Consent is critical to any sexual relationship, whether it be a long-term marriage or a Thursday night session of “Netflix & Chill.” The problem, however, is that until now, consent has been made to seem like a dry and boring topic — something necessary, but also a possible mood killer. How sexy is it really to stop in the middle of sexual congress to say “are you willingly engaging in the act of coitus with me?”
But f*ck that noise because here’s what’s up: Consent. Is. Important.
First things first, though: Considering that consent has always been important, why are we talking about it so much and so openly now? It could be because of the incident that occurred in Steubenville, Ohio, where an unconscious teen was sexually assaulted by two football players. It could be because 2015 stats from a report by the American Association of Universities found that 21.2 percent of college seniors (surveyed across 27 campuses) reported non-consensual sexual contact. It could be because now, more than ever, male survivors of sexual assault are being called forward to tell their stories. It could be because revenge porn is affecting both celebrities and everyday people. And it could be that even those people who have survived their initial forays into adulthood don’t really know what consent truly is, how to ask for it, and what the laws surrounding it are. That’s why laws like “Yes Means Yes” — which focus on prevention and education, as well as promoting “enthusiastic consent instead of just ‘no means no'” — are becoming more and prevalent. And it’s all leading to a discussion of consent that’s open, frank, and honestly, even mood-making.
Don’t believe it? Check out FCK YES, a new video series that explores ways in which couples can incorporate boundaries and negotiation directly into their foreplay. The first episode’s all about protection — what do you do when neither of you has a condom? — and showcases exactly how a couple might navigate the tricky subject of obtaining the proper equipment for their night of passion while respecting each other’s limits.
Here’s the first episode, which is only somewhat NSFW and, while cheesy, may even be a little bit of a turn-on:
The series, which aims to show exactly what enthusiastic consent looks like, according to its creators, also wants to make one thing clear to couples: consent is both part of the sexual experience and can change at any time. As Elisabeth Aultman — co-creator of the videos — told Bustle: “We also hope to demonstrate that a ‘yes’ is not an object, it’s not a check mark on a to do list, it’s not a signature on a contract — it’s a play in a team sport where winning is defined by everyone having had a good time.”