You’ve probably all seen the typical post about how consent in sexy and cool and the phrase “can I kiss you?” is way more attractive than any sudden surprise kiss.
And I agree, but I also acknowledge that consent comes in many forms and those words aren’t the end all be all of consent.
So, as someone who’s been in two relationships with differing levels of consent, let’s talk about it.
Obviously, everybody is different, consent changes for different relationships this is writing advice not life advice. Sit down and talk to your significant other if this is something that concerns you!
Kisses with consent are sexier. And not just because of the consent.
My first boyfriend would often kiss me suddenly and without consent (that isn’t the reason we broke up… but it definitely didn’t help matters), and they were awkward. Because here’s the thing, if I’m just minding my own business and suddenly someone else’s tongue is in my mouth well, my reaction is not going to be kissing back. It’s pulling away or awkwardly freezing.
Knowing what’s coming up, is helpful in a relationship.
At the start of a new relationship, verbal consent is key. Not only at the beginning but also during, if you’re going for a long kissing session, stopping for a second and asking, “are you still comfortable?” or “mind if we continue?” are useful.
But later on in a relationship these verbal cues fade. They don’t disappear, I still walk up to my boyfriend and say, “mind a kiss/hug?” but we do have alternatives.
For example, simply kissing the air in his direction is an easy way to initiate.
Looking your partner straight in the eyes and opening your arms up to signal the desire to embrace. (Warning can also end in raised brown and slowly walking away).
Touching one’s cheek if we’re already cuddling.
And many more!
We’ve been in a relationship for five years. We know each other and we know that these actions signal consent. New couples need to learn each other and their signs.
There are also things we do not ask consent for because it’s a given. For example, kissing on the cheek when my partner walks past me at the desk or comes up behind me while washing dishes. Hugging when we first see each other after a couple of days apart. Or many other numerous things.
Again, after five years together, I’m one hundred per cent comfortable with touch from my boyfriend, despite being kind of sensitive to it from anybody else (even handshakes and pats). Because of this, he has my consent, but I always have the ability to take it away.
And that’s perhaps more important than the initial consent itself! If I’m anxious because of an exam and touch sensitive, I know I can take back that consent, tell him to please not touch me. And he will. That’s more important than him asking in the first place, for me, personally.
Also, all of these points go two ways. Both parts of a relationship should be asking for consent. Consent is a two way road. Nothing can happen without TWO consenting individuals. (I mean, two or more or whatever, love these days fits no mold and I’m totally here for it).
As usual, check out my book, stories I’ve written plus other social medias: here.
Can you think of any other non-verbal signals for consent? I’ve only listed here one’s I experience but everybody is different!