Sexual consent is a topic that touches most college students, considering the pervasiveness of sexual activity on campuses. However, consent is not easily defined or uniform in its nature, depending on the relationship and the sexual preferences of those engaged in sexual activity. What can be defined as consent? For example, consent between a couple who has been in a relationship for many years may be completely non-vocal, consisting of reading body language in a manner only achievable with time. However, in instances when the two people may be close to perfect strangers, non-vocal consent may be leaving much too much to the imagination; without knowing a person, how can you possible know what they want in bed, if anything at all? In “Beyond Yes or No: Consent as Sexual Process,” Rachel Kramer Bussel contends that with consent should come vocal communication, or else “we are simply guessing” (44) what the other person wants. Beyond the issues of legality, Bussel ultimately argues that communication is instrumental in having better sex, not just consensual sex. And don’t we all want to be having better sex? Instead of agreeing, we should be shouting YES! Here’s to completely, enthusiastically, physically and vocally consensual sex.
Rachel Kramer Bussel. “Beyond Yes or No: Consent as Sexual Process.” From Yes Means Yes! Visions of Female Sexual Power & A World Without Rape edited by Jaclyn Friedman and Jessica Valenti. Seal Press: New York, 2008.