Planned Parenthood & Popular Dating Apps Want To Open Up A Conversation Around Consent For Sexual Assault Awareness Month
Consent is one of those things that feels like it should be incredibly obvious, but comes up again and again for discussion in our culture. Finding clearer boundaries around consent and making sure that people, especially young people, are educated is so important. But there are still a lot of questions about consent, probably because many of us didn't learn about it early enough.
Consent can be complex; It's not as simple as just whether or not wants to have sex with you — it's about a great interpersonal intelligence. It's important to learn how to read people, respect their feelings, and know to clarify if a person is comfortable when you're not totally sure. Too often, women feel that they have to go along with advances to not look "rude" or "prudish", which is such a damaging social pressure to have to deal with. People need to articulate how they feel, talk to partners and potential partners, and, of course, treat each other with respect.
That's why Planned Parenthood has teamed up with some of the biggest dating platforms out there to increase awareness about consent for Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Planned Parenthood is partnering with popular dating apps Bumble, Grindr, Hornet, and OkCupid to highlight the importance of consent and help users open up a conversation through social media, videos, and digital resources.
“At the federal level, we’re seeing increased support for ineffective abstinence-only programs, and we know that too many young people aren’t getting the sex education they need to stay safe and healthy," Julia Bennett, Director of Learning Strategy on the Education team at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, tells Bustle. "People deserve sex education that includes consent and healthy relationships — like the sex education that Planned Parenthood affiliates around the country provide —starting well before they become sexually active. Dating apps and online platforms reach millions right on their phones, and for people who didn’t receive the sex education they deserve, they can help provide users with vital information about their bodies and about sex and relationships."
The partnership will also point individuals toward some of the amazing resources that Planned Parenthood already offers, including their online video series that tackles important sex education issues. Dealing with topics like, "How Do You Know If Someone Wants To Have Sex With You?", ""When Somebody Definitely Wants To Have Sex", and "When Someone Doesn't Want To Have Sex", these videos are covering everything from a basic overview of consent to the trickier moments. As Planned Parenthood notes, dating apps have the unique advantage of being able to disseminate information to millions of users, so it will be exciting to see how they'll do that.
But it's also important to remember that consent doesn't only matter to people who are single or newly dating — consent matters in long-term relationships as well. It's an issue that always needs to be present and the discussion is something that keeps going, no matter how long you're together. "In an ideal world, how consent looks in a relationship, especially around sex, is an ongoing communication," NYC-based relationship coach, Effy Blue, tells Bustle. "It's not about 'can I do this to you?' ... it's an ongoing dialogue about sex and sexuality and boundaries and desires."
In the wake of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, we're finally engaging in a wide-spread dialogue about consent. But in some ways, it's also a reminder of just how far we still have to go. Planned Parenthood teaming up with major dating apps has the potential to reach a huge range of people. And Sexual Assault Awareness Month is a fitting time to dive into issues around consent because, unfortunately, there are still too many questions.