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Sex Talk: Consent is not just sexy, it’s necessary

This week, I am going to talk about something very close and personal to me. I may get excited or even angry but only because I am passionate about this topic.

We’re going to talk about consent. For some, this might become a triggering topic to read about, so this is a warning before you continue.

I have been meaning to write on this subject for months and have been trying to gather all that I want to say about it. I know too many people and close friends who have been victims of sexual assault, and as you know as a student at Ohio State, there have been too many emails from the university containing such reports.

It honestly pains and embarrasses me that this kind of rape culture still exists at this institution of higher learning, not to mention thousands of others. That it exists at all should be taken as a personal offense to all of us.

For those who may not have heard the term “rape culture” before, or are confused by it, here is a brief explanation. Simply, it is any cultivation of thinking that blames the victims of rape, normalizes sexual violence and treats people as objects of sex rather than as individuals who deserve respect. It is especially prevalent on college campuses, unfortunately.

Here’s the thing — you need to get consent every time and no matter what. I don’t care about genders. And by “get consent,” I mean ask in a full sentence if they want to have sex, and the other person must say “yes.” An absence of a “no” is not consent, so don’t assume that the other person wants it, not even if you have been in a relationship with them for years. Being in a relationship does not mean consent is a given.

Though it is true that the majority of sexual assaults are perpetrated by men onto women, it is by far not the only situation in which it happens. If someone in a pairing has any kind of upper hand, that person needs to check in with the other. And I mean every time you want to take another step, not just once at the beginning, especially if you don’t know the other very well.

Each time you want to go further, check in with them that it is still OK. If you do not receive an enthusiastic yes, then stop and say something like, “We can just kiss and cuddle and stop.” Make your partner feel safe to change their mind.

This should be common knowledge by now, but if someone has been drinking heavily, they legally cannot consent to sex, even if they say “yes.”

If I hear one more time that asking consent “takes the fun out of sex,” I will literally scream. Anyone who legitimately thinks that is admitting that they care more about their own libido than they do about other people’s lives or well-being, and there is nothing else to it.

Think about it: Politely asking for consent is not only the right thing to do, it also only takes three seconds! I’m really getting tired of this constant debate that seems to be going on — just ask for consent!

I know that I might sound accusatory, but it’s only because we should be far past debating whether consent is required, and I am frustrated. Remember the golden rule from first grade? Treat others like you would want to be treated! If you don’t want to be treated like a voiceless meat puppet, then don’t treat others that way.

No one owes anyone sex. Ever.

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