3 Myths About "Consent" We Need To Put To Rest FOREVER

Photo: WeHeartIt
rape culture

Yes, consent can be revoked at any time — even during the act.

"Rape Culture” is an emotionally charged issue. But one thing is clear: We need a better understanding of consent and healthy sexuality.

The Canadian Women’s Foundation found that almost all Canadians (96 percent) agree that sexual activity must be consensual, two-thirds (67 percent) do not fully understand how to properly give or get it. 

So how do we go about creating a culture of consent? We have to examine our belief systems and how we think about sexuality, which is largely based on a storm of toxic messages we encounter every day — through media, advertising, and corporate irresponsibility. 

We have become completely dehumanized from healthy sexual experience and expression. "Rape culture” is a symptom of the underlying problem. 

Here are 3 myths we need to throw light on in an effort to eliminate "rape culture."

Myth #1: Sex is a straight-forward yes or no transaction.

Sex is an ongoing exchange that requires clear communication both verbal and non-verbal. So if someone changes their mind during a sexual encounter then consent is no longer given. You can give or withdraw consent at any time according to sexual limits and boundaries. Gender norms, and socio-cultural factors make this tricky to navigate.  Honest communication can be confusing because of wanting to please, trying to act as expected, or a lack of communication skills. 

Myth #2: Not saying anything at all, being drunk or high, or dressing sexy is consent to sex.

Consent is active not passive. Consent is given as part of an ongoing dialog between those involved. So if you are confused about if your partner is giving active consent or not then it is important to listen and observe what they say and their body language

“Giving in” to sexual instigation would NOT be consent. Or if someone is intoxicated then they are not able to give active consent. To ensure consent is active you as the pursuer must ask questions and be attentive to verbal and non-verbal cues. Like “how does this feel?” “Would it be okay if I …” “Would you like this?”  “What are you comfortable with?”  “Are you still comfortable?”   

It is important that we are clear about sexual limits and boundaries before becoming involved with someone, by asking “what are my sexual limits?” “How will I communicate what I feel comfortable with and what I am not” “what sexual activities will I do with someone I love and trust?” “What sexual activities will I always do?” “What sexual activities will I never do?”

Myth #3: When it comes to sex, a man’s role is to be the aggressor or instigator, and the women’s role is to be the gate keeper and actively resist a man’s sexual urges.    

Consent is not coerced. This harmful and untrue myth makes teens think that sex is something that boys will work to “get” from girls. 

Sexual coercion does not have to look like a violent sexual assault to be non-consent. Subtle, verbal coercion and ongoing pressure is also a form of 'not getting' consent.  An example of this would be hearing “You’ve got me all excited! You have to go through with it now” or “You wanted to before why not now?”

One study shows that 54 percent of American University aged females, and 28 percnt of males had been pressured through frequent arguments to engage in intercourse.  Although in order to create a culture of consent it is crucial to respect all “No’s,” what’s important to remember is that coercion and force are much more subtle, and and when someone eventually gives in, it does not mean that consent is given.

We need to start helping our youth by first taking responsibility for the culture we all have a hand in maintaining; even though it is not our fault. “Rape culture” is everyone’s problem. 

We can blame the boys in this case or victim blame the girls in both cases this won't solve this sad social phenomenon. We need to all think differently about sexuality and relationships. We need more spiritual definitions and understandings, and to give up the outdated ways of the past.  



Explore YourTango