When is consent not consent?
In my new book, Polyamory: It’s Not Complicated, I tackle the ethics of what I’ve termed Informed Active Consent. But what exactly is consent and when is consent not consent?
Consent, as most people know, is when we say yes to something. Do you wanna fuck, yes or no? Do you wanna use a condom, yes or no? Do you want my best friend to join in, yes or no?
And we think that this simple yes or no is consent. But in reality, it is only the tip of the iceberg.
Consent isn’t really consent unless you know exactly what you are consenting to. Often, either out of shyness or manipulation, the person asking for consent will not reveal all aspects of the consent activity or will push the boundaries of the consent once given.
So when is consent not consent? It’s when you don’t use Informed Active Consent. It’s when you fail to inform, fail to answer questions, or otherwise withhold information.
Consent to have sex is not consent if you fail to inform your partner that you are HIV positive.
Consent to have sex is not consent when you quickly slip it in the back door when that was not clearly expected.
Consent to have sex is not consent when you are secretly video taping.
Consent of that nature is more like buying a used car from a shady dealer, and they minimize or hide the fine print to the contract you are signing.
Remember, consent is not just an ethical issue, but a legal one. Violating Informed Active Consent can, and should in most cases, land you in jail.
To read more about Informed Active Consent and your relationship rights, check out my book, Polyamory: It’s Not Complicated.