I’ve written about consent before but this (along with safe sex) is such an incredible and on going conversation. It’s important to know that everyone involved in sex is comfortable and feels safe and it’s also important to know about and practice safe sex. Our conversations about sex as a nation and a society seem to be very appalling so not only do I think it’s important to have these conversations about safe sex and consent between individuals but it’s also important to be having a larger conversation as well!
To begin though, consent can be messy – there’s more than just saying no (which can be uncomfortable) or saying yes. It’s a conversation, it’s checking in and making sure everyone is comfortable. And there are so many other ways to talk about and practice consent outside of the bedroom (and with people you’re not in a romantic and/or sexual relationship), something which Suzannah Weiss wrote about recently.
Safer sex is incredibly important because of issues like sexually transmitted diseases, infections, and unplanned pregnancy. And I say safer sex instead of safe sex because while things like birth control, condoms, etc aren’t 100% effective. Planned Parenthood is a massive help for not only answering questions about sex online and in their health centers but also offer a variety of services. (Although there are so many people eager to defund Planned Parenthood, something that doesn’t always work out in the best way.)
There are plenty of people who talk about sex in different ways:
- Sexplanations – Dr. Lindsey Doe
- Sex+ – Laci Green
- Sex, etc
- Scarleteen – sex ed for the real world
Plus, it’s also important to have conversations around sex and consent that doesn’t narrowly focus on straight cis couples. Having LGBT inclusive sex education is important and can mean healthier youth. Inclusive education shouldn’t be taboo and we shouldn’t be so terrified to talk about these topics!
As a whole, we seem to be really bad at having larger (and sometimes individual) conversations about sex and consent. Julianne Ross wrote about the 17 lies we need to stop teaching both boys and girls about sex (although there’s more to the conversation than the people who fit into gender binary). Plus, abstinence only policies don’t really seem that effective – Amanda Peterson Beadle wrote about how teen pregnancies are the highest in states with abstinence only policies and one study found that sex ed can actually help prevent teen pregnancy. Talking about sex with your kids can be awkward but it doesn’t always have to be that way!
I’m 100% behind consent in different contexts, talking about consent and sex, and having comprehensive sex education and accessible health care. I’m here for inclusive sex education and for people to understand what’s what with sex. There’s of course so much more that goes into this conversation.