05 May 2016 Bala Owner

Every so often, the semantics of a relatively simple word comes to be ensnared in public debate and lengthy think pieces. Technically, consent is an agreement between participants to engage in sexual activity. People may express consent in many ways, such as through verbal and non-verbal cues.

The vital 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 people can 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

The most straightforward 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, stop right there and move on.

Consent To One Thing Does Not Mean Consent To Everything

Communication is crucial when you are engaging in sexual activities. Say that someone has allowed you to kiss them, but this does not necessarily mean that you have the privilege to go ahead and take off their clothes. Yes, some people might be okay with a date or a partner crossing specific boundaries, but that is not a blanket approval for crossing any boundary. Guys, when in doubt, ask! That's it, that's all.

Consent Once Is Not An All-Access Lifetime Pass

Just because someone consented to have sex with you once doesn't mean that the offer is valid indefinitely. It doesn't even mean that it holds 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 you feel like a burger at lunchtime instead. You order a burger, right? Imagine if you weren't permitted to; Mexican food was your only choice because you had agreed to have Mexican. That would be unfair, right? I mean, it is your fundamental right 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 ever gets too confused by the word 'consent' 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"!

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