Informed Consent: What you need to know!

by Eva Sless - 17 April 2016 - 42 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The other thing about consent is it can be given and withdrawn at any time.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.


42 Member Comments

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  1. FoxeysDenNSW

    More than a week ago
    Couldn't have put it better ourselves.
    And, a 'minimum standard' here at FDR-Everywhere!
  2. Logan.J

    More than a week ago
    Scenario. Drunk women talking fmf sex, one thing leads to another. Ladies are playing next minute guy is fucking unicorn without asking if this ok unicorn is drunk and thinks meh then wakes up next morning and thinks wtf have I done. She was married with 2 kids and the couple that fucked her knew this. Consent given or drunk women taken advantage of.
  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!


    More than a month ago
    Why should it be in "scare quotes"? I offered a different view on the issue of consent and was attacked by the "expert" and a conga line of pearl-clutching hens.
    Like you.
    Answer me this - does it turns you on when a man you're with asks you "Is this ok?"? Lol.
    Many here,including Eva S Less, have absolutely no idea how a D/s interaction works. Consent IS a murky issue when a girl wants not to know what happens next. No couple sit around in their underwear going through what's about to happen act-by-actually to establish consent for every move,stop being so Utopian&ridiculous. The real world doesn't work that way.
    The OP lays out her progressive, SJW-acceptable talking points around consent then gets her knickers in a twist when i make a contradictory argument.
    You (as well as others - I'm looking at you Expert) have actually not comprehended what I've said. Read it again.
    And try enunciating an argument without resorting to childish name calling.
    Anyone else note that it's only women that do this?
    Neanderthal man...slaying pussy since BC100000!


    More than a month ago
    Thanks for YOUR OPINION ladydragon.
    Enjoy the weeding.
    And the support of your little mate, Emmeline. Love your post Emmeline - profound& well-argued.
  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!


    More than a month ago
    Your not fooling anyone - we all know this is World Renowned sexual Expert, Eva S Less.
    Succinct? Expert took about a thousand words to say "Only yes means yes".
    Emmeline needs a dictionary.
  10. paddy138

    More than a month ago
    A typical womans view.


    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.


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


    More than a month ago
    Lol :D
    Good one Paddy... "Eva S less" is an intimacy expert dontcha know? Don't questionthe high priestess, she is the font of all sexual knowledge ! Bow or Pay!
    Contradicting opinions are thought crimes.
  11. TheKnave

    More than a month ago
    Informed consent... Hmmm,interesting concept.
    It doesn't square with the desire of a large majority of women to be taken/ravished/etc against their "will" by a dominant man (that they are into).
    A vast majority of men are all about loud,obviously,continual consent when fucking a girl. We like to hear her scream,moan,squeal. The louder the better.
    It's women who fantasize about rape,who get turned on by submission and having their consent taken away by a sexy,dominant guy.
    So who is this article actually aimed at? Rapists?


    More than a month ago
    Well... Looks like you've completely missed the point.

    Just a heads up. In BDSM play non consensual play is ALWAYS 100% consensual.

    Please do some research before making comments that make you look... Well... A little creepy.

    This article is aimed at people like you who don't seem to get it.


    More than a month ago
    Missed the point did I "Eva S less"? What exactly was your point - that consent is required to have sex with someone? Gee,thanks for the heads up, it's always nice to get the lowdown from an undisputed "expert" on issues I had no idea about.
    I think you should inform the authorities about this amazing new information, could be a real help to improve society.
    Especially as we're in the middle of an insidious "rape culture".
    Maybe you should do some research "Eva S less" - consent is a widely understood thing. Maybe you're rolling with a weird crew of sociopathic rapists where it's blurry.,I dunno.
    My point regarding many women's desire to be "taken" without explicit consent stands. You just completely missed it. Try harder next time.
    As for calling me "well...creepy" - nice SJW passive aggression right there for all to see.


    More than a month ago
    Eeeeuuuww, I agree, Eva - so creepy.

    I CERTAINLY have no fantasies about being dominated - I think this "man" needs yo have a good, long look at himself/


    More than a month ago
    Leo "lady"....trying to speak for all women and what they desire? Hilarious.
    Read my post again. Then try harder to refute my point instead of schoolyard name-calling.
    If you're capable.
  12. 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!
  13. 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.
  14. 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
  15. NoHarmInAsking

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

    More than a month ago
    Hi Eva,
    I'm glad you have written this article and hope it generates much discussion.
    My interest in the subject of the right to informed consent and bodily integrity relates to another field, medicine. It is the case that in Australia in the doctor patient relationship that there are no such rights. The Guidelines for Informed Consent allow the removal of consent with an opinion that the patient is suffering from anasognosia, and thus the right to bodily integrity is non existent. No means Yes.
    So I seek knowledge from an area where it is suggested that these rights are present, and the lines clear cut, though still struggle immensly when attempting to apply the principles from one relationship (sexual relationships) to the other (doc. patient).
    Once again, thank you for the informative article.
    kind regards


    More than a month ago
    Hi Soap.
    In the simplest terms... In my rush to leave the house for work...

    If someone is unconscious etc and cannot give consent, you are legally able to save their life... But it's illegal to have sex with them.


    More than a month ago
    Actually Eva they dont even need to be unconcious. Saying the word "no" to drugs/treatment that you know will do you harm constitutes an emergency, and the right to consent can be removed, and coercion and force can then be used. When I questioned one doctor on this she explained that this is possible as the term "emergency" is rather subjective.


    More than a month ago
    And this is why I am not a doctor.
    Thanks for the clarification.

    Luckily I know sex and consent.


    More than a month ago
    Just as an example. A person may give informed consent, though not be enthusiastic. After having been given an explanation as to why I need a limb amputated, I may sign a form giving my consent to the procedure, but I would hardly be enthusiastic about it. Though I give it with a perceived future benefit. Is this not also the case in sexual relations? I may give my informed consent to engage in certain behaviours which I am not necessarily enthusiastic about, with some perceived future benefit in mind?
    It is imo, worth examining these two sets of relationships with this in mind. What would be considered morally reprehensible in the area of sexual relations (no means yes) is accepted and lawful in the other.
    Personally I would have thought that a right to bodily integrity was universal, lest it not be a right.


    More than a month ago
    To be completely blunt and honest... You're missing the point.
    Your analogies aren't compatible and it's frustrating repeating myself.

    Sex and medical procedures are different. The way we react, respond and communicate are different. The way we interact with a doctor v a lover are very different. The "perceived benefits" are different.

    In your analogy it would be perfectly okay to hold down a distressed, and mentally incapacitated person and have sex with them if you believe you know better and are right... Because medical consent laws as stated above allows for that and can be absolutely necessary.

    It is never necessary in sex. Ever.

    So, I repeat, your analogies are incompatible.
    Watch the tea video. That's an analogy that works.
  17. 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..
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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!
  21. EngRose

    More than a month ago
    Good article and so true.

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