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Learning how to consent to sex - Elf M. Sternberg
elfs
elfs
Learning how to consent to sex
We didn't all know how to consent to sex when we were 16. Most of us were bad at it. Men fumbled, and the good ones heard "no" and backed off, and waited their turn; the *really* good ones learned how to get to "yes" without being creepy and pressuring. The women were just as bad, mostly too terrified to do anything more than wait for the moment when they had to say "no."

One of the weird fears of the men's-rights crowd that's getting traction right now is called "legalism," the idea that you need a detailed advanced plan of consent and action before having sex. The fear is that this'll put the kibosh on romance, if men and women have to actually, you know, say what they want before taking their clothes off, they'll never actually want to take their clothes off.

Bollocks.

Learning how to consent to sex is like learning how to cook for friends. At first, you're bad at it, and having an explicit cookbook you can follow precisely will help you produce a pleasurable experience. Once you've cooked enough meals, though, you can fake it; you can throw together the right ratios of fat, salt, fiber, meat, and vegetables and make almost anything delicious.

When you're just starting, learning how to have sex in an informed and consensual framework starts with explicit agreements. Eventually, after a few times with one partner, you can relax: you both know what the other person is after. Eventually, you can transfer this skill to other partners. You can get to the point of "Here's what I like, here's what will turn me off, I trust you to hear my 'no', and I promise to hear yours." That's pretty much the pinnacle of a casual sexual consent agreement. Even that last part can be implicit in certain settings, or — in S&M, especially in public events — so important it need not even be said.

The idea that explicitly listing out what you want, what you don't want, and explicitly promising to respect the other person's "stop" is somehow going to stop men and women from having sex is laughable. The trials men and women will endure to get laid are amazing. Being naked is the ultimate vulnerability, how can asking for pleasure make you feel any more vulnerable?

Although, maybe, most men really don't like sex after all. Some of those who don't fuck to satisfy their sense of power, and don't care about the woman that much, so long as it is a woman he's demeaning. The others just desperately need a sense of relief, and don't have an actual desire for a mutually pleasurable experience.

Current Mood: amused amused

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