Two In Three Canadians Don't Understand What Consent Means, Survey Finds, Because Some Think It Goes Out The Window When You're In A Relationship

The concept of sexual consent shouldn’t be a difficult one to figure out. At its core, it means you have the explicit permission of another person to engage in sexual contact with them, either you have received consent or you have given consent. There is no grey area. But despite this, some still struggle to figure out what consent really means. In fact, a recent survey by the Canadian Women’s Foundation has found that two-thirds of Canadians don’t completely understand what sexual consent means. That’s pretty scary.

As director of violence prevention at the Canadian Women’s Foundation, Anuradha Dugal, explained, consent consists of two parts. There are the initial verbal and physical cues that welcome the sexual activity and then there are the same cues that remain ongoing throughout, whether it is a one-night stand or a relationship. If at any one point, one of the parties feels uncomfortable, they will communicate it and the activity is to be immediately ended. That is consent.

So why is it so hard for two-thirds of Canadians surveyed to get the idea of consent? Well, for some, the thinking is once you’re in a relationship or married, consent goes out the window. Of the those surveyed, although 97 percent believe consent to be paramount with new partners, 10 percent felt it unnecessary when in a relationship ― because you can do whatever you want to another human being just because you’re married or something? Is it really possibly that people are thinking this? Obviously, it’s completely false.

No matter your age, gender, sexual orientation, or relationships status, consent should always be part of every sexual activity. Just because you are in a committed relationship with someone doesn’t mean you’re either entitled to someone else’s body nor are they obligated to perform at your behest. Relationships don’t mean there’s a free-for-all where voices are not heard and boundaries can be crossed without permission; that’s just not how it goes.

Consent isn’t complicated. There’s nothing to figure out, not math involved, and it certainly doesn’t require a Ph.D. in rocket science. Through the basic human action of communicating, verbally and otherwise, both you and your partner, no matter how long you’ve been together, can figure out what’s OK and what’s not … and one word, “NO,” can clear up any mild confusion. It really is that simple, and makes for a better sexual experience for everyone. Consent is sexy, like really sexy.

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