Consensual sex

The importance of consensual sex

What is consent?

Consent is permission for something to happen or an agreement to do something. It should be freely given, reversible, informed, enthusiastic and specific. To further elaborate, consent is clear, coherent, willing, and ongoing. The meaning of consent educates us that there should be clear and free communication between people about to participate in sexual activity.

What is not consent? 

Consent can always be confused with assent and acquiescence, and it is neither the two, even though they sound almost identical. Assent can be an agreement to something on the face of it, and this can’t be consent because a person should be well informed about what they are about to do and what is about to happen to them. Moreover, they should not be tricked into thinking yes when their real interest is to say no; when that happens, it is considered illegal and can be categorised into two terms: fraud in the factum and fraud in the inducement. And acquiescence, on the other hand, is an agreement under duress, and it can be in the form of manipulation, a person who is under drugs or the influence of alcohol, children under-age, an unconscious or asleep person or any other person who is a vulnerable position to speak for themselves. So that person boldly can not give consent. 

Why is consent important? 

By further explaining, when we say consent is clear, we mean it in the sense that it is expressed verbally or in actions that form mutual and understandable permission; there should be clear agreement. Coherent in the sense that a person, unconscious or intoxicated, cannot consent, all because when you are intoxicated, you can’t clearly make conscious decisions. Willing in the sense that the person giving consent is willing to do so and they are not under any form of manipulation or force. Ongoing in the sense that it is granted every time and should be obtained in each step of physical intimacy you ask the person you are with if they are comfortable as you proceed with your sexual activity. Therefore consent is important because it allows both parties to respect and understand each other’s boundaries. Non- consensual sex is sexual harassment, and it should be reported. 


To conclude, non-consensual sex is wrong because it undermines a person’s sexual autonomy, bodily integrity, and human right to decide what sexual activity they are keen to partake in, so asking for consent is significant in every aspect of intimacy. 

Thandiwe Nonkonyana


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