A conversation about consent
There is no sex without consent. In a conversation about sex, it's therefore crucial to also talk about consent. It's important to understand and familiarize yourself with what it entails, since without a concrete understanding of consent, you may risk violating other people's boundaries.
The new consent law
Our new consent law in Denmark, which went into effect on January 1st of 2021, now states by law that it is a requirement that there be consent before sex (Ministry of Justice, 2020). The requirement for consent before sex is new by law, but not in society, where there has long been a need for a law that reflects how sex should and needs to take place. A law that recognizes consent as fundamental to having sex. Unfortunately, we live in a society where many people's boundaries are violated in relation to sex, so the new consent law and a concrete understanding of what consent entails is therefore essential for us to see a change in our society.
There are many ways a person can give consent. Yes and no can be said or expressed in many ways that does not involve words (Sex Only With Consent, n.d.). Consent is not just something that can be given with words. It is also expressed in one's body language and one's actions, such as with certain touches or engagement (Sex Only With Consent, n.d.). Sex must be voluntary and stem from desire, and therefore it's also one's responsibility when having sex with others, to create a safe environment and make sure that both parties want to have sex. If you are unsure if your partner is interested, perhaps they seem nervous, confused or uncertain, then it's your responsibility to ask. It is also important to understand that consent can be given and withdrawn at any time. It is not a contract, it's about boundaries and desires that must be respected and they can change at any time and are different from person to person.
In relation to consent, it's really just about listening to the person you have sex with, what they express via actions, words and body language. If you listen to each other, a yes and a no suddenly become very clear, regardless of how it is communicated.
This article was written by Luna María Ziirsen-Aineto, who is studying for a Master's degree in Gender Studies in the Czech Republic, in Prague
Folketinget vedtager ny samtykkelov (17. december 2020), Justitsministeriet
Sex? Kun Med Samtykke. (n.d.). Ligestillingsafdelingen, Beskæftigelsesministeriet. https://kunmedsamtykke.dk/