Post to my men friends on consent...
Part of the toxic masculinity we have grown up with has included being taught all sorts of things we now need to unlearn. Most of us also never had open, healthy conversations about sex and consent growing up. All I learned from church and parents was that sex before marriage was a sin and bad. It was completely inadequate. Friends were not good advisors on this either as they too had nobody sit down with them to help navigate this all.
We as a result need to have conversations about sex and consent not only with our kids but with fellow men.
So, let's talk about some ground rules on consent:
1. It must be freely given... It is not ok to pressure, trick or threaten someone into saying yes. Power plays into this. It is never ok to use power to obtain consent. Also obviously nobody who is drunk, high or passed out can give consent.
2. Consent is reversible. It is ok for someone to say yes and then change their mind at any time. Even if you are already naked in bed, consent can be reversed. Even if you have done it before, it can still be reversed. Respect the word no.
3. Consent must be informed. You can only consent to something if you have all the facts. For example, if someone says they will use a condom and then they don't, it isn't full consent.
4. A person participating should be enthusiastic. In other words, they should want to do it. If someone is not enthusiastic (meaning happy, excited or energized), stop and check in with the person.
5. Consent must be specific. Saying yes to one thing (e.g. going to the bedroom to make out) is not the same as saying yes to other things (like having sex).
Sex is beautiful but when you mess with the freedom of people's consent it is violent. It really causes deep hurt and pain, sometimes pain that lasts a life time.
Men, the ladder we have to use to climb out of those bins has a name... It is called respect.
Let's show some!