Ever watch Laci Green? She's a video-blogger and outspoken feminist activist who does, among other things, a series of sex-ed vids on YouTube. Green covers a huge variety of topics including menstruation, grooming, sexual etiquette, feminism, and all things vagina. Fans love her sassy style, topical information, and adorable awkwardness. One of my fave Laci Green videos is this one, which covers the topic of consent.
She makes some great points:
1. Consent is sexy. Duh.
2. Consent is mandatory - otherwise it's somewhere between assault and rape. This is followed by an explanation of the subtle forms coercion can take.
3. Consent involves keeping the lines of communication open. This is different from one person pressuring the other.
4. Sex is never something someone is owed, regardless of who paid for dinner, what you're wearing (even if it's nothing), or how far you've gone before.
5. Consent can always be retracted.
6. An absence of "no" is not the same as "yes."
I agree with all of these points, strenuously. Everyone should have this information, and believe it. The next segment, however, involves "Stop Signs - phrases or actions that should stop a sexual encounter." One of these is "I guess, if you really want me to," in a tone that suggests coercion. I have some trouble with this. While I understand that it can be hard to vocalize a "no," no one should expect a partner to guess that we mean something other than we're saying. Just as "no" doesn't secretly mean "yes," the opposite is also true. That said, looking out for vague or unsure language is good thing to keep in mind when you're dealing with other people who may not be so forthcoming.
The last segment covers situations where consent can never be given, even with a verbal "yes." It's excellent information that includes being drunk, being underage, or one person having authority over another. If you've never taken a look at the vids of Laci Green, I highly recommend her. She's engaging, cute, and chock full of great information.