Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Consent 101

Planned Parenthood (cue dramatic, scary music) has released a series of four videos about consent in sexual relations. Aimed at young adults, the four videos explore different areas of consent and what it all means. I think they do an outstanding job.

The video link above shows all four videos, one after the other, and here’s a caveat: While some of the imagery may not be entirely appropriate for viewing in a public place, the language is pretty clean. Your opinion on both may vary. Fair warning.

What I thought was effective about the videos was that they were clear and straightforward, and managed to be clear and direct without being explicit in language or images. The use of same-gender (both male and female) as well as opposite-gender couples makes sure that the message about consent is clear for everyone, without ambiguity. Besides, young people these days just aren’t as squeamish about such things as my generation was.

A lot of people become pretty warped when talking about consent, confusing and conflating it with politics and/or ideology. What these videos actually talk about is far simpler than that: Respect. When people respect their partners, and communicate honestly with them, it’s easy enough to understand what is, and what is not, okay sexually.

This is the sort of subject that really shouldn’t need special videos to explain, because our conversations about sex and sexuality should already be open and honest. But we all know that the reality is that the need is clear, in part because of all those who, for personal reasons, want to shut down open discussion of sex and sexuality.

So, for some people, videos like these may be the best chance they’ll get to learn about consent, and so, to understand what it really means. That’s definitely better than nothing.

But these videos are really good, with or without open discussion.

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