By Maddy Wheeler, Co-Deputy Editor of Wellbeing
The Croft Magazine // Maddy Wheeler talks about the importance of consent during Freshers’ Week.
Becoming a fresher you are given a whole array of new experiences, whether that’s through a new found sense of independence or from interacting with other likeminded young people. One of the most talked about ‘must have’ university experiences is sexual freedom. There’s a date just from the swipe of an app or a kiss after one too many VKs or perhaps, if you ‘get lucky’, a night with your corridor crush. And why not have these experiences, it’s part of each of our roads to sexual self-discovery and that’s great.
Of course, as with any new experiences – you learn from them, as I did and as we all will at some point or another. Now I know, that even though we all love to chant the slogan ‘no means no,’ it’s not always that simple. Right before sex, people don’t want to sit down and clarify consent – there isn’t always a yes or no exchange. I of course wish that this was something people were able to do, but I think in particular as freshers when many of us are experiencing one-night stands or sex itself for the first time, it can feel awkward bringing up the consent conversation. But there are a few ways to get around this awkwardness whilst still maintaining consensual encounters.
Gaining consent doesn’t have to be as uncomfortably forward and blunt as some might lead you to believe. Indeed, clarity is always key when it comes to the issues of sexual experiences but there are other, more natural ways to go about gaining your partner’s consent. Ever heard of enthusiastic consent? This is based on the idea of looking for a clear representation of ‘yes’ rather than the lack of a ‘no.’ Sometimes, it’s difficult to say no. Even when you don’t want it. Sometimes our politeness gets the better of us. But it is the responsibility of both people having sex, (and by this I mean all branches of sexual activity) to consistently gain consent from their partner rather than relying on the idea that they’ll feel comfortable to say no if and when they want to.
Why not ask ‘is this okay for you?’ or ‘do you like this?’ Remember that at the end of the day, sex is about both of you having a good time and these consensual questions are just a vehicle to making sure that good time happens. And make them feel like they can say no, give them an out if they want it. Asking if it’s ok only to not *really* listen to the answer is not the way to go about it. Do they seem happy and comfortable?
Consent is actually really sexy because having respect for other human beings is sexy. There is sexual confidence to be gained in considering your partner, trust me, they’ll love it. Sex, whether it be with your soulmate or Brad from Block 10 is an experience shared equally by both, so treat it like that.
Featured Image: Epigram/Emily Fromant