'Please can I take this off you...?' Things are getting hot and heavy and you whisper this, in a manner so low it is barely audible. The lovely lady, who you have been giving the smooth lines for for quite some time, subsequently is so overcome with lust and want that she throws her underwear right in your face.
The night just gets better from there.
That was an instant of asking for consent. And being African we have so many ways to ask for consent. I have friends who go bad for a little totsi taal, some who are swayed by a little Swahili and others who cannot resist a little Zulu. I personally am impartial to some of that francophone swagger.
Asking for consent in whatever tongue can be hot as anything, especially when it becomes a fine art. It can ring a far cry from being a mood killer or a hindrance.
Consent and condoms are two of the things that have seemingly gained a bad rep as destroying the sexy atmosphere when people are trying to get it together.
All sexual acts must be based in notions of that ever present 'yes', from BDSM to good old missionary, group events to having your someone tickle your nether regions with their face. These are instances where nothing must occur without an omnipresent yes. One must note, yesterday's yes is now stale and tomorrow ' s yes is not ripe yet.
The 'yes' must streamed live.
The problem many have is that the constant checking in will ruin the mood.
However, the idea of consent being 'murky' is problematic seeing as the fact that, during this time of 16 Days of Activism, where violence against women is highlighted Sexual Violence is one of the most rehabilitating and prevalent forms of violence against women. And contrary to popular belief it is not random men who rape women, it is people they know and engage with and even people who they have had sexual relations with before.
The myth of the scary stranger is one that is perpetuated by the majority of sexual assaults take place in private spaces where the person has not had to break in, not stalked a random woman down but knew her. This makes one question the nature of private conversations about sex.
Consent and condoms are two of the things that have seemingly gained a bad rep as destroying the sexy atmosphere when people are trying to get it together. However, just like protection, consent is extremely necessary when engaging in coitus. Unfortunately, despite being an absolute necessity it is often tricky terrain to navigate without the right tools. Problems arise when things move forward powered by the heat of the moment, or signals given from before are interpreted as being the same signals as being given now. It is an issue that has been tackled before in pieces such as NanaDarkoaSekyiamah in the piece consensual sex or rape which shows how this can sometimes be a viewed as a murky area.
Checking in is a constant thing. Things can change at any given moment and any sexual encounter is always prefaced by one person wanting it more than the other. This will mean that one person may have more drive than the other to make things happen.
Shockingly, some people chose to avoid the consent conversation completely either using stale/old consent, registering consent 'during' the act or bypassing the whole process all together and simply forcing themselves onto another person which is rape. No two ways about it.
Stopping to ask for sex is supposedly the verbal equivalent of taking a cold shower or thinking of a family member in the midst of arousal. A way to kill passion. But this isn't the case. There are so many ways to ask someone to show you're the contents of their underpants. Asking 'can I touch you there?' as you trace their skin or even telling the person that they are delicious can you taste. If words aren't your friend then just go with less complicated 'want to get naked and do stuff? Sex stuff?'
Sometimes it's best to just keep it simple.
Yes, there is a way of doing it that is the worst. Going constantly 'is this OK? What about this? And this?' does not create a sexy atmosphere and, makes you seem needy. However, not checking in, even if they are consenting makes you a rubbish selfish lover, especially if you cannot read their body.
Whispering 'how does that feel?' or ' does this make you wet?' does far more than thinking you have it on lock because if you are that self-involved, chances are, you don't.
Furthermore moments of confirming consent are far sexier than the thought that at some point you did not ask whether someone wanted to see your genitalia and thus, possibly, they didn't. Imagine showing someone your sex bits and they didn't want to see them? If anything should kill an erection or dry you up like the Sahara it should be the idea that the person may not have wanted to do it, not that you had the decency to check they do.
One of the most sensual moments I have experienced during the deed was when someone whispered 'can I taste you?'
That moment of asking for consent was probably the hottest moment of the entire night.
Even when doing the physical, the verbal and cognitive plays an important part and can lead to some mind blowing. We can all grunt but humans have the gift of language so using it to confirm things are OK can be extremely erotic or even fun if it's silly. Never presume someone wants to see you naked/sit on your face/ have you inside them. Always ask.