Q&A: Make the process of giving consent enjoyable

Mellisa Estebo, Contributing Columnist

Mellisa Estebo

“Why are people less willing to bond with one person than they were in other decades?” – Chris 

It’s not so much that people are less willing to bond with one person than they were in the past, it’s that it is more socially acceptable to express that desire now than it was several decades ago. When it comes to social norms, specifically social norms that deal with sexuality, people are less willing to go against the grain.

“I don’t like receiving (oral sex) or (manual stimulation). I never have. This makes my girlfriend very upset. It confuses all of my friends. What’s the big deal?” – Anonymous 

Again, this goes back to what is considered “normal” socially. People tend to automatically associate men with liking oral sex or manual stimulation, but that’s not always true. 

The porn industry hasn’t helped with this either. Porn films always portray men wanting oral sex, and no matter what the sexual activity, it always seems like the guy goes back to them. One can be assured that not all men like them, or they may like them to a varying degree.

Your girlfriend’s response is probably just a reaction to what she thinks is supposed to be normal. You should sit down together and talk about it. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised once you talk about it in an open, honest and healthy way.

“Should I be worried if my boyfriend doesn’t orgasm?” – Anonymous 

Actually, a lot of men don’t reach orgasm all the time; it’s a sexual myth that men always orgasm. If you think about reasons why you don’t always have an orgasm, chances are those are some of the same reasons for your partner.

“What counts as consent and what doesn’t?” – Anonymous 

The idea of getting consent is usually focused on getting a “no” response. This is important, but sometimes “no” is just not enough. More is needed for proper consent. It’s about getting a definitive, and sometimes enthusiastic, “yes.”

Enthusiastic consent is pretty simple – while “no means no” is important, getting a “yes” is even more important. The idea of enthusiastic consent is all about making sure that your partner is honestly into the sexual activity and you are getting clear signals that your partner wants the same. Saying something like, “Oh my god yes” is different than saying, “I guess if you want to.” 

Also, just because someone said “yes” earlier doesn’t mean that they can’t change their mind later on. If either partner says they no longer like what the other is doing, then sexual activity needs to stop. Partners should be checking with each other as they go along.

This doesn’t mean that you have to say things like, “Yes this is okay” or, “No this is not okay,” because that doesn’t exactly set the right mood. But consent can be sexy.

Saying things like, “That feels good,” and “Oh yes, I like that,” as well as listening to the moans and groans of your partner, are all great ways of giving consent, not to mention passionate.

The key is communication. There aren’t mixed messages when it comes to enthusiastic consent.  

Mellisa Estebo is a psychology sophomore and host of WRFL’s “Sexually Speaking.”

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