What Every Man Needs To Know About Consent In The Bedroom

What Every Man Needs To Know About Consent In The Bedroom

Sparks were flying at the party. The conversation flowed. There was definite flirting. You shared a couple of drinks, and then a couple more. A little kissing and grinding on the dance floor. You’re into this woman. And you think she’s into you too.

Fast-forward a few hours, after she accepted your invitation to finish the evening with a nightcap at your place. But the heat you felt when you first started to make out has slowed down. You’re on your bed, half-naked. You’re buzzed. You’re turned on. You really, really want to have sex.

But there’s a nagging voice in your head holding you back. Is she not into you? Is she just quiet in bed? Is she drunk? Is she sleepy?

Your next move defines who you are as a man — and possibly your future. Do you have consent?

1. What Is Consent?

1. What Is Consent?

In this scenario, she’s not saying no. But she’s not saying yes, either.

This is not consent, despite what you may think.

Consent is not the absence of NO. It’s the presence of YES. Silence does not equal yes. Moaning does not equal yes. Drunken stupor does not equal yes. Asleep does not equal yes.

The only thing that equals yes is yes, whether she’s saying yes out loud or saying yes by actively participating — taking off her clothes without being asked, taking off your clothes, guiding your hands, etc. Consent is simple and unmistakable. It’s not something that needs to be interpreted through a thousand emotional and psychological filters. There really isn’t any gray area when it comes to consent. When you have it, you know.

You need consent for every sexual act, every time you have sex. If someone wants to kiss you, it doesn’t mean she wants to go down on you. If someone goes down on you, it doesn’t mean she wants to have intercourse. If she slept with you last weekend, it doesn’t mean she wants to sleep with you tonight. Even if you’re in a long-term relationship, you need consent each and every time.

Consent can be given and taken away — in the same sexual encounter. That’s not being a tease. That’s a person’s right to their body. If your partner started doing something that you didn’t want, you have the same right. If consent is taken away, stop what you’re doing — immediately. Some signs that consent is being taken away:

“Ouch.” “That hurts.” “Can we stop?” “I’m not really into this.” Falling asleep. A push on your shoulder. Suddenly going quiet. If you sense that she’s not as into it as she was a few moments ago, you should stop immediately and ask your partner what’s up.

“That hurts.”

“Can we stop?”

“I’m not really into this.”

Falling asleep.

A push on your shoulder. Suddenly going quiet. If you sense that she’s not as into it as she was a few moments ago, you should stop immediately and ask your partner what’s up.

These are the basic elements that define consent. You can read more about them through this fact sheet from the National Violence Resource Center and its It's On Us campaign.