Consent is the basis of sexual activity

Consent is the basis of sexual activity

According to the Dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy, the main definition of “consent” is “to allow something or condescend to do it”. In recent years, with the expansion of the feminist movement and campaigns like #MeToo, sexual consent has been put at the center of the debate.

In part due to the education that was given to both men and women, it was previously believed that they should not say “yes” to the first sexual advance, as they were frowned upon and considered “easy women”.

Thus, it became common to use strategies such as giving a girl too much alcohol to drink so that she would eventually agree to have sex, or at least to be so drunk that she was unable to object.

Facing cases like this that, deep down, constitute an abuse, the complaints of sexual harassment and abuse not only in the world of entertainment, but also in sports, the arts, education and many other contexts, opened the discussion to give the place that it deserves to an element from which all sexual activity must start: the consent of the involved people.

Fundamental rule

Not only women can be abused, but men can also be pressured or even forced to engage sexual activity that they do not want. This is why we cannot overemphasize the importance of obtaining consent.

Some specialists in sexology summarize the essential elements of sexual life in the following way: all sexual activity must be consented by two (or more) people in full awareness to make decisions, and must not physically or emotionally harm any of the parties involved. 

This means, returning to the previous example, that a person in a state of intoxication is not in full awareness to make decisions, and the same could be said of another who is threatened, pressured or blackmailed to carry out certain acts.

Consent must be explicit, and must always be consulted to avoid committing abuses. Another example is that consenting sexual activity does not mean saying yes to everything. If you agreed to vaginal penetration, anal penetration would be a different activity and therefore also requires your consent. Or if you agreed to have sex with a person once, it does not mean that from then on you will agree every time.

Another very important point of agreement is the use of condoms. It is common for a person to agree to sexual contact on the condition a condom to be used, but it is also common, unfortunately, for one of the parties to break that agreement and remove the condom at some point during intercourse. This can be understood as abuse.

So if you want to have a healthy sex life, without harming your partner, it is better to make sure you have their consent and that you both agree. You don’t need to fill out forms or ask a super formal question, you can ask within the erotic game itself. Of course, pay attention to the answers and do not go beyond what the other person has agreed to do.

And remember that if you’re sexually active, it’s important to get tested for HIV to rule out any risk. At AHF Latin America and the Caribbean we do free HIV tests and we also have condoms at no cost to you. Come to our offices in your country or write to us by Whatsapp.