The UK’s Attitude To Consent Raises Concerns

Discussions about consent happen all of the time. Many people wonder when it got so complicated, while others point out that the idea of having consensual sex isn’t actually as complicated as people seem to believe it is.

Man and woman having problems in their relationship

A recent survey showed that roughly half of people in the UK have issues with those who withdraw consent, as they don’t feel it is okay. It raises concerns about where the majority of people stand on the subject… so what is the general attitude and what can we do to change that?

Tea or no tea?

I remember a few years ago someone showing me an amazing video which helped to explain the whole conundrum some struggled with when it came to consensual sex. It, of course, did it in the most British way possible. That’s right, it uses a brew to help highlight when you should proceed and when it is time to stop.

You can view the full video below. It is a fantastic way to explain to people how consensual sex works, especially if they start complaining that it is too “complicated” now. Consent is a simple concept, it is just that people don’t always think to ask for it.

It highlights how easy it is to understand when we’ve received consent to continue, but many don’t like the idea of it. They complain that asking for it isn’t sexy. Thankfully, Kate Sloan addresses this. She compiled a list of 50 hot ways to ask for consent which I think you’ll find most enlightening. My personal favourite is “what are you in the mood for right now?” because it gets straight to the point and makes sure no wires are crossed.

Attitudes to consensual sex

The video above makes it pretty clear that people can change their minds about drinking tea. They can do the same with sex. They might feel like they want to fuck, but after a while they decide that, actually, they don’t want to now. You can withdraw from consensual sex at any time, and your partner should accept that you no longer wish to continue.

However, a recent survey from the Family Planning Association has shown that less than half think it is okay to withdraw consent if they are already naked. 47% believed it was fine, with the number dropping even more to just 39% of those between the ages of 14 and 17.

The survey went on to discover that, actually, a shockingly high number of people believe that you can withdraw your consent under certain circumstances. It seemed like things such as buying drinks, dinner, kissing, undressing, or even having had sex before meant that it wasn’t okay to withdraw for 9% of those surveyed.

It is a huge topic of conversation, but it seems we aren't talking about it enough
Original source: Giphy

Should we seek “no” or “yes”?

I am one of those people who believes that it isn’t enough to expect your partner to say “no” during sex if they don’t want it. Their body language might hint that they aren’t enjoying it or that they want it to stop, but waiting for the word is difficult because it might not happen. There are so many reasons why, but they may not speak up.

So instead of waiting for the “no”, why not wait for a “yes” instead? This year, Sexual Health Week is focusing on this very topic, stating that “consent is about more than saying ‘No’ to unwanted activity. It’s about listening, negotiating, and enthusiastically agreeing”.

A recent fuck buddy of mine showed that they were very much into the idea of enthusiastic agreement. The entire time they asked me if I was enjoying it and wished to continue. I then did the same for them. It made the entire kinky encounter feel very safe, and let me know that, if I did change my mind, that was okay. It was the sexiest I’d ever felt.

Asking for a
Original source: Tenor

Changing attitudes

It seems that the UK’s attitude towards consent isn’t where it should be. So many people were supportive of the tea analogy, and yet when it comes to sex, they are still confused. At any point, you can choose to end things, and that is acceptable.

So what can we do to change the attitudes towards consensual sex and what happens when you decide you don’t want sex? We’d love to hear from you. Let us know what you think by joining the discussion in the box below.

Lara Mills
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