Consent is sexy.
When you look into their eyes, it seems like there is growing fire filled with desire staring back at you but you don’t know if what they feel matches what you feel.
You ask, Do you want me?
They moan, yes.
You simply move closer until you are both sharing body heat and the room feels like a magnet pulling you together. Everything disappears.
You ask, Are you sure?
Heavily lidded eyes hide longing as they respond, yes.
You take another step until the only thing separating your body from theirs is the question, “I need you to look me in the eyes and tell me that you want me to make love to you.”
They look up and their eyes meet your eyes. Their lips part and slowly they say, “I want you to make love to me now.”
You see their body surrender to the idea of what is potentially happening between you both. You know you are free to proceed.
Knowing you have the green light and there is no confusion on either person’s part injects freedom into the situation.
We are socialized by movies and television shows that asking is being polite and being polite douses the fires of passion. We all grew up seeing the movies where the girl is constantly rejecting a man’s advances until he suddenly forces himself on her and she yields to his will. Then, she realizes he is the love of her life and the ride off into the sunset.
Not only is it not realistic that someone who repeatedly rejects your advances wants to be coerced into being intimate with you, but it could also be criminal.
It is better to pursue someone with some level of mutual interest and to ask for consent before making advances. It is better for them and better for you.
I remember when I used to watch the movies about the Regency era, specifically Jane Austen. While women were horribly subjugated and forced to search for marriage to provide their livelihood. Impropriety created an invisible boundary between men and women, which could only be crossed with expressed consent.
In one scene in “Sense and Sensibility”, the young mistress, Marianne Dashwood falls while out on terrain with her younger sister. She is unable to walk. A man by the name of John Willoughby comes upon the women on his horse and sees that she is injured.
Willoughby jumps down from his horse and she tells him that she can’t walk.
His response was, “permission to ascertain the ankle, ma’am.”
He didn’t just reach out and grab her leg even to save her. He asked if it was okay. Then when he realized it was sprained. He again asked, “permission to lift you.”
She nodded. He put her arm over his shoulder, lifted her and carried her.
He took her to her home where her mother and sisters would take over her care while thanking him for helping Marianne Dashwood.
Before he left, he asked for “permission to call on the patient to check on her progress.”
Again, everyone agreed. Nowhere did he seem to lose his power in being respectful and asking her before he touched her.
In fact, consider whether you want someone to touch you can create more anticipation once you allow it.
A common misconception is asking for consent is the opposite of domination. Or, that domination is imposing yourself onto someone who has no control over what you do them. Actually, you can consent to being dominated and you can rescind consent at any time.
A friend into S&M sex play explained to me consent plays a huge role in his or her interactions. The person in submission is more in control of what happens than the dominant person. They have to consent to the act and they can stop it at any moment with their “safe word”. This give and take is what creates the sexual energy between the two with the dominant sees how far they have permission to go while the submissive sees how much they can surrender because both feel safe with the other.
I believe security plays a major role in any intimate relationship and the absence of security contributes to lack of trust. Security requires transparency, clarity and giving people choices in what they participate. Anything else is manipulation.
If you are still not convinced, go through a day, pay attention to how many times you give physical or verbal consent to others, and receive it from others. You may be surprised that you negotiating consent and exhibiting trust all day.
In contrast, how does it feel when your boundaries are violated?
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