The Consent Blueprint: Visioning Better Sex in 2021
What comes to mind when you hear the word consent? In all honesty, I was uneasy when I first began exploring what it meant. It seemed like consent only came up when there was a lack of it. What I didn’t know then was how to talk about consent and how necessary it is at all times.
The phrase “consent is sexy” could lighten the topic up for us, but the statement itself is problematic. Sex without consent isn’t sex according to Grace Peak, a writer at Affinity Magazine.
While this is true, consent is a moving target. What works today may not work tomorrow or even in 10 minutes. So, it is important to get consent every time and stay connected and in communication for a 100% consensual experience. Bottom line, the more consent you have, the more pleasure you get.
Here are five sexual health and wellness goals you can attain by the end of this article.
These five goals will help you develop a healthy framework for consent. This will allow you to bond with yourself, and your partner(s) time and time again. First, let’s start with getting to know ourselves.
- Know your desires
You will never get what you want if you don’t know what it is. That is true for every kind of goal setting. So, what does it mean when it comes to creating intimacy in your love life? Well, I could tell you to fantasize or masturbate, but the truth is that will only get you so far.
Take a moment to recall the last fantasy or intimate encounter you had. What excited you about it? Now, think about the parts that you don’t share with your partner(s). The “I’d be so embarrassed if they knew I wanted to…” Or, the “I could never ask them to…”
Now, get a piece of paper and write down your wishlist. This will be the basis for your enthusiastic yes, which we will go over next.
- Enthusiastic and Informed Consent
Enthusiasm means that there is no hesitancy or reluctance in choosing to be intimate for you and your partner(s). Energy, stress, timing, and lack of information can affect sexual enthusiasm.
Informed Consent is a medical term that relates to doctor-patient communication. So, let’s play doctor for a minute. Consider that you are giving your partner(s) full access to your most valuable asset, yourself. Before doing this you want to make sure that you and your partner(s) have as much information about each other and the situation as possible.
There are many types of consent conversations you can practice as you explore the topic however, in all cases information is key. When you have all the information you can choose freely whether or not to engage in an activity. Here are some resources for different consent conversations you may encounter:
Risk Aware Consensual Kink (RACK)
The most pleasurable experiences come from being curious and aware of yourself and your partners’ desires and boundaries.
Continuous communication before during and after sex allows for a more relaxing and pleasurable experience according to the American Sexual Health Association.
Sex in itself is a form of communication. So, it makes sense that the better your communication skills, the more enjoyable your sex life will be. I invite you to communicate openly, honestly, and often. Also, be sure to get consent each and every time you engage in an intimate act, even if you have done that act before. Remember all things with consent.
- Know your Boundaries
Any basic consent guide will tell you that “yes” means “yes” and “no” means “no” and that the boundaries should be clearly defined. But when it comes to sex, sometimes those lines can get a little blurry. Consider that consent is more of a spectrum than a line. Looking at consent as a moving target allows for more flexibility and communication. Being flexible lets you adapt to the situation, which may mean not getting your way, but it does not mean bending to someone else’s will. Others do not get to change your boundaries.
It is important to know and discuss your desires and limits beforehand to be fully informed about your, and your partners’ expectations. Listen to your partner(s) desires and if they fall within your boundaries. Just like your enthusiastic yes, it is important to know what your firm no is as well.
- Be responsible & do not assume
While drugs and alcohol can lower inhibitions and may enhance certain sexual experiences, responsible consent means that all parties have consented to sexual activities prior to any intoxication. And, that they are still coherent enough to consent once intoxicated. If you have any uncertainty of your partner’s ability to respond to a situation then consent is not present and it is best to revisit the sexual activity at a later time.
Assumed consent is not consent. Our culture tends to make many assumptions about sexuality based on how people behave, how they dress, cultural media, and past-based experiences. Our society often blames sexual assault on an individual’s attire, sobriety, or location, and not on the perpetrator’s actions.
With these lessons in your tool belt, you are now equipped to have a happy, healthy, sex life! Keep in mind that sexuality is in our nature and sexual health is mental health. Having clear, honest communication with your partner(s) is essential to maintaining a healthy, fun, and enjoyable sex life. Now share your newfound sense of self!