A lot of our Instagram posts focus around consent, but what does that mean? If you look at any page or resource discussing consent, they will tell you consent is freely given, reversible, informed, enthusiastic, and specific. That's great, but unless you really buy in to living a life revolving around consent, that definition can be kind of confusing. So, let's break this down for anyone new to the concept. First, consent is not just about sex; consent is about setting boundaries for yourself in all areas of life. This covers your friend wanting to lay all of their drama on you to someone touching your hair (do you know how long it takes to get it to look like this?!). You are allowed to say no when you aren't comfortable with a situation. I know, it's a crazy concept.
Let's just say it: if someone is unconscious, asleep, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol they straight up cannot give consent. Sorry to break it to you. I see a lot of discussion around this topic when there is zero discussion to be had. It's written in stone. Find someone who has the ability to actually communicate before you even think about sex. Consent can be revoked at any time. You may start getting hot and heavy and then one person changes their mind. You are allowed to be upset, but you are not allowed to be a dick because you didn't get what you wanted. Also, whining and crying until someone gives in to having sex...not consent.
Now that we got that out of the way, let's move on. Of course a lot of consent goes into sex and being with romantic partners. Talk to your partner. Discuss likes and dislikes and listen to them when they draw boundaries. You are not entitled to anything, no matter how turned on you may be or how long you have been dating said person. Consent is ongoing and always evolving. Don't look at this as an inconvenience though; look at it as an opportunity to keep learning new things about your partner. You are developing awesome trust and communication with each other, even if every time together doesn't result in sex.
This rule still applies with total strangers. Talk with them. I promise they will not be turned off by you taking the time to check in on their needs. Has anyone ever said "I really hate it when someone takes me into consideration!"? If anything, this should make your encounters even more exciting because everyone is on the same page and you feel comfortable enough to express wants. Contrary to popular belief, asking for consent does not have to be this huge, drawn out conversation that kills the mood; just ask Boyz II Men. Their songs are all about asking for consent and it doesn't get any sexier. Pro tip: if asking for consent ruins the mood, you were the only one in the mood.
Consent is mandatory though. In life. In bed. Start asking permission before you just assume it's OK and set those same boundaries for yourself. It will make you feel more empowered over your mental and physical self. Hold the people in your life accountable too. Stand firm on the boundaries you've drawn for yourself and make sure they are practicing consent with others. The only way we are going to build a healthier and more respectful culture in this world is to start speaking up. Check out the video below to make consent even simpler.