Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Explicit sexual consent

Is it really ridiculous to require parties engaging in sexual acts to seek explicit consent?

This idea has been satirized by Dave Chappelle in this skit.
Chappelle Love Contract

The debate continues with views such as these.

Quite frankly, there is no such thing as just fucking.  There are simple things with fewer consequences that require written consent, liability waivers, disclosure documents, and other legal formalities.  Many can attest that safe sex is not as simple as the use of a condom.

Some common issues addressed in sex contracts include:
Martial Status
Is the party of legal age of consent (this will vary by state)
Birth control methods
Disclosure of sexually transmitted diseases
Actions permitted during intercourse
Acknowledgement that your partner's judgment is not impaired by alcohol or drugs
Examples of sex contracts are available at

If requiring a simple "yes" or discussing issues such as those above, ruins the mood or takes away from the moment, the moment was not sustainable and should be reconsidered anyway.  Giving a fairly substantive, potentially life altering decision, be it with pregnancy, exposure to STDs, or the sexual encounter itself, a second thought is prudent.  Though the decision is often taken casually it can have catastrophic consequences, and though as a society we may find it unusual or not the norm, I know I would feel more comfortable with such a dialog becoming the norm. 

Good sex requires good communication.  You can assume the non aggressing sexual party, even if implying consent, would prefer a better experience than a mediocre or blah one.  Why not open those channels of communication early to avoid any future miscommunications.  I have generally found the most gratifying sexual experiences to be those where someone is seeking many a "yes", not trying to surreptitiously capitalize on a moment without a no.  If I were a man, I would want to ensure I could not in the future be a victim of a "consent and regret" rape charge. Not only that, but I would never want my partner to regret a moment of weakness or the decision to engage in any act with me.  Though I am sure I would be a fairly studly man with lots of game and a charm your pants off mouthpiece, it would just be that much more of a confidence booster to have an unequivocal "yes" from my partner. 

More on sexual regret Editorial from Yale Daily written by a female student.

I would find it in everyone's best interest to practice this idea, and even explore the possibilities of legislating the necessity of obtaining consent from your sexual partners. I personally would even find it romantic and respectful that a guy wanted to make sure, really make sure, I wanted to do what I was doing.  While you are at it discuss what you would do should there be an unintended pregnancy, and verify your sexual health. 

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Couldn't agree more. Bullying a woman into sex isn't consent, and it isn't sexy. How vocal and affirmative the yes you need may depend on the situation, but you always need a yes. I don't think the reason is necessarily to avoid a rape charge, but to avoid leaving women in your wake who feel used and angry.