What is your take on consent?
Consent is a complex issue, but really import to understand when entering to relationships. Thank you for bringing this up.
Consent is important to understand in ALL our relationships, romantic or personal. Most people think about consent in the context of sexual or physical activity in romantic relationships. Consent is also important to understand in all our relationships, including friendships and family.
In healthy relationships, everyone is comfortable to openly talk about and agree on what kind of activity they want to engage in. This can include any kind of touching, hugging, holding hands, sexual activity, or even conversations. This is much harder do do than we think, because sometimes we don’t want to hurt people’s feelings, or the other person is not respecting your boundaries, or they are family. It is also hard to hear and respect other people’s boundaries, as our feeling can be hurt.
Some thinks to consider with consent:
- Healthy communication is important! Discuss all developments in relationships, not just sex;
- Never assume anything. Expect the same in return;
- Consent is a clear and enthusiastic yes! If someone seems unsure, stays silent, doesn’t respond, or says “Maybe…” then they aren’t saying “yes.”
- Someone can also change their mind after things have started, respect that.
Other things to consider for yourself when engaging in romantic relationships:
- Are you comfortable?
- Is this okay for you?
- Do you want to slow down?
- Do you want to go any further?
- They pressure or guilt you into doing things you may not want to do.
- They make you feel like you “owe” them — because you’re dating, they took you out for dinner, gave you a gift, etc.
- They react negatively, with sadness, anger or resentment, if you say “no” to something, or don’t immediately consent.
- They ignore your wishes and don’t pay attention to nonverbal cues that could show you’re not consenting (ex: pulling/pushing away).
I hope that helps,