From the moment you discover sex in all of its steamy, wonderful, intimate beauty, it’s natural to explore your sexual preferences, playful ideas, and get creative with your special someone. As amazing as sex can be, it also comes with the need to always make sure you’re safe and that your partner and you are on the same page. Communication is the key component you’ll need to ensure your partner always feels comfortable with you and that you both know what’s on the agenda, so to speak.
To that end, let’s discuss a vital topic: sexual consent. The act of agreeing to have intercourse, as well as all that precedes it, is crucial today. Teaching boys about the necessity of sexual consent means raising better men who are mindful of their partners’ needs and reducing violence in relationships. Here’s the rundown on consent, what it means, and how to communicate it, and what to do when you have questions.
You can have the most incredible chemistry in the world, and you can be in a long-term relationship, but that doesn’t mean that you’re always going to be in the mood for love-making. Would you be okay if your partner told you mid-way through your foreplay that they’re not really feeling good and that they’d rather watch a movie and cuddle? You should be able to do the same.
Consent doesn’t mean that once you say yes, you have to go through with the whole shebang. You can build a sex-positive mindset and still have those days when you’d rather just chill and munch on your favorite snacks. Changing your mind is part of consent, and you should feel free in your relationship to do just that.
Instead of making assumptions, creating expectations in your mind, or just “going with the flow,” you need to get things out in the open, and verbally so. Communicating your needs, preferences, as well as fears will ultimately help you define what exactly you want in each sexual event. Nothing goes without saying in sex: you need to be open and share what you’re feeling.
The only safe way to know that you’re on the same page is to ask from time to time, to confirm that you’re still enjoying yourself or that you’re ready to move forward and to say a clear “no” when something doesn’t feel right.
Now, even though you might be ready to enjoy intercourse with your partner, you also need to make sure that both of you are of legal age and that you’re not breaking any rules and laws in your country. Take Australia for example, the age of consent varies from one state to another, and it’s typically either 16 or 17. While it may seem like a minor difference, it means the world in that legal system should the law be broken.
To keep things under control and to understand the idea of consent to the full extent, parents and their teen kids often seek advice from criminal lawyers in Sydney to cover all their bases. This is also advisable if you ever find yourself in the unfortunate situation that someone has misinterpreted your behavior as consent, or if you’ve been in danger of any kind.
As we’ve mentioned earlier, yes, you can change your mind. If you feel that you’re no longer “in the mood” or that your desire is slipping away for whatever reason, it’s fine to say so. That, however, isn’t the only way to approach the situation, if you’re still enjoying yourself.
Consent doesn’t extend to everything just because you’ve said yes two hours ago, it actually means that even though you’ve agreed explicitly to something at first, you have the right to ask your partner to take it down a notch or two, slow down, or move at a different pace.
Some of-age teens might feel that it’s easier to get things started if they enjoy a beer or two beforehand, but this is a recipe for disaster, especially if you’re only just entering the world of sex, to begin with. The key here is to always make sure you’re of sound mind, fully aware, and that you know exactly what’s going on at all times.
That is the only way you can discern when it’s time to hit the brakes, say no, or simply move forward if you’re enjoying yourself. Having amazing sex starts with connecting with your partner, and that requires sobriety and awareness, and that’s the only way you’ll know what you want, too.
Whether you’re starting to think about the idea of sex with your partner, or you’ve been curious about consent in general, this little guide should help you discern the most important ideas with regards to expressing your desires and your limits. Always listen to that inner voice of yours, take your time, and don’t rush into anything. After all, sex is about connection and pleasure – and it can only happen when you’re ready.
If you are still not sure how consent works, here's one of our team's favorite examples on how to understand consent. From Emmeline May and Blue Seat Studios:
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