Consensual sex


Heavy topic, but important. It kind of sounds like a straightforward concept, but I found it’s actually rather complicated. Here is a very simple situation (that obviously doesn’t depict ALL situations but bear with me):

Boy and girl are going out, they come back to one of their flats, they start kissing, boy moves hand up girls top, girl allows it, boy takes top off, girl allows it, boy takes top off, boy takes girl’s hand and gently takes her into the bedroom where she is further undressed and soon after they steam up the windows.

At no point in this encounter was any consent asked. That doesn’t mean that the girl didn’t consent to having sex with the boy though. All it means is that this is a case of assumed consent . An assumption that was made ‘through body language and apparent receptivity’ (thanks Wiki). How romantic. The other type of consent would be informed consent.Which would go something like this:

Boy and girl go out, they come back to one of their flats, they start kissing, boy puts hand on hem of girl’s top and asks ‘may I?’ Girl nods ‘yes’ and he puts his hand under her top. They kiss some more. Girl slightly moves boys shirt up and looks at him questioningly . He smiles and lifts his arms up for her to take his shirt off. Etc… etc. sexy stuff happens.

Not only is this type of consent a lot clearer, it also instantly sounds like a lot more fun for both of them. Right?

Now the problem with scenario 1 in my opinion is the following; In a way the boy is trying how much kissing and fondling is tolerated by the girl and gradually (and easy does it) he gets her out of her top, into the bedroom to have sex. Though this is classic (getting to first base, getting into her pants etc) it is also a very clear division into two roles where the boy is trying as hard but subtle as he can to get into the girl’s pants by moving slowly but surely, and the girl allowing and tolerating more and more (playing hard to get maybe even)  until they have sex.

I think this is the scenario that all of us have grown up with. And unfortunately it’s a scenario that is very common and held up by men and women equally, as in, both men and women act out this role. And if it’s everywhere in the media , why would a 16 yr old boy not think that that is the way to get anywhere? Why would a 16 yr old girl not think that when she has allowed a boy to touch her boobs, she can’t really go back anymore, they have to go all the way now, because that’s what everyone else does?

As an example, have you noticed that in movies and shows, couples that kiss for the first time almost never just continue kissing for a long long time, exploring this new partner and soaking up the excitement? Often they will kiss for about 30 seconds and instantly start ripping each other’s clothes off while diving down on a bed (without hurting themselves, which is not human). It’s unrealistic (I think) and makes unexperienced boys and girls think that that is how it goes. You kiss, take each other’s clothes off and have heaps of sex. All that is missing is… a lot. All the good bits even. There is hours of kissing, there is gazing into each other’s eyes like drugged up puppies (come on, we’ve all done it), and there is COMMUNICATION. On the big screen everyone instantly stops talking after The Kiss and keep silent until the morning after. Boring.

I think there is something very wrong with the idea that women tolerate sex, and men have to persuade the women to have sex with them. It might sound a bit wrong like that, but if you lay this template over a lot of love stories (and pop songs for that matter) it does actually fit. Woman plays hard to get but man softens her up in the end and she is swept off her feet into his bed. Watch ‘House of the flying daggers’ for a good example.  What is so wrong with this scenario is that the line between a man trying to persuade a woman to tolerate him having sex with her and man making woman tolerate him having sex with her is very very thin. If this is the scenario, or the script that boys and men go by, overstepping that line is too easy and very excusable.

For a woman (and especially for an unexperienced girl) it is very difficult to say ‘no’ to something sexual that is happening when not actually asked. Saying ‘no’ or to physically stop someone is such a big statement, and such a scary one that it needs a lot of courage. You would instantly create an ugly scene. I’m going to assume the girl really likes the boy for them to be going this far, and to make a statement like that would surely ruin everything. No one wants that. So sometimes a woman tolerates sex upon assumed consent, and it is kind of branded by culture to be normal. It’s thought of by women to be normal.

I think sex is something created by two people, an interaction  to which both people should obviously consent, both people should get pleasure from and neither person should feel uncomfortable with.   It shouldn’t be a guessing game, it should be full of communication. Sex shouldn’t be based on one assuming that the other one is okay with what is happening. I think it should be either totally apparent, or if not, it should be asked. Tolerating might fall under assumed consent, it also falls under ‘feeling like you have no choice’, and that’s a situation everyone wants to avoid. At least, I’d like to think so.

You know how the old joke goes that women want men to read their mind? Well I don’t think so actually, I think what we want is to be asked.


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  1. Richard Allen

     /  March 19, 2012

    Good post Miss Judy. I’ve definitely been “that boy” in the past, but have been working on being a little more aware and explicit in the present when getting more intimate, even if it is with someone I have been close to for awhile. Thanks for bringing it up, I’ll be making a point to ask, and often.

    • Thanks Rich, I think most of us (definitely including me) have been in one or both of these positions. But it’s kind of uncomfortable, uncommunicative and eventually (in my opinion) makes for bad sex. I think sometimes couples do it this way their entire life, one of them tolerating sex, the other one persuading, just because they think that is how it goes. It’s just too much of a game to me, and one that doesn’t sound particularly fun anymore. And yeah, tricky when it comes to some people not playing the game correctly and overstepping lines.
      Off to work now, thanks again Rich

      • Richard Allen

         /  March 22, 2012

        Intimacy is such a strange game indeed. Thanks again for the post Judes.

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