Q: Communication Culture & Consent

A reader wrote in asking for my thoughts on a youtube video about communication prior to sex and how we give consent. Feel free to give the video a quick watch. It’s only about four minutes long.

I know that I have written things in the past that I would not longer endorse or feel good about sharing with my readers. I hope that the author of this video feels similarly and takes her feedback into consideration as she produces more videos.

I feel that the video creates a dangerous and murky kind of consent.

We should ask our partner to clarify if they do not communicate clearly. This is a great point – on the surface. But she begins by saying that consent culture implies a lack of trust. As a viewer of her video, and as someone who has very clear cut ideas about what consent means, this is really confusing.

While it’s true that we should check in with one another if we feel that things aren’t 100% transparent, I felt the video turned consent into a game where one is constantly trying to decipher their partners verbal and nonverbal communication. This gives consent too much wiggle room. Consent doesn’t get wiggle room.  If the subject of consent is not clear, you should not have sex. If you are in the bedroom ready to have sex and consent is not clear, the bedroom is not the time to figure out why consent is not clear.

This idea of consent being clear can live side-by-side with communication culture. If it’s not clear if your partner wants to have sex, you don’t sit there and talk about it until you feel good enough with their yes. You put on sweatpants and you go watch Netflix and then you have a deep, five to seven hour long conversation about your feelings like any other couple.

Do you have a question about sex or love? Submit to Ask Suggestive and I’ll answer on my blog.

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