Commentary | Consent is fucking sexy

Re: “A totally consensual society would have perverse consequences” | Letters | January 24

To Mathew Powes,

Concerns about the applicability of consent in interpersonal relationships are extremely valid – this isn’t something we’re taught how to do, let alone conceive of.  In the media, the prevailing message is indeed, as you say, that “one of the basic and fundamental structures of human relationships” is this kind of mutual telepathy shared between two people who are “close enough” know each other’s thoughts and feelings. I don’t know about you, but I can’t know exactly how my partners are feeling in any given scenario. The only way I can know is if I ask. Some people talk, others gesture, others have safe words or rankings (on a level of one to ten – pants or no pants?) Whatever your strategy, it’s important to communicate.

But do we communicate in order to “legalistically” request sexual favours from our partners? Not exactly. This is not about the law or the penal system. When we talk with your partners, it’s not simply to avoid jail time! Asking for consent is about making sure our partners feel comfortable and we can all have the safe, fucktastic sex lives we want to have.

And it doesn’t have to be awkward. In fact, what’s more uncomfortable: asking your lover if they’re actually enjoying themselves, or waking up the next morning and being told that they felt disrespected or uncomfortable about what happened the night before? I would argue that feeling comfortable enough to ask is one of the most intimate things you can share with a partner – and not the opposite. In truth, for most folks I know, being asked how they feel is actually a turn on!

You say, “if you really desired your lover, you would not hesitate by asking.”  I say if you really respected your lover, you would not hesitate to ask.

Al Blair

U3 Environmental Studies and Women’s Studies


Comments posted on The McGill Daily's website must abide by our comments policy.
A change in our comments policy was enacted on January 23, 2017, closing the comments section of non-editorial posts. Find out more about this change here.