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Today's post is written by our very own kaberett!
Consent is sexy
... so say the posters up around my university. And so says my personal experience.
And yet: there's a pervasive cultural idea that consent isn't sexy; that it's "ridiculous" to ask someone at every step, to check in repeatedly, to make sure everything's okay; that asking first "spoils the mood".
On the other hand, we have "talking dirty": sexy, "bad", generally viewed as "hot". (I want to note - but I'm not going to get into right here - exactly how weird it is that we have "talking dirty" as a phrase, and then we turn around, as a culture, and say "my test results came back clean": how we construe sex as unclean, and especially STIs - and the people who have them - as unclean, and in some contexts this is good and in some it is bad. I think a lot of it probably comes back to the virgin/whore dichotomy. (Note: that link is about Taylor Swift, but features the most applicable definition/explanation of the Madonna (virgin)/whore dichotomy I could find that wasn't strictly Freudian! The explanation is under the image, and reads: "the deep dichotomy in modern culture used to oppress women via a sexual double standard, establishing rigid catergories for female sexual behavior while permitting male sexual behavior to range from abstinence to promiscuity without similarly disparaging social judgement.")
Here's the thing: the only difference between "talking dirty" and "seeking enthusiastic, informed consent" is that in the latter? You're waiting for encouragement.
Me? I can't see any way in which "making sure my partner(s) is/are into it" isn't sexy.
So there's a challenge for sex ed and outreach: we need to break down the idea that seeking consent is "ruining the moment", and in the cultural construction of "talking dirty", we've got a tool in our arsenal to challenge that assertion.
What other tactics can you think of for using in sex education?