Consent has always been the most important part to sex, but in recent years, it has formed a focal point in education. While some people have (attempted) to argue it “kills a mood”, or “can be awkward”, here are five ways to ask for consent that can heighten intimacy as well as safety in the bedroom.
Before you even get to the bedroom, whether on a date, or texting a partner, discussing sex is a perfect way to set the mood – and your respective boundaries. Discussing what type of sex you’d like to have, the parts of your body you feel comfortable with being touched, and different things you would – or wouldn’t – like to try, clearly expresses the atmosphere you’re about to build.
Mind (and body) mapping
When the touching begins, holding your partner's hands over your body to discuss where and how you liked to be touched is a form of foreplay and consent in the same breath. Present to them a “map” of the best ways to indulge sex you will both find comfortable – while keeping a firm grip on your respective limits.
As the foreplay begins, so too does the need to ask before you give or receive. Dirty talking is key in this part, with consent easily forming titillating questions to check in with your partners. Phrases like, “would you be okay with me going down on you,” or “how would you like to try (insert here)”, open up a dialogue on the best way to proceed, while also ensuring both parties are happy with the acts being performed.
For penetrative sex, parties can often struggle with the shift in force and physicality. Having a constant communication about the ideal rhythm, depth and pace of penetrative sex can be said in simple terms – “go slower,”, “be gentler,” etc. When you’re unsure, never be afraid to say “let’s take a break” to ensure you’re both willing to keep going – and figuring out how to make it best for everyone.
Even the most in-depth conversations can still see us change our minds in the bedroom. Having a discussion with your partner about how your needs may shift when you’re in the throes of passion, and talking about them openly each time you try a new position, type of sex, or form of touching, keeps comfort and clarity at the forefront. It is always valid to change your mind, no matter how deep you’re into the act.