Consent is vital even within loving relationships

Sexuality is about the personal choices we make to explore our sexuality both alone and with a lover. The way in which we express our sexuality should show consideration towards others. Anyone may decide to remain a virgin or to be celibate. Everyone has the right to make their own sexual decisions without undue coercion from another person. We need to respect other people’s sexual decisions. Sex should be a pleasure not an obligation.

Men are typically stronger than women and children. So the law protects these two groups. Most societies have laws that make it illegal for children under the age of 18 to engage in sexual activity (either with an adult or another under-age person). Sexual scenarios are very different for a woman, especially if she is inexperienced or with a new partner.

A sex education needs to explain sexuality in a coherent and consistent way. We need to explain how intercourse can equate to lovemaking on one occasion and rape on another. A person’s response to stimulation cannot depend on the attitude of the person supplying it. Date rape, for example, is usually an acceptable form of intercourse. So why do women object so vehemently? And why are men so desperate that they need to drug women?

Even though men always have to initiate sex, they still believe that women want it. When you want something badly enough, you can convince yourself of anything. It’s difficult for women to understand because there’s nothing they need that badly. We all depend on air to breath, water and food but these things don’t depend on another person’s cooperation. Sex involves a man feeling free to explore a woman’s body unless she objects.

One of the issues with the concept of consent is that women tend to passively accept sexual activity that men initiate. Sex is primarily a male pleasure. A woman’s enjoyment of intercourse depends on a man’s attitude. A woman needs relationship factors, which operate at the beginning of a relationship when she is in love. They may also work if a woman obtains relationship rewards that compensate her for providing sex.

A man may realise that women are unenthusiastic about sex because of the way women behave. As long as this lack of enthusiasm goes unacknowledged, a man can continue to obtain intercourse from a woman on the assumption that she does not object. Many women are far from enthusiastic about sex but they rarely object explicitly. Given women are not aroused with a lover, intercourse represents the easiest way to satisfy a man’s sexual needs with minimal engagement and effort for a woman.

A woman is assumed to have the maturity to understand the significance of sexual activity and the associated risks. A woman is expected to know that intercourse may result in her becoming pregnant if she doesn’t take precautions (use a contraceptive). A woman learns how she can use sex to obtain a man’s commitment to her. Men tend to be very willing to support a woman financially as long as they are getting regular intercourse.

Consent is not about responsiveness or even mutual pleasure. Women are not aroused by sexual activity with a lover at any age. But by the time they are adult, women have gained an appreciation of what they want from men. Consent is more about a person having the social maturity and life experience to understand the consequences of engaging in sexual activity.

An adult is assumed to have the experience, character and confidence that makes them capable of making their own sexual decisions without the risk that they have been coerced by a more forceful adult. An adult is assumed to have the confidence to stand up to another person putting emotional or physical pressure on them to do something they don’t want to do.

Traditionally intercourse has always been a fully condoned (even encouraged sexual activity) even by the strictest of religions because of men’s need for regular sexual interaction. An implicit assumption of marriage is that a woman consents to have intercourse with her husband. A man wants to establish his right to regular intercourse with his wife. A wife’s refusal to consummate the marriage may be grounds for annulment.

Regardless of her relationship status, a woman retains her rights over her own body, including what she does with it and what a lover can do with it. When it comes to our sexual decisions, we need do only what we are comfortable to do not what others (even a lover) tell us we should do.

In marriage the male more or less assumes that coitus is his privilege, and the law confirms him in this interpretation. (Alfred Kinsey 1953)