A lot of sex education focuses on teaching people how and when to say “no” to sex. They’re told they should say no:
- Until they’re married
- Because they’re too young
- When they’re not in love
- If they’re having sex for the wrong reasons
- Whenever anyone is putting pressure on them to say yes
However, sex educators rarely tell people when they should be saying “yes” to sex, or even mention that saying yes to sex is something they can choose to do do. That can lead to the unfortunate and dangerous misconception that sex is something that just happens unless you say no to it. It contributes to what is often described as “rape culture.” Saying a clear “no” can be hard for a number of reasons, and when people believe that sex is a go unless they hear “no,” that’s setting a much lower bar for consent than asking for a “yes.” Furthermore, it puts the burden on the person who doesn’t want to have sex to refuse it, rather than requiring the person who does want to have sex to ask for it. In a better world, people wouldn’t have sex because nobody said no, they’d have sex because everyone said yes.
Here are some ways you can ask for consent:
- Can I ________ your _________?
- Want to try _________________?
- Would you like it if we _________?
- It would be a total turn on to ________. Are you up for it?
- Do you want me to __________ your ______________?
- Will you __________ my __________?
Asking these questions can be sexy, even downright erotic. Experiment with different ways to ask for a “yes.” Try these phrases out in Italian, or French if that’s your thing. Just be sure when you ask it, your partner speaks the same language. Comprende?