Enthusiastic Consent

LittleBigFoot

Policy Enforcement
What does it mean to you?

To me enthusiastic consent requires all parties involved to be sober and happy (granted angry sex can be great), have discussions prior to intercourse about limits and wants (safewords are awesome here even without it being bdsm), and everyone is of age and reasonably sane.

When it comes to the discussions I would expect that everyone is actively participating in a back and forth. Meaning it isn’t just one person dominating the conversation and the other person goes along with it. These discussions should ideally take place while clothed and maybe even somewhere public so that nothing sexual happens right away.

Obviously that’s a lot of work to go through and I’ve definitely done my fair share of one night stands where none of this protocol happened. But in a world where consent can be blurry, I think it’s a good idea to do stuff like this.

Make sure everyone is on the same page and excited to move forward and not just dragging. If a person is just dragging along and going with whatever you say and just being very unenthusiastic about it, it’s reasonable (to me) to assume that they just aren’t into it and you should back off.

I feel like this helps protect everyone, male or female. Obviously rape is still going to happen. False accusations are still going to happen. But for the rest of the time when everyone is just trying to safely navigate life? This would clear up those murky waters a bit.


How does everyone else see enthusiastic consent? Or just consent in general?
 

Chris-duck

MyPTSD Pro
I don't think *fully* sober is always required, I think it's a bit of a judgement call on how drunk or whatever someone can be and consent. But slurring or staggering would be a no go. But couple of drinks first is okay.

And also I'd be confused and weirded out if someone didn't uh reciprocate, or looked kinda lost, or wasn't like pure into it. But it's fair to say I'm actually not that into sex so I'm not usually the person initiating these days, but I'm also not *against* sex. So if I started n they stopped I'd be a bit like "um you ok?".

And it helps even in false rape accusations tbh if you have enthusiastic consent, cos if you get verbal or physical consent implied or otherwise for each step then bigger gap between stories I guess.

Not to mention how you'll always be sure for yourself whether or not you raped someone. Even if you are accused.
 

LittleBigFoot

Policy Enforcement
And it helps even in false rape accusations tbh if you have enthusiastic consent, cos if you get verbal or physical consent implied or otherwise for each step then bigger gap between stories I guess.

Not to mention how you'll always be sure for yourself whether or not you raped someone. Even if you are accused.


Exactly! It helps clear out the “I don’t know for sures”. If a cop comes questioning then you can be like yes, we talked about it and they clearly said yes.
 

joeylittle

Administrator
"Enthusiastic Consent" is a nice idea, but I don't see what's wrong with plain old individual responsibility.

When it comes to the discussions I would expect that everyone is actively participating in a back and forth. Meaning it isn’t just one person dominating the conversation and the other person goes along with it. These discussions should ideally take place while clothed and maybe even somewhere public so that nothing sexual happens right away.

Obviously that’s a lot of work to go through and I’ve definitely done my fair share of one night stands where none of this protocol happened. But in a world where consent can be blurry, I think it’s a good idea to do stuff like this.
I don't think it's going to make anyone any safer. In fact, I think it can run the risk of making people more prone to being coerced or convinced, if there's a bad actor in the mix.

It's not the responsibility of one person to obtain the enthusiastic consent of the other - and that's the problem I have with concepts like this. The idea is, "I make sure you're OK, and you make sure I'm OK, and that's how we know we're OK."

How about
A: "I'm OK".
Pause.
B: "I'm not OK".
A: "That's no problem. Wanna order pizza?"
B: "No, I'd like to go home".
A: "Cool"

The end. Repeat as needed, during all the intercourse.

In western society (that's all I know), it's traditionally been the the "dominant" figure's responsibility to obtain consent. Or somehow mind-read consent. Or, just assume it. And it's the non-dominant's role to wait for the dominant to establish the ground rules. That's an awful thing to do to someone, by the way.

If a person is afraid to initiate sex? They're not ready for that sex. If a person is afraid, if they're ashamed of themselves or are worried about how a "no" will be received?....And they're worrying about that before their date knocks on their door? That's how it works for so many people, and it will be a very good day when we can feel sexual tension without feeling sexual fear.

I'd like to see society begin buying into/practicing the idea that simple mutual respect and open communication can look like a lot of different things. It doesn't need to look like everyone is having a fun, happy, "enthusiastic" time in order for it to be genuine and complete.
Make sure everyone is on the same page and excited to move forward and not just dragging. If a person is just dragging along and going with whatever you say and just being very unenthusiastic about it, it’s reasonable (to me) to assume that they just aren’t into it and you should back off.
Sure - but this can't replace the better idea, which is that when a person feels like they'd rather not be doing what they're doing? They are self-aware enough to say, "stop". And the other person listens.

I truly don't believe meeting in advance to lay down ground rules will have any actual impact, when the people are in the moment. I've always found it better to talk as we go.
Not to mention how you'll always be sure for yourself whether or not you raped someone. Even if you are accused.
I think that's important, definitely - I just think trying to work it all out in advance is very difficult to do, and can't every replace the expectation that we can talk in the moment while it's happening.

This is why what BDSM needs is unique. When there's role-play involved, it'll often be distracting to BOTH parties to stop and talk as they go. It makes tons more sense to do the advance planning. But I also don't think that learning sex through the lens of BDDSM helps people be their most confident sexual selves. It's good to have some experience of basic, fluid (but transparent) power dynamic in sex that lets all the participants learn that they aren't responsible for continuing if they don't want to. They can stop. That shit takes practice.

I dunno, I should eat a sandwich - I'm going in circles. Just have been thinking about this a great deal in my own life, lately.
 

Chris-duck

MyPTSD Pro
I think I consider "enthusiastic consent" to just mean, an actual yes (or variation of that obv, cos "want sex?" is uh not how shit goes down in normal life) Like I don't consider it one sides responsibility, I kinda consider it both. And non-verbal implied consent IMO would count. I think it's a sketchy area, but not as sketchy as people wanna pretend it is either.

I don't mean a sit down meeting in advance. I mean, you can tell if someone is up for something while moving forwards, if you (plural) can't then uh, I guess that's something to work on and abstain from sex while you do? Like not set rules, just if someone is zoned out, hesitating, f*cking crying, maybe check in?

ETA: I mean lack of no does not a yes make. But plenty of things do make a yes without *saying* yes, or jumping on someone naked.
 
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LittleBigFoot

Policy Enforcement
I keep re reading all this and I’m struggling to explain where my brain is at with it. So I’m just gonna ramble and see what happens.

So I’ve gotten into the bdsm scene in the past couple years and it’s taught me a lot. Especially where consent is concerned. Now I know you say we don’t necessarily need to learn from the lens of bdsm and I agree but I don’t think it should be thrown away either. I get my ideas are maybe less passionate then people want but I genuinely think that’s safer in the long run. I’m curious what made you (@joeylittle) feel like meeting ahead of time would be more dangerous (genuinely curious I’m not being facetious).

I just feel like the ways people are mentioning are the ways it’s always been and clearly there’s some kind of disconnect if people can’t determine whether or not they are being raped or are being a rapist. So I feel like maybe the way it’s always been just doesn’t work the way it’s intended.

I definitely advocate for checking in throughout, and I’m sorry I missed putting that in the original post. It’s definitely something that should always happen. Especially if someone is experiencing a freeze response.

That’s the main reason I posted this is I’m genuinely curious what people view as appropriate consent considering freezing does happen and apparently its not always clear when it is happening.

I don’t know, maybe it’s not cool or whatever but I don’t think it’s unreasonable for people to want to have verbal consent. I think non verbal cues can be great and all but it’s too easy to argue that person a was reading person b’s non verbal cues as consent and went ahead and moved forward. Individual responsibility is preferred but I don’t know that it’s always realistic when we live in a society where people are always questioning whether or not something was rape.

I was fine earlier but now with this idea of let’s just lean on personal responsibility I’m bothered and I don’t totally know why. Because it’s reasonable to expect a person to have enough self awareness and agency to stop something they don’t want. But regardless I’m really bothered by the idea and feel like it can rabbit hole into victim blame ish stuff and that’s something I’ll have to look at.
 
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Mee

MyPTSD Pro
I feel it means ‘not coerced or convinced or in any way compromised to consent ‘.

It means ‘yeah , ok’ or ‘hell , yes’ not ‘ um ,er if it’s the easiest thing to do to get of a situation in one piece. That’s not just physically but emotionally, socially/ reputationally too.


I think @joeylittle your thoughts are really interesting and a train I get on too ( but never arrive at destination). Mine also includes the idea not only of ‘but in bdsm this xxx works: doesn’t work , and in fantasies - and most common fantasies include stuff no one wants to happen ‘if society were truly healthy in attitudes to sex and gender - would it not be likely our fantasy life might change ? That what turned us on might be more like ‘enthusiastic, ongoing, consent?’ My husband never complained about a request for something in particular during sex - and that request or suggestion is by its nature ‘enthusiastic consent’.
 
Enthusiastic consent, if enforced as a legal standard, would send endless numbers of innocent men to prison.

Where is the only place in the USA where enthusiastic consent is enforced as law? University campuses. And over and over, enthusiastic consent has been used to expel men with almost 100% exclusitivity, with Black men even more disproportionately affected. College officials know this, but only rarely admit it.

When the state of California's legislature passed a law making informed consent the standard, Jerry Brown, one of the most liberal governors in the nation, vetoed it - citing its problematic discrimination against Black men.

It's not hard to see why - @joeylittle as much as spelled it out.
In western society (that's all I know), it's traditionally been the the "dominant" figure's responsibility to obtain consent. Or somehow mind-read consent. Or, just assume it. And it's the non-dominant's role to wait for the dominant to establish the ground rules.
Men, as the dominant figures in any heterosexual sexual encounter, are the only participants expected to get consent. NOT women. Therefore, the brunt of any legal action will fall almost exclusively on men.

If everyone in the world agreed to use enthusiastic consent as their own personal standard, and then actually ACTED that way - if men and women were actually seen as equally responsible for obtaining consent from each other (which, by the way, would also mean that society would recognize the possibility of women sexually abusing men, and not solely the other way around) - then yes, enthusiastic consent would work. But that isn't the world we live in. I find enthusiastic consent advocates to be hopelessly idealistic, especially after years of Title IX has proven it to be discriminatory at base.
 

Chris-duck

MyPTSD Pro
@somerandomguy did you read any of my post about what I consider consent? By enthusiasm I mean something that indicates yes. Not just a lack of a no. From both sides.

Like you can't possibly argue that people shouldn't be expected to give some sort of gesture to show they're up for it.
 
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