‘Consent Is Mandatory’ And Other Things We Are Responsible For Teaching Young Men

Chiara Cremaschi
Chiara Cremaschi

Most guys would say that sex should only happen if both parties are in agreement, but what about the steps leading up to sex? After having consent drilled into their brains for years, you would hope the product would be a generation of respectful men in the bedroom. As we know, that’s not always the case.

What some guys don’t seem to realize is that consent doesn’t just mean sex. There must be consent for all sexual actions taken between two people. Now I’m not saying you have to ask literally every time you round a new base, but when someone completely ignores words or body language, we have a problem.

First off, I want to say that when you are transparent with your boundaries, you’ve done your part. Whether it’s in the beginning or the middle of an encounter, you always have a chance to say no. When you say, “We aren’t doing xyz” and he says “why not” or “come on it’ll be fun” that is not an appropriate answer. If you say no, you are not obligated to give anyone a reason why.

I struggle with the piece of advice I just shared. When I’m up front about my limits, I always find myself being questioned and having to explain myself. I’m usually made to feel silly about my decision to not engage in particular activities. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “If you’ve done it before then what’s the problem?”

I’m not sure where guys got the idea that it’s okay to try to coax and manipulate girls into going along with their sexual agenda.

Just because you didn’t actually force a girl to have sex with you, doesn’t mean that you respected her boundaries.

I shouldn’t have to physically cover my vagina while you thrust around it. I shouldn’t have to say, “Stop, that hurts” while you ignore my plea. I shouldn’t have to swat your hand away multiple times when I say I’m just not ready.

I have thankfully never been raped but why have I left a handful of my encounters crying, feeling shaken up and violated? Why do I constantly blame myself for the way these experiences played out? Maybe I should have been more aggressive. Maybe I should have gotten up and left. Maybe I shouldn’t have gone home with him in the first place. All of these thoughts plague me daily and are always in the back of my head. When I meet a new guy, my first thought is always if he will treat me like the others, which is really sad.

I can’t help but think if this repeatedly happens to me, how many other women are facing the same experiences?

I’m sure many women have experienced something similar to what I just shared.

In the hookup culture we live in, we have to continue to educate our young men about what consent truly looks like. They need to know that it’s not just about sex. It’s about everything leading up to sex as well. We also need to remember as women, that we have the power to control a situation that isn’t benefiting us and we shouldn’t feel guilty or embarrassed to speak up. And if in the unfortunate situation we lose control, we need to remember that it certainly wasn’t our fault. TC mark

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