“I think it’s ridiculous to ask your sexual partner for consent every 6 seconds.”
I had this discussion thread on Twitter forwarded to me recently. It’s part and parcel of what happens whenever the idea of consent is brought up on social media. Whenever we talk about the concept of enthusiastic consent – that is, getting a definitive “yes” for sexual activity – there will always be an argument. There is inevitably someone who will complain about the burden. It’s portrayed as needless “social justice” interference, sucking the joy out of sex and not in the fun way. After all, who could sustain the mood when you have to keep asking permission to do anything? Why should someone ask if they can kiss someone and if they can touch their chest and if they can undo their belt?
At the same time, most of the talk about getting consent focuses on clarity and the necessity rather than the method. In fact, trying to make asking for consent more appealing can get no small amount of pushback.
And while it’s undeniably true that consent is required, the idea that asking is a stumbling block persists. It’s not really enough to say “well… tough” when people are legitimately worried about not knowing how to ask. It’s an ongoing failure in sex education.We may get a basic anatomy lesson, but we get nothing on how to talk about sex.
So consent may be required… but for every step? Does asking ruin the mood, or can consent be sexy?