The Definition of Consent: Canada VS the USA
I feel lucky to live in Canada where the consent laws are written such that “The absence of “no” doesn’t mean “yes”.” In a court of law, what this means is the onus is on the person to prove that they had consent, rather than the victim proving that they said no. Yes, you read that correctly, the law in Canada is written with consent in mind. Obviously this is not a perfect system, but after reviewing consent laws for each individual state in the USA, I can tell you with certainty I am happy to be Canadian. The #MeToo movement has shed a much needed spotlight on the idea of no, and yes when it comes to sex; bringing dialogue not only into our homes, but also modernizing our laws.
Why Does Consent Matter?
For one, let us look at the physical traits of a male versus a female. Generally speaking, men are stronger than woman and can easily overtake the so called fairer sex. I firmly believe that we should all be equal under the law, and in our society that is why consent laws are required to make this an even playing field. Amending and adapting laws in society that bring balance in the face of inequality are a human right that we should always be able to count on in our society. In this case we do that by giving our voice and consent the same power that force and strength have.
The second reason consent matters is because there are people who use sex as a means of power and control, specifically in regards to livelihood. There was a recent news story, where a female coerced a male subordinate into a sexual relationship for career advancement. With the junior employee’s career on the line, he felt compelled to not say no to her. She used her position of authority to obtain sex, and whether he was willing at any time doesn’t matter. What matters is, he was not free to say no if he chose to. We need consent laws to protect individuals from these damaging situations. The employee should feel safe in remaining employed if they say no to any sexual advances.
And third, getting and giving consent is sexy, and heightens the sexual experience. Imagine not having that nervousness feeling of doing something wrong, or pushing a boundary. Having a sexual experience where everyone is on the same page, and eager to proceed? Now that, is honestly what it’s all about. And in the same breath, if a person says no, that is completely OK too! Not every human is going to want to be sexual with every other human. It is our right to choose, and say yes or no.
Asking for Consent
Do you remember that nervous first kiss? You stood on the doorstep wishing and hoping that the person you were with, would take you by waist and draw you in for a sexy smooch. Or, you were the person standing there, nervous as heck, terrified of making a move towards those sultry lips, only to be rebuffed or given the awkward cheek at the last second. That first kiss carries with it so much anxiety, that many of us have a few failed attempts under our belts before we finally get it right and make contact. But what if, a little voice pre-empted all that awkwardness, by whispering “can I kiss you first?”. What if, in this scenario, we changed the order of things and stopped using the outdated saying:
“It’s easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission.” Grace Hopper.
Ask yourself in which scenario you risk more? The one, where you just go for it, and end up with egg on your face, or much worse? Or, the one where you take a deep breath, and just ask for what you want? Being asked first, if I want that first kiss, is one of the sexiest things for me. It puts me in complete control of my body, and lays a foundation of trust for everything that is going to build thereafter. It is so sexy having a person respect me enough to ask if I am OK. It also gives me a chance to give an enthusiastic heck yes, or put on the brakes. Either way, I know my wants are valued and respected. I personally love whispering in a new partners ear, that I really want to touch or kiss them, and hearing a, “yes please” in return. Knowing your partners boundaries, and not fearing pushing things too far is what consent is all about. Feeling confident that your actions are OK, and more than that, that they are wanted!
Consent is a Conversation Starter
When you ask for consent, what you are really doing, is opening the door to a conversation about sex. Now depending on the situation this could take a lot of forms. If, for example, this is just a one-night stand, the conversation should include your level of protection and always have a very clear yes to having sex. If the sexual contact is anything more than that, use this opportunity to get to know your partners sexual wants and needs. It doesn’t have to be long, or detailed. Instead, spend a few minutes talking, teasing, and flirting about what you both want to happen sexually, and don’t forget to discuss what you are both comfortable with. If you do this correctly, you will prevent falling into the worst trap that I have witnessed with consent, and that is, the person who puts the brakes on with each and every introduction of something new. Do not fall into this trap, it is a libido killer!
Getting an enthusiastic yes, is the gateway to being an adult, discussing terms, and boundaries. Remember consent is a conversation starter, not a blanket yes! So have fun with it. Be playful. Then go and have the best sex of your life, with confidence that it is what both you and your partner want!
What is the sexiest way you have been asked for consent? Is there a time you wish you had been asked first? Let’s discuss consent below!