Informed Consent: What you need to know!

by Eva Sless - 17 April 2016 - 44 Member Comments

There's been a lot written in the media lately about consent. What it is, what it isn't, and what it all means. We've had some lively discussions on some of our articles too, and it always seems to end up with someone saying something like “But how do you really know?” or “What if it's with a long-term partner?” or other such things, and the answer is actually really simple.

Consent, regardless of your relationship, your past experiences, even your past ten minutes, is ALWAYS needed and should ALWAYS be enthusiastic.

By this I mean it is time to stop the age-old saying of “no means no” because, although it is right, there is a lot more to it than that. 

It is more than No Means No

I mean sure, if someone says no then that should be it. No absolutely does mean no. But so do some yeses, or other forms of agreement.

Let me put it for you simply.

If someone is unsure, if they are umming and ahhing, then take it as a no. Don't push them. Don't try and convince them.

If someone is too drunk or high that they can't use both eyes to focus or are slurring their words, or even just looking tired and smashed, then they are not in their right faculties to be consenting to anything.

If you are using it as a bargaining tool – I bought you dinner, a gift, am nice to you – and expect that to lead to a yes, then that is forcing their consent through guilt.

If you are using it as an exchange – If you do this then I will buy you something, give you something, owe you something – and expect it to lead to a yes then you are forcing their consent through bribery.

Any time where you have to beg or plead, or try and convince someone, or make excuses and reasons as to why they should, or use any sort of emotional blackmail to get into someone's pants... Any time someone is unenthusiastic about spending time with you, where they are unsure, nervous and upset or unclear about what they want... Any of those times you have not gained full and proper consent and what you are doing can be classed as sexual assault.

There are plenty of ways you can avoid this. The best one is to listen, to communicate and to do it constantly.

Only YES! means Yes

The other thing about consent is it can be given and withdrawn at any time. If I say yes, I want to fuck you, and three thrusts in I decide I don't want to any more, I can withdraw my consent. I can say stop. And the person fucking me has to stop. I'm sure that would be very very frustrating... But that's actually beside the point.

Your frustration doesn't come close to my personal boundaries, and I don't even have to give you a reason. This goes for every single person on the planet, and any time, of any gender, in any situation.

Consent Communication

When it comes to that constant communication it doesn't even have to be that hard at all. “Is this okay?” is a great question. “Do you like this?” is another. 

Even asking “Do you want me to stop?” or  “Should I keep going?” are perfectly simple and reasonable questions that take no time at all and don't take away from the sexual enjoyment of the moment. 

In situations where immediate visual or verbal consent is trickier (like in BDSM play where someone may be gagged or bound or otherwise restrained) there are ways to “check in”with your play partner to make sure they are still on board with your play. There are safe words and actions and signals that are worked out with the players beforehand, and communication is always a huge factor in heavier play.

Consent in Relationships

Someone commented on an article of mine recently saying that “consent in relationships is murky.” I had to comment and disagree wholeheartedly. The thing is, it actually doesn't matter if you've been with someone for ten days or ten years, consent is consent. If you don't want to have sex with your partner then you don't bloody have to! If this is a source of frustration and unrest in your relationship then the first thing I would suggest is a damn good and long conversation about it. About your individual wants and needs, about your boundaries, your sexual fantasies, your own sex life as a couple. It's one of the most important conversations you can have with your lover. It's up there with how to budget and do you want kids in the “important discussions partners should have” table. And if you can't have that conversation with your partner then perhaps it's a good idea to talk to a professional who can help you learn to broach these topics. 

You do not owe anyone sex. Not your boyfriend or husband, not your girlfriend or wife, not the person you've been sexy snapchatting with all week. No-one. 

Consent Lesson

A friend of mine on Twitter once told me the lesson she gave her teenage sons, and it's one I repeat often. “When it comes to sex, do not accept anything less than an enthusiastic yes. Anything else is just short-changing not only yourself but the person you're having sex with.” 

And that's the crux really. Sex is fun, feels good and is good for you. But only if both parties are on the same page. And really, why would you even want to have sex with someone who doesn't really want to have sex with you? You're worth far more than that. And so are they.


44 Member Comments

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  1. JustLookin022

    More than a week ago
    Well written article, thank you well worth reading.
  2. FoxDenNswQld

    More than a month ago
    Couldn't have put it better ourselves.
    And, a 'minimum standard' here at FDR-Everywhere!
  3. justforfun558

    More than a month ago
    I think the key is to be "upfront" from the beginning. I guess at my age, I know what I like and I know what I don't like. I tell men upfront what is a definite no for me. Anything that is not a "definite" no can be explored further, but if it's a "definite" no, there is just no way I will do it or let him do it. At this stage in my life I am in control of things and I like it that way.
  4. Jessyj

    More than a month ago
    Thank you so much for this awesome article. It sure was very well worth the read. My favourite line "If you don't want to have sex with your partner then you don't bloody have to!" sure makes sense to me. The tea clip is superb!!
  5. Xerxces

    More than a month ago
    Its not rocket science. I have always known all this. Its common sense. I totally agree with everything you wrote and I hope people out there read this article and take note. Thanks for putting it on here.
  6. westcoastguy69

    More than a month ago
    Well..all i have to say is this...if the other party isent keen at all and not showing true lust and consent then it wont be much fun at all.i can only truly get off by the woman enjoying it so much .that keeps the snow ball rolling..
  7. FrankyJaye

    More than a month ago
    So love the tea analogy ... love the bit about changing your mind and about just because you did/wanted it last night.... so true ... in the past I have changed my mind and was made feel awful because of it.
  8. LadyDragon

    More than a month ago
    Your comment should have quotes: Contradicting opinions are "thought crimes".
    Regardless of YOUR OPINION, she is stating the legal ramifications and if you don't respect those, it's your life that will be damaged, along with the other YOU violated. Thankfully invaders like you were mostly lost in the medieval times and I have not met any like you and don't wish to. Weed them out in the text phase. Regrettably some women encourage you & your Neanderthal mates. They'll eventually find how limiting that behaviour is. Sad.


    More than a month ago
    Well said, m'lady!
  9. EmmelineP

    More than a month ago
    What a brilliantly written article! I've never before seen the issue of consent set out so succinctly!
  10. paddy138

    More than a month ago
    A typical womans view.


    More than a month ago
    Reads. Removes paddy138 from Hotlist. We must be synced DeliciousEva.


    More than a month ago
    I know right.
    How frivolous and hysterical are we who bear the majority of sexual assault.
    Must be on my period.
  11. 10inchTrouble

    More than a month ago
    This is a great article.
    As a guy, it's been interesting reconciling my desire for enthusiastic consent from my partner with the fact that sometimes partners will tell me that they're not sure if they want sex or not, and I should just start and see if they get in the mood. I've had this happen a few times, and each time I've not been comfortable enough with that answer to go through with it, but I probe them and that genuinely seems to be what they want. Or maybe it's what they've had in past relationships and it's what they've grown to expect? I'm not sure. This seems to be especially common in longer term relationships I've had, where we've grown comfortable with each other. However I think all consent should be enthusiastic, even in longer term relationships!
  12. forcemenow

    More than a month ago
    Great article, I couldn't agree more. I always have the conversation so that what's on and off the table is well understood before the games begin. There is no wondering, no confusion and no doubt about what's ok and what's not.
  13. AtomicCouple

    More than a month ago
    On AMM, we are looking for a yes. But that is often not enough. A virtual online kind of yes, can often mean "one day". It may mean I'd like to, but I'm too chicken to actually follow through. It may mean yes, however I failed to mention I haven't yet spoken to my partner. I've even had a no become a yes. They couldn't found the mythical female unicorn, so now would accept a couple. This time it was me to say, no thanks, we don't want to be a second rate after though. From experience an online yes needs to be accompanied by an enthusiastic "when shall we meet? " If you can detect maybe or one day between the lines, it's probably a no. Don't waste your time. I agree with this article : don't try to convince anyone. Either they are keen immediately or forget about it.


    More than a month ago
    I never have a "maybe one day" attitude but stilli t looks to me ppl think what your saying
    So how do I over come this mentally
  14. NoHarmInAsking

    More than a month ago
    Probably an enthusiastic YES !
    .....should I ever be asked.
  15. NLindsayfan

    More than a month ago
    "And really, why would you even want to have sex with someone who doesn't really want to have sex with you?" Unless you are a dyed-in the-wool narcissist, or an unmitigated control freak, that, Eva is the whole argument in one line. A well-written piece that deserves wider dissemination..
  16. newthings808

    More than a month ago
    I have never thought not to be upfront and honest, respecting the other parties wishes and lines that are not to be crossed, and I expect the same reciprocated. Isn't that a basic given, or have i missed a shift in community thinking?
    I thought everything over the 'line' was not just illegal, but morally reprehensible.
  17. allinmymind

    More than a month ago
    I think men project in some situations how they feel about fooling around, especially with married women onto the women. Or how some married ladies feel about it onto other married women and expect them all to be the same.

    I have had the situation where someone said I should go over the line to full on sex and come the time he said I wasn't enthusiastic and stopped and took condom off, I said I didn't want to go over the line in the first place, weeks before. No massage was going to fix that, and sometimes massages for "just do it" people are plain boring. Just because swingers parties sometimes have the format of massage to warm the women up doesn't mean it will work.
  18. jimel14

    More than a month ago
    Wholeheartedly agree - there is something very horny about knowing that, what you are about to do (or are doing is) is turning the other "on" ----- that they WANT you to do "such and such" - now!

    We find also - that such situations often hinge (swing ;-) on what might be called a "clarifying conversation" beforehand - to establish some trust and respect - and agreed boundaries. Here's the fun - coming to one of those boundaries and checking to find --- that "yes - I will step over and try that a bit....!"

    Consent is horny and sexy!

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