NOTES ON CONSENT
I have been thinking lots on the idea of sexual consent & dynamics. In many ways it is really very simple but as current discussions have shown, it's not really. When lovers have strong sexual telepathy between them, overt (verbalised) consent is not always required. And in fact, within a balanced, equal, loving sexual relationship, power play, giving up control (submissiveness) and taking control (dominance) can be quite normal & exciting games to play. Healthy even, as they involve a high degree of trust & the ability to communicate - talk about sex, outside of the moment. It is a tapestry rather than a photocopy in that sense, or should be.
It is a fine balance to strike in intimate, sexual relationships & in many ways is struck naturally by the nature of your general dynamic. But women do still get raped in relationships. It is still rape if a woman has consented to something previously & then doesn't another time, so it is vital that lovers should always be aware of their partners reactions & be prepared to stop.
The following 2 scenarios are made up but note the similarities & the differences;
1. Couple have been together for a year. They have gotten into some mildly kinky sex play with each other. The woman has realised she likes it when her lover holds her wrists behind her back when they fuck... And sometimes likes it when he places a hand on her mouth too... The constriction of airflow, the urgency... It reminds her of having to keep silent when having public sex. They have discussed this & he knows, from having taken the time to get to know her, if trying that is inappropriate during any particular love making session. A few times he has gaged it wrong but either she has said stop or he has just known not to continue. This is healthy, respectful sexual intimacy.
2. Couple have been with each other for a few weeks. One time when they were both very drunk, she allowed him to fuck her up the bum. He is a naturally dominant lover & held her arms behind her back & took total control. It is not something she usually does. Is not sure how she feels. She consented to it as far as she is concerned, so no harm done. They continue to see each other but he never wants to discuss sex, so she just attempts to guide him to what she wants whilst they are in sitchu. A few weeks later, whilst taking her from behind, the man decides he wants to do that again. She didn't complain last time, so he pulls out of her vagina & takes her up the bum again & pins her arms behind her back, thus stopping her ability to move. She cries out but he just assumes it's because it hurts a bit, as anal sex does, in his mind she loved it last time & he desperately needs to cum & so shuts off any other thoughts.
It is easy to see how the woman in situation 2 would feel violated. Was violated. Her consent was not sought. Not only did he not read the signals of her body in that situation but he failed to seek clarification that she was into it the time before. Ignored what she was trying to guide him towards. One can also see how this man might say that it was a justifiable accident, because like in situation 1, couples don't always seek express, verbal consent. But a tapestry has to be built with trust, time & communication.
Consent, like intimacy, trust & love are continual works in progress in any sexual relationship. People who are not actively engaged in that but want to push boundaries are dangerous & should be avoided.
Here is a poem I wrote about ideas on consent not long after the last time I was raped (it has happened twice in my life).
The dirtiest four letter word
You'll ever hear
The same thing as sex (when ugly consent is reared)
The closer you look at that line
It just disappears
Cos those scenes of rape
That you see on TV
On that silver screen
Are erotisced and glamorised
The woman often looks keen
Deep down she's fucking loving it
Despite her 'no's' and her screams
Therefore pressuring a woman into sex
Is just mere folly
Cos boys will be boys and
Girls are just dollies
For your dick
Fuck what she feels
What she wants
What she thinks
Drunk = asking for it
Passed out = guilt free
No = yes
No matter how hard she pleads
With her words
With her terror
With her silence
With her eyes
Consent is just a game
To be won, like a prize