I can’t believe I’m really being asked to write a piece on consent in 2021, but 1 in 4 women are still being sexually assaulted so I guess some of you dudebros still aren’t fucking getting it.
This piece is inevitably going to be a bit heteronormative because I’m nominally straight (and walking proof that you don’t choose your sexuality, but I digress), so I can’t speak to the power dynamics in queer relationships, but I’ll do my best.
Think of it this way: I offer you a cookie. You say “yes please”, so I give you the cookie because you consented to the cookie. I make a damn good cookie by the way. But if you say “No thank you” I don’t give you the cookie, because you don’t want it. And I go find someone else to share the cookie with, someone who will appreciate the cookie, because it’s no fun eating cookies with someone who doesn’t want them.
It’s also a crime.
If I offer you the cookie and you say “yes please”, maybe you take a nibble, but then you put the cookie down and don’t seem keen to eat it? Maybe your body language changes, you seem a bit uncomfortable, avoiding eye contact, pulling away and not so enthusiastic? That’s cool, my cookies aren’t for everyone. Maybe you decided you weren’t hungry after all. I’m not going to force you to eat the cookie. I’m not going to guilt trip you into eating the cookie, because that would be a douchey thing to do (and also a crime). I’m just going to respect that you don’t want the cookie. Maybe I’ll have two cookies to myself. Nbd. I don’t want to eat cookies with someone who isn’t enjoying them, that would just be weird. And sad. And pathetic. I’d rather hang onto my cookies and go find someone who’ll appreciate them.
If it’s not a HELL YES to the cookie, go find someone who will give you a hell yes. You deserve it.
If you eat my cookie on Saturday night, it doesn’t mean you automatically want to eat my cookies every other night that week. Maybe once was enough. Agreeing to eat cookies once isn’t some kind of binding cookie contract wherein you get to force, guilt trip or otherwise coerce someone to eat your cookies at any other time.
If I offer you the cookie and you say yes but you’re so drunk you can’t stand up, and part way through eating the cookie you pass out, I’m not going to keep forcing you to eat the cookie. Passed out people don’t want to eat cookies. Passed out people need to be kept warm, and put in the recovery position. Forcing a passed-out person to eat a cookie is a crime. Eating cookies with someone who can’t stand up is a crime. Drugging someone in order to get them to eat your cookies? You guessed it! A crime.
Consent isn’t that fucking difficult.
No one owes you sex. No matter how nice you are to them. No matter how much money you spend on them. I don’t give a fuck if you pay for drinks, dinner, or a month’s worth of double shot lattes at Kahurangi. I don’t care if you spend $1000 on a hotel room with a hot tub, and they get naked and climb into bed with you. I don’t care what other sexy things they decide to do with you – they STILL don’t owe you sex. Under any circumstances.