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Isn’t that kind of…unsexy?
Something that I hear quite frequently from my friends, people online on social media (especially dating apps) and even members of my own family is “well I don’t know isn’t asking someone for consent kind of unsexy?” And it gets kind of frustrating after a while. One, they’re all probably (hopefully) doing it anyways without even realizing it and two, speaking from personal experience, asking is much MUCH sexier than not asking at all. But if you’re still confused, I’m going to break down exactly why you should be asking for consent and how to do it—in the most bedroom friendly way possible.
Step 1-Why Ask
Navigating becoming a sexually active human can be super confusing, sometimes scary and often many people aren’t taught how to actually talk about sex. This can especially be compounded by different cultures or religions and how they view and talk (or don’t talk) about sex. There’s a lot going on and there is a lot to learn so I understand where this confusion around asking for enthusiastic consent is coming from. You think, “I already got them to my room” or “they already took their pants off” or or or. It seems like lately we’ve gotten really big on non-verbal communication as a crutch for avoiding having to actually ask for consent. And as a result a lot of people think that relying on non-verbal cues in and outside the bedroom is a good substitute for asking. In fact, a lot of the time when I ask students how they know they have their partner’s consent, I’m met with a blank face, a long pause and then “ummm I guess I just know?” Spoiler alert, you actually might not know. You don’t know that you one hundred percent, absolutely, positively have someone’s consent unless you actually ask. This goes for hugs, handshakes and yes, sexual activity.
The other reason you should be asking is because it’ll make your sexual experience better-trust me. We all like to think that we’re just intuitively sex gods (or cuddle gods whatever floats your boat) but we’re not. The only way to truly know what your partner is or isn’t into is by asking- and there are so many fun and playful ways to ask. Whether you are in a committed relationship(s) or just hooking up with someone, if you care about your partner(s) and are interested in everyone having a good time, ask them what they want. Then be cool about and respect the answer. Which brings me to…
Step 2- How to Ask
So assuming everyone is still with me on the importance of asking for consent, it’s time to talk about how to do it (without killing the mood or whatever). I also want to note that, joking and all sarcasm aside, ruining the mood or asking in an “unsexy” way is still highly preferable to not asking at all. We can talk about how to make consent sexier all day but in the end it’s important to remember that it’s not just sexy, it’s mandatory. So even if you ignore all of this and just straight up ask your partner(s) in all your awkward glory if they want to “do the sex”, you’re still doing it right and are probably a 100 times sexier than people who don’t ask at all. But if you are interested in keeping those smooth R&B vibes going all night long try some of these:
- I think we’re both a little overdressed…can I help you get that shirt off?
- Do you like it when I touch you here? (Feel free to insert any body part you’re interested in touching into that sentence)
- I want to kiss you here, can I?
- I love it when you do x, y and z… can you do x some more?
- I’ve been thinking about doing this with you all night, can I keep going?
I kept it rated G for all the readers at home but feel free to make each phrase as specific and dirty as you’d like. In fact the more specific you are, the better. For even more ways to ask try here, here or here. And remember you’re probably asking for consent in all kinds of ways without even realizing it! You’re already halfway there. Every time you ask your partner “do you like that”, “does that feel good” etc. you’re inviting them to either say “hell yeah” or “actually not really, but let’s try this instead”.
Step 3- Have Fun
You did it! You asked for consent and didn’t ruin the mood or you kind of ruined the mood for 0.5 seconds and it didn’t matter because you asked for consent and that’s more important than vibes anyways. So go out there and have safe, consensual fun, whatever that looks like with your partner(s). And remember that just because you asked about one thing, doesn’t mean you can just do anything else you want. Keep asking… all night long.
About the author : Caitlin is a 4th year International Studies major completing her final co-op term with the SVSPO. In her position as an Education Program Assistant, she has enjoyed providing sexual violence education training on campus and is proud to be part of creating a culture of care at SFU. Caitlin is a passionate feminist, volunteer and enjoys travelling when not in school.