Beyond Consent Is Sexy
Practicing consent in everyday situations
People typically associate consent with sexual situations, and while consent is an absolutely necessary part of any sexual interaction, its importance extends beyond that. At the most basic level, consent is about permission. To practice asking for consent in situations where another person will be affected is a powerful recognition of someone’s right to make their own decisions about themselves. By making small everyday changes, we can begin to move our communities towards a culture that is based on consent and mutual respect.
Here are some ways to incorporate consent in daily life
When you’d like to borrow something — If a roommate offered a drink from their stash once, it’s not necessarily an open invitation to take one any time. Have a conversation about what items are communal and when permission should be asked for.
Before touching someone in a non-sexual way — Different people have different levels of comfort with physical touch, and it’s important to be aware and respectful of personal space when interacting with others. Work on not relying on touch to get someone’s attention, and learn to ask if someone would like a hug or high-five before going in for one.
When making group plans — When planning an outing with friends and proposing changes, ask everyone involved if they are okay with it.
Through photos —Ask permission before taking a photo and before posting the photo online or tagging someone in a post on picture.
With kids — Reinforce the concept of boundaries with kids by asking before you hug, tickle, or pick them up, and pay attention to their body language and comfort levels. If they say no to a hug or to other physical interactions with an adult or child, respect their choice. Remind the children in your life of their bodily autonomy.
In difficult conversations — Don’t pressure someone into a conversation. If someone seems uncomfortable with a topic — shifting their body language, looking away from you, tensing up, shortening their answers or speaking in circles — check in with them. If they want to move on, move on.
Including consent in everyday conversations helps normalize it and makes it easier for those boundaries to be expressed and respected — both in sexual and non-sexual situations. Together, we can make a safer culture for all.
Further Resources from Uplift
- What is Consent? [Video]
- Recognizing Abuse Online and Off: A guide for parents
- Respect, Safety, Cosplay
Uplift is dedicated to combating sexual abuse in fandom spaces through education and advocacy. We work to ensure that these flourishing communities are safe for the millions of people who connect through them. Learn more at uplifttogether.org.