Sexual consent is one topic that is still misunderstood by a lot of people, often defended with statements like “but na her husband” or “she has had sex with him before” such statements undermine the importance of sexual consent in romantic and intimate relationships.
What is Sexual Consent?
Sexual Consent is an agreement between participants to engage in sexual activity. Consent doesn’t have to be verbal, but verbally agreeing to different sexual activities can help both you and your partner respect each other’s boundaries. Giving consent for one activity, one time does not mean giving consent for increased or recurring sexual contact.
Consenting and asking for consent is all about setting personal boundaries and respecting those of your partner. Both people must agree to sex every single time for it to be consensual.
Here is a simple popular analogy that helps even out the blurry lines around Sexual consent and clarifies what sexual consent looks like;
- ” If you ask me for N5, and I’m too drunk to say yes or no, it’s not okay to then go take N5 out of my purse… If you put a gun to my head to get me to give you N5, you still stole N5. If I let you borrow N5, that doesn’t give you the to take $5 out of my purse next time.”
This analogy explains how consent must be clear and direct and anything outside that is a violation. So if you agree with the above analogy then you must agree that sexual consent must be given every time you participate in sexual activity and consent given when intoxicated is not recognized as consent.
To avoid circumstances that put you in a position whereby you question if consent was indeed given, always make sure that you;
- Receive explicit and direct consent to engage in sexual activity and understand that consent to one sexual activity doesn’t mean consent to all kinds of sexual activity.
- Your sexual partner can at any time withdraw consent and that should be respected no matter how far gone you both are in the activity.
- Alcohol and drugs affect consent, so it is advisable not to engage in any sexual activity with an intoxicated person.
Teaching consent can be the foundation for lots of other conversations about healthy sexual development and preventing sexual abuse. Start these conversations with kids and adults, and revisit the topics frequently.
By respecting their bodies and the bodies of others, we will groom people who become empowered to not only protect themselves but also other people in their lives.