What Consent Looks Like and Why It Matters

Whether you have one long-time partner or are still on the dating scene, there’s one thing that is absolutely vital to know: consent. We’ve all heard something or other about consent and what it is, but some of us are still unclear. Or, more often, we think we know what consent is and what it looks like, but only know what we’ve been told from outdated sex ed videos from middle school. It’s time you take a look at what consent means to sex professionals. You might be surprised by what you learn.

Yes and No

In mainstream media, one of the most common things we’re told is that “No means no.” This is 100% true. No does mean no. If you want to have sex with someone and they say they don’t want to, that’s that. However, what’s often overlooked is that saying “No” isn’t the only way to say no.

Why Consent Matters

Consent isn’t just about legalities, it’s also about respecting your partner and making sure they’re being taken care of emotionally. The least we can do before any kind of sexual encounter is to ensure we approach it responsibly and with regard to our potential partner. If you’re approaching sex and consent with regard only to legalities and not to your partner’s wellbeing, you should reconsider whether or not you’re emotionally ready to handle sleeping with someone yourself. 

Other Ways We Say No

While saying “No” is the most straightforward way to turn down sex, sometimes it’s just not that simple. Some people have had their boundaries disrespected in the past and have a hard time drawing a line. Others are eager to please and may want to push themselves out of their comfort zone for their partner’s benefit. In both of these situations, your partner may say they’re okay with having sex, but they are still uncomfortable with it and don’t really want to go through with it.

While no one is a mind reader, these are the kinds of instances that make body language important. If your partner seems suddenly less energetic than they were before or if they suddenly seem less certain, take the time to communicate with them. A genuine eagerness to get things started will be easy to read. If there’s a change in their demeanor, your partner may be having second thoughts. Take a few seconds to reassure them that they don’t have to do anything they don’t want to and listen to how they’re feeling.

Communicating with Feelings

When you take time to listen to your partners feelings about sex and show that you care about their wellbeing, you are actively forging a trust between you two. Even if your partner isn’t someone you’re in a relationship with, that forging of trust is something you will feel good about later, regardless.

For people who are romantic partners as well, this trust is something that will run deep. If you put your own satisfaction before your partner’s emotional wellbeing, that will leave scars on the trust between you. Consent isn’t just a yes or no, consent is a desire to engage. It’s your responsibility to make sure you have that from your partner before you proceed. Not only is consent good for legal and emotional reasons, it also proves to make the whole experience more enjoyable. As they say, consent is sexy.

If you have more questions about improving your sex life, take a look around our website. Or, you can even give us a call to book an appointment with Toronto Sex Therapy. We look forward to hearing from you.
Plus, we’re currently offering counseling and therapy over the phone during the COVID-19 outbreak. Stay safe and get your therapy from home to practice social distancing.