Ever so often, the semantics of a rather simple word come to be ensnared in the environs of public debate and lengthy think pieces. Technically, consent is defined as an agreement between participants to engage in sexual activity. There are many ways in which a participant may express consent: verbal, non-verbal etc.
The important thing underpinning all of this is simply a person's individual choice, and as well all know we're allowed to define our boundaries and change our minds at any time. Most humans have the ability to discern when somebody is not particularly into something or has doubts- we communicate in many different ways and communication is the necessary bedrock of all sexual activity. However, here is a guide to consent so that we understand it better.
No Means No
A rather simple one, and yet even the most simplest rule of consent has often been one that is shrouded in ambiguity. When a person communicates that they are not interested in participating in sexual activity - it stops there. This is not a matter of debate or revision, just stop right there and move on.
Consent To One Thing Does Not Mean Consent To All
Say that someone has allowed you to kiss them, this does not necessarily mean that you have the privilege to go ahead and take off their clothes. Yes, some people might feel comfortable only with certain boundaries being crossed and not all. This cannot be stressed enough, but communication is crucial when you are engaging in sexual activities.
Receiving Consent Once Does Not Make It An All Access Lifetime Pass
Just because someone consented to having sex with you once, doesn't mean that the offer is valid indefinitely. It doesn't even mean that it's valid the morning after, or any other time after that. So, remember that.
People Are Allowed To Change Their Minds
Ok, so you decided to have Mexican food for lunch but then as lunch dawned upon you, you felt like eating a burger instead. You order a burger right? Imagine if you weren't permitted to, that Mexican food was the only choice you had. That would be extremely unfair right? I mean, it is your basic right as a human being to change your mind. Well, the same rules apply to sex too. Just because somebody said "Yes" doesn't mean they aren't allowed to change their mind! Well, there you have it! Here's hoping that nobody gets too confused by the word 'consent' ever again!
Written by Rheea Mukherjee. Rheea spent most of her life moving between the US and India. In 2011, she decided enough was enough and moved back to Bangalore for good where she founded Write Leela Write with her friend Kala. Rheea writes awesome blogs and other things for Lovetreats. She loves dogs, attempts yoga and fantasizes about becoming vegan. Rheea also just published her first book, "Transit For Beginners"!