THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AGREEING TO SEX AND CONSENTING TO IT
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AGREEING TO SEX AND CONSENTING TO IT
Did you know there is a difference between agreeing to sex and consenting to it? Do you know you can agree to sex but not consent to it? This article identifies the difference between agreeing to sex and consenting to it.
It is tempting to believe that consent is saying yes and denying consent is saying no. Consider understanding the constitutes consent. Voluntary informed consent means giving active permission for something to happen. Giving permission and agreement are two different things, and agreeing to have sex does not mean consenting to an entire sexual experience because consent can be withdrawn at any time during sex, while the agreement only initiates it. You can agree to something against your will, and consent requires a good understanding of the consequences of an action based on the information provided. In contrast, an agreement on something doesn't necessarily require a good understanding.
What is Consent?
Beres (2007) stated that sexual consent is an agreement to engage in sexual activity. Before being sexual with someone, you should be sure if they are willing to be sexual with you. Be honest with your partner about what you want and don't want. Consenting and asking for consent are about setting your limits, respecting your partner's boundaries, and checking if things are clear. You and your partner should always agree to sex every other time to be consensual.
Sexual activity, including genital touching, and oral and vaginal sex without sexual consent, is sexual assault or rape. Consent is as easy as this:
- Freely given – Consenting is a choice you make without manipulation, pressure, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Reversible – Anyone can change their mind regarding what they feel like doing, anytime, even if you have done it before and both are naked in bed.
- Informed – You can only consent to something if you have the full story. For instance, if a partner says they will use a condom and don't use it, there isn't full consent.
- Enthusiastic –you should do what you want, not things you feel you are expected to do for sex.
- Specific – Saying yes to one thing does not mean you have said yes to others.
You decide what happens with your body. It doesn't matter if you had had sex before or if you said yes earlier and then changed your mind. You can say stop anytime, and your partner should respect that.
Consent is never implied by your past character, how you dress up or where you go. Sexual consent is always clearly communicated, and there should be no question. Silence is not consenting, and it's not only important the first time you are with someone. Couples who have had sex before or been together for a long time also need to consent before sex.
There are laws regarding who can consent and who cannot. People who are high, drunk, or passed out can't consent to sex, as Yoffe (2013) stated. There are also laws protecting minors from being pressured into sex with an elder.
The age when one can consent to sex is how old an individual needs to be to be considered legally capable of consenting to sex, as Lyden (2007) stated. Adults who have sex with someone not the age of consent face jail time and are registered as jail offenders. The age of consent varies in the different U.S.A and different countries. There are likely other laws that define the age of sexual consent.
What's Sexual Assault and what's Rape?
Rape, sexual assault, and sexual abuse can have different legal definitions. Rape, sexual assault, and sexual abuse are forms of violence where there is sexual contact without consent, including vaginal or anal penetration, oral sex, and genital touching.
The legal definitions of rape and sexual assault differ. Some people use these terms interchangeably, whereas others define them differently. People often use the term sexual assault to refer to non-consensual sexual contact and use the term rape to mean sexual contact that includes penetration.
Anyone can be a victim despite their gender, sexual orientation, or age, but particular groups are more likely to experience sexual assault than others. Subhrajit (2014) noted that women, especially those of color, LGBT-identified people, and people with developmental disabilities, are more likely to experience sexual assault throughout their lives.
The law protects people in certain situations who are not considered able to give consent, although they say yes. For instance, a person is not able to give free or voluntary if they are:
- Asleep or unconscious
- Affected by alcohol or other drugs
- Mistaken of the nature and purpose of the act
- Mistaken for the identity of any other person involved in the act
- ● Unlawfully detained at the time at which the action takes place
- A person with a physical disability that prevents them from giving consent
- If someone consented on their behalf
Sexual violence does not happen in one single way. There doesn't necessarily need to be a weapon involved, and the victim doesn't need to have fought back, screamed, or said no for it to count as rape or sexual assault. Most sexual assaults don't happen by unknown people in the dark alleyways. Often, it's someone the victim knows well or even a romantic partner. However, if a person you know has experienced such violence, you are not alone, and help is available.
Suppose your decision to have sex with a person might have been a refusal, but instead, they intentionally failed to disclose a significant piece of information. In that case, you may have agreed to have sex, but the sex was not consensual. For example, if one removes a condom during sex without informing their partner. It may be categorized as rape because the sex may have been agreed to, but it wasn't consented to. The difference between agreements may seem petty, but such subtleties need to be examined if people's knowledge of consent will be complete. Contest against sexual abuse like rape to help save lives.
Beres, M. A. (2007). 'Spontaneous' Sexual Consent: An Analysis Of Sexual Consent Literature. Feminism & Psychology, 17(1), 93-108.
Lyden, M. (2007). Assessment Of Sexual Consent Capacity. Sexuality And Disability, 25(1), 3-20.
Subhrajit, C. (2014). Problems Faced By LGBT People In The Mainstream Society: Some Recommendations. International Journal Of Interdisciplinary And Multidisciplinary Studies, 1(5), 317-331.
Yoffe, E. (2013). College Women: Stop Getting Drunk. Slate, October 15.