Sexual Health Week 2018: Consent

It’s Sexual Health Week 2018!

Hurrah! Let’s celebrate. Wait, what? What does that even mean? Precisely. We all think we know what the big deal is when it comes to taking care of our sexual health but in reality, how much do we really know? Well fret ye not friends, as the folks at Hot Octopuss have teamed up with sexual health charity FPA to help raise awareness. Cheers guys.

This year’s theme? Consent.

No surprise there, right? It’s a pretty hot topic at present given the whole #MeToo movement, the sex ed in schools debate, amongst other things, to name but a few. Oh and judging by the research released by the FPA, it’s pretty clear that we’re all in dire need of education where consent is concerned.

Image result for consent gif

So what actually is consent?

Let’s go over to Dictionary Corner for this one. The actual definition is: “permission for something to happen or agreement to do something”. It seems pretty black and white. Essentially, consent is the green light for anything or everything to be said or done. No green light? No go. Simples. You would think…
However, the sexual health charity FPA took it upon themselves to survey 2000 people about their general attitudes towards consent and let’s just say that some of the results noted from said survey were pretty concerning:

Just under half of those surveyed (47%) did not think it was OK to withdraw consent if they were already naked.

Only 13% of people said they would be most likely to discuss issues of consent with a partner.

9% of people don’t think it is OK to withdraw consent if they have been bought dinner/drinks, or if they have previously engaged in other sexual activity with a person (i.e. kissing, previous sex, getting naked together)

Erm, what? Sorry but no matter what the interaction is, at what stage you are, whether or not you’re close to 2-becoming-1, it is ALWAYS okay to withdraw consent. It doesn’t matter what the reason is. Perhaps your mind has been changed, maybe you’re feeling pressured, or even just uncomfortable, the reason is irrelevant because it’s your choice to give consent. That should always be respected, no matter what the circumstances. End of discussion.

What do we need to learn about consent?

We need to learn that it is perfectly okay to say no. 

Well, in my opinion, it’s high time we all stopped beating around the bush about what’s right and what’s wrong because, in reality, we all know the answers without giving it much though. We know that it’s okay to say no to someone where sex and consent is concerned. We might feel uncomfortable in doing so, or even nervous, but that doesn’t make it not okay. People – men and women alike – need to understand that it is their choice as to whether or not they consent to any interaction.

We need to understand that sexual activity is done WITH someone, not TO someone

Sex is a two-way street, unless you’re preference include multiple people in which case that’s a story for another day but the rule still applies. Sexual activity should be an enjoyable, pleasurable experience with both parties totally involved. The grey area (and other trouble) begins to appear when one party isn’t really involved anymore. Remember, there is a line not to cross. Sexual activity should be done WITH someone, not TO someone.

We need to realise that factors can influence someone’s capacity to consent

If you’ve had one or seven wines, chances are your decision making skills (and fine motor skills for that matter) aren’t as up to scratch as they would be if you were stone cold sober. Do you think walking down the street covered in glass with no shoes on was a good idea after a night out? No. Would you have done it sober? No. See how factors can influence your decision making? So it comes as no surprise that consent may be blurred if there are influencing factors, and I’m not just talking about alcohol. Others may include peer pressure or drugs, for instance, but all of which can severely influence someone’s capacity to consent, so be aware.

And finally, seeing as this week is Sexual Health Week, Sex Toy brand, Hot Octopuss will be writing and talking about consent over on the hashtag #SHW2018 so join the chat. You never know, you might learn something.

Hot Octopuss are also offering a 20% discount on any of their products – PULSE III, the Queen BeeAtom cock rings and Pocket Pulse – if you use the code FPA20 – 5% of sales will go directly to sexual health charity FPA! 

In short, just do the RIGHT thing. Consent is simple. If it’s not a yes, it means no.

Psst! There is also a lot more information on the FPA website, including information on consent and the lawconsent and intoxication and much more.

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