Practicing Everyday Non-Sexual Consent
What is consent?
The term “consent” means to agree to something. When we think of consent, we often think of it in the context of sexual activity. Consent does not just apply to sexual consent. Practice consent by making it part of your everyday life, not just in the bedroom. Asking for consent is about setting boundaries and respecting the boundaries the individual sets.
Practicing everyday consent is also a great way for kids to start practicing consent and getting more comfortable asking for consent and navigating these conversations. Practicing everyday consent as kids, makes an easy transition to using consent in adulthood. As they grow up and are ready to engage in safe sex, having conversations around sexual consent would feel more normal and less uncomfortable. When we start with everyday consent, consent then becomes part of our everyday life and respecting and establishing boundaries, and less about something we need to do in order to perform a certain act or to get something we want.
Here are some ways to practice everyday non-sexual consent:
- Ask consent before touching someone. Do not assume that the individual is okay with you hugging them, for example. A simple “can I hug you?” works. If the person does not consent, respect their boundaries.
- Ask for permission before borrowing an item. Just like sexual consent, this does not mean it’s a blanket yes for all future interactions and items.
- Ask for consent before taking someone’s photo.
- Ask for consent before posting a photo, or other types of media, of someone else on social media.
- Ask consent before sharing personal information about someone else. A friend may confide in you about how they are feeling, it is important to get consent from the person before sharing that information to someone else.
- Ask for consent before giving unsolicited advice. A friend may confide and it is normal to want to help by giving advice. However, this may not be welcomed. Try asking “do you want me to listen or do you want advice?”
-Cassie Cole, RSW