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A Brief Guide to Enthusiastic Consent in Romantic Relationships

Humans are complicated. This makes relationships complicated. So it’s important that communication between partners is consistently clear, especially when it comes to positive consent. 

Although it seems simple enough, people are now becoming aware that there’s a gray area that partners need to tread carefully. Empathy, a listening ear, and the willingness to communicate are qualities to live by.

Enthusiastic consent should be the standard response you’re waiting for before playtime. Keep reading to learn more about what it is and why it’s important. 

What is Enthusiastic Consent?

You’ve probably heard the slogan “no means no.” There’s another slogan: “Yes means yes.” There is a clear difference between the two

“No means no” suggests that in the absence of someone objecting, his or her partner is free to do whatever they please with their bodies. “Yes means yes” rectifies this.

Enthusiastic consent says that both partners need to wait for an excited affirmative before doing anything. This avoids misunderstandings and hurting a partner who didn’t have time to object. The responsibility is on everyone to be kind and respectful.

Challenging “No Means No”

“No means no” says that a woman’s boundaries need to be respected. But our society has warped the meaning over time, assuming that means women will always be objecting to sex.

It places all the responsibility on the woman, leading rapists to use the defense of “she didn’t say no.” But the woman may have been shocked, scared, inebriated or even just reluctant. Men are also expected to read those signs.

Enthusiastic consent clears up this confusion by making it crystal clear when a woman is ready. It also challenges the idea that women don’t want sex as much as men. 

How to Practice Enthusiastic Consent

You should want and need to be intimate with someone that’s just as excited to be with you. Before beginning any kind of sexual activity, wait for an affirmative yes instead of pressing on until your partner says no. 

Remember that a “yes” is different than an “affirmative yes.” You shouldn’t still be wondering whether they really want to go through with things after they say yes. It should be enthusiastic, with no doubt. 

What do you do on the first kiss? It doesn’t always have to be a question. For instance, for the first kiss lean in – if they don’t respond within 5 seconds, ask them. This is especially important for new people you meet on dating exchange sites.

For more than a kiss, move slowly. Ask your partner questions such as, “Do you like this?” Incorporate it into your lovemaking – make it sexy, talk dirty. Communication doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself at the same time! 

Wrapping It Up

Hopefully by now you understand the difference between “yes means yes,” “no means no” and enthusiastic consent. Your experience with future or current partners can only improve as a result. 

Moreover, enthusiastic consent is simply better for women and society. Let’s eliminate rape culture and the thought that women don’t like sex and give everyone the responsibility and power to enjoy themselves. 

Explore the blog further to read more about how you can improve your relationships!

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