which is that consent is enthusiastic, active, and freely given.

    A few other things in response to other comments: misunderstanding does not necessarily equal rape, and that’s not what ASC or Consent is Sexy are implying. Both can/do have awful consequences, and both need to be avoided, but they are not the same thing. Also, unlike in this video, the acts that someone consents to can be different at the beginning of a sexual encounter than later in it. You are allowed to decide later that doing something is actually okay with you and that you now want something, or that doing something is no longer okay with you and you want to stop, or don’t want it to happen after all. This is okay, as long as consent is never persuaded, forced, or coerced. In both directions, what someone says at the beginning doesn’t have to hold, and if someone decides they don’t want to do something, that needs to be respected.

  5. I’m going to respond to the former comment, because that person asked me a pretty good question. Ultimately, I have trouble making sense of the whole hookup thing because I don’t really do it, and when I have tried, I’ve failed, but I’ll try to explain to you what I think its about.

    As a guy, there’s an inordinate amount of pressure to have something. A relationship, random hookups, whatever it is, often, at the basest level, one is judged by family and friends (male and female) by how you do in relationships. These can be one night, or years, but there’s a lot of external factors pressuring you to have some form of sexual contact.

    Additionally, there are internal factors. Probably the shittiest feeling in the world is when you are alone in a suite of guys who are all with their girlfriends. I said girlfriends on purpose, because I genuinely believe that guys crave emotional contact much more than sexual (and evidently the NYTimes says there’s new research to back this up). It’s unparalled, and I think gender roles have a lot to play into this, because one must remember, guys are expected to be the initatior, which leads me into a point that runs concurrently to this one. When a guy asks a girl out, or tries to hook up with her, or just asks for a dance, he’s putting himself on the line. He’s asking the girl “make a judgment about me.” Now this is where hookups and asking somewhat out are pretty similar. In both cases, you’re asking a person to judge you. Obviously getting crushed by someone you thought you had an emotional bond with is worse, but the same principles apply.

    Now this is where the whole “silence/is she consenting or not” issue comes into play. Let’s say you don’t really know if the person is okay with what you are doing or not. They seem okay to you, but they might not be. There are two ways to play this. One is to assume they are. That means you’re doing great. The other is to assume they aren’t. That means you’ve fucked up. Regardless of whether or not it is true, in that instance, you assume the other person isn’t happy because of you. It could be them, but regardless of what they say, you will always feel its you. You just weren’t good enough. I could genuinely see a guy unknowingly ignoring hints, because if in fact the other person isn’t happy, as a guy, you messed up. And you’re “less of a man” for it.

    I remember far back seeing earlier someone feeling threatened that a man was feeling really bad and behaving angrily because he was rejected by two people in one day. She felt that because of his anger, he was going to rape her. I mean, I get that you could feel scared if he was being violent, but how does someone taking out his sadness on a doorhandle threaten you in any way? Did you expect him not to feel like crap when two women look at him and say “nope”? The idea that men are supposed to be these stoic, mindless beasts that don’t feel pain when women reject them is beyond absurd.

    • “Now this is where the whole “silence/is she consenting or not” issue comes into play. Let’s say you don’t really know if the person is okay with what you are doing or not. They seem okay to you, but they might not be. There are two ways to play this. One is to assume they are. That means you’re doing great. The other is to assume they aren’t. That means you’ve fucked up. Regardless of whether or not it is true, in that instance, you assume the other person isn’t happy because of you.”

      Why are you assuming things? Why not just ask?!

      • I assumed this would be in an instance where someone changed their mind. Presumably the person got consent before starting; this is in theory after, if the other party became uncomfortable, but the other person wasn’t sure.

      • Seconded. The whole point of getting consent is making sure it’s active, enthusiastic, and freely given. That means you should be actively communicating about the sex and the consent throughout the entire interaction. I’m assuming you’re not just borrowing someone’s vagina for the day like a purse, no? That means it’s connected to a living, breathing, changing human being who is capable of having one opinion or preference one minute, then having a totally different opinion or preference the next minute. Luckily for all parties involved, we human beings have developed the technology of language, which is often used for the purposes of communication.

    • “Now this is where the whole “silence/is she consenting or not” issue comes into play. Let’s say you don’t really know if the person is okay with what you are doing or not. They seem okay to you, but they might not be. There are two ways to play this. One is to assume they are. That means you’re doing great. The other is to assume they aren’t. That means you’ve fucked up. Regardless of whether or not it is true, in that instance, you assume the other person isn’t happy because of you. It could be them, but regardless of what they say, you will always feel its you. You just weren’t good enough. I could genuinely see a guy unknowingly ignoring hints, because if in fact the other person isn’t happy, as a guy, you messed up. And you’re “less of a man” for it.”

      It is NEVER someone’s responsibility to sacrifice their body and their dignity for the sake of protecting some guy’s ego and self-identified masculinity. Conversely, it is NEVER justified for a guy to “unwillingly ignore hints” that his partner does NOT want to be the object of his desperate attempt to avoid feeling emasculated (a.k.a. to be sexually assaulted).

      Your last two paragraphs combined seem to me like some kind of solution to the fragile-male-ego problem, where the solution is for a guy to swirl his penis around inside a girl until he feels better about himself and is no longer worried about being rejected or emasculated. Ultimately, I’m fairly certain you have just summed up two of the main motivations behind rape: seeing women as objects (not recognizing that they are human beings with independent desires and goals), and men feeling a need to dominate, control, and exert their power, especially in a sexual way (hence repairing their feeble self-esteem and protecting an image of virile masculinity).

      FYI, women also have to juggle an endless barrage of societal pressures with their desires, including the desire to protect their self-esteem. I’m not sure why you painted any of your argument using such rigid gender stereotypes. Women can (and do) feel judged and inadequate in all the same situations that you described of men’s experiences. And I’m sure you can come up with a much shittier feeling in the world than being a lonely fifth-wheel who is unable to painlessly comply with unrealistic gender roles.

      For further reading, see any number of articles written about “the Nice Guy (TM).”

      “The idea that men are supposed to be these stoic, mindless beasts that don’t feel pain when women reject them is beyond absurd.”

      I agree with you here. Where I disagree is on your proposed solution to the problem. You want men to be justified in “avoiding” rejection, but I want more men to learn to express and accept their pain in a healthy, functional, non-sexually-coercive way. Many people already do the latter, including both men and women.

      • I’m not saying that its right, I’m just saying that that’s how it is. I’m not offering excuses, I’m observing a reality, and I never try to justify it. I just try to explain it.

    • I think this comment cleared some stuff up for me. I’m really sorry if you felt like I was trying to belittle people’s sex lives when I commented the joke about having bad sex. I totally know those pressures to be having sex even if you don’t want to be (or don’t want to be with that person, or even if you want to be but don’t want to rush it etc. etc. etc.). I think this cuts across gender lines – although I do think that the pressures vary a bit between men and women so it was good to have your male perspective. I am bi but have way more experience with men for reasons you described: I’m terrified at the idea of asking a girl out/hitting on a girl and being rejected, so I mostly wait for other people to make the first move (which is usually men). I know that’s fucked up and that I shouldn’t put all that pressure on men.
      The only thing is that I want to echo the sentiments of another commenter that you don’t have to assume all that much (this goes for men and women here. I don’t think that consent is something that just the man needs to ask for – sorry for the heteronormativity here). All parties can be checking in with their partner(s) before, after, and throughout the experience.

      • I think that we all pretty much agree on most things here. I don’t in any way condone the phenomenon I wrote down (why would I justify something that hurts many people, including me?); I just merely observed it. I want to change it just as much as anyone else, and I think that to change it, we have to get it out of the bag. I just thought it wasn’t being represented or understood, so I thought that I would add my male perspective to a conversation that apears to be mostly female. I’m sorry if anyone misunderstood what I was saying; I certainly didn’t mean to justify what I wrote down.

  6. Although this is one way to do things (well, not quite), this is not what ASC is about at all (disclaimer: not actually a card carrying ASC member). It’s pretty easy to go for active consent in the moment, and it makes things so much better. It doesn’t even have to be verbal; if you inch your hands down to their belt buckle and pause, it’s pretty clear that you want to take their pants off, but you’re also waiting for permission. If they then excitedly proceed to help you get their pants off, then that’s clear, enthusiastic consent. Or you can ask them, “Can I take your pants off?” and then can say, “Yes please!”. There’s so many ways to do it that are sexier than getting the lawers out (unless you’re into that, cause hey, whatever floats your boats).

    I’d say the one real life thing this video resembles is negotiations for BDSM activities, which can go like this, although without the lawers. The important distinction to keep in mind is that all parties still have the option to opt out later. Also, the part in the video where the guy is negotiating to get the shorts off is using skeevy pressuring tactics. All in all, I think this kind of discussion is useful for bringing up activities that fall into new and unexplored territory, since there’s more time to discuss issues and boundaries without being distracted by the heat of the moment, but it is far from being the only way to do things.

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