The Difference Between Consensual and Non Consensual Sex
It is extremely important that you know the difference between consensual and non-consensual sex. You need to know the difference because it can greatly impact your future.
Consensual Sex is when a person willingly participates in having sexual relations with you. On the other hand, if you engage in sex activities with somebody who did not want to engage in sexual relations or did not agree to have sex that would be called Non-Consensual Sex.
If you are accused of having non consensual sexual activity, and you believed it to be consensual, you can use that fact as a defense in negotiations or trial. Even though the other person is claiming he/she did not agree to have intimate relations with you, consent can still be a defense to a claim of Rape.
What Is The Difference?
Consent, in terms of sexual relations, means that you are a willing participate in sexual activities with another person(s). You have given the person you are about to engage in sex activities with permission to have sexual relations with you.
Do not ASSUME that consent is automatic. Consent comes first, before any sexual activity takes place. Permission is required for all types of sexual penetration, including anal sex, vaginal penetration, genital touching and oral sex. You must actually discuss whether or not the people you are hooking up with is on the same page as you romantically moving forward.
It may not be enough to think someone has consented because you observed them shake their head yes, breathe heavy or appeared to be enjoying it.
Some people may shake their heads yes, but later claim it was only because he/she felt threatened if they didn’t agree. That is considered sexual misconduct, i.e. non consensual sex.
Some people may breathe heavy and rapidly, but later claim it was because they were frightened and feeling threatened. That is considered sexual assault, i.e. non consensual sex.
Some people may appear to be enjoying the sexual relations by their body language or their moaning, but later they may claim they acted that way because they thought if they didn’t, things would only get worse for them. Again, that may be considered sexual misconduct, i.e. non consensual sex.
Before engaging in any sexual activity with other people, you must be sure that they want to participate in the activity. Similarly, if another person intends to engage in sexual activity with you, they must first get your consent. In other words, by getting verbal permission, you can drastically reduce the risks of the other people later claiming the sexual relations he/she engaged in were non consensual.
It is essential to set boundaries when it comes to sexual relations. You are responsible for being confident that the other person expressly tells you that he/she is OK with having sex with you. Don’t just rely on the fact that he/she was breathing heavy or “looked like he or she was loving it.” You must set boundaries prior to getting to that point.
Consent must be given EVERY TIME you engage in sexual relations with someone. Just because the person agrees to have sex with you, doesn’t mean they consented to having sex with your friends. Just like if he/she consents to having sex with you that does NOT mean he/she is consenting to photos or videos taken while you are having sex. That is a completely different legal concern.
There are laws in Michigan that say that even though you are of the age of consent, 16 years or older, you can NOT consent to sending pictures or videos of yourself on a computer/phone. Not to mention, with cell phones and computers that have video and photo capabilities, it is easy for your sexual activities to get in the hands of the wrong person.
Failure to get permission will result in Rape charges.
Consent involves five components:
- It must be freely given: A person cannot manipulate, pressure or drug you to give consent. You must agree to engage in sexual activity out of your own free will. Otherwise it will be considered sexual assault, i.e. non consensual sex.
- You can change your mind at any time: The fact that you gave your permission at a particular time does not mean that you cannot change your mind and say no at any time. This applies even if on a prior occasion you have engaged in sexual activities with the same person. Just because you had sex then, does NOT mean you consent to sex now.
Even if you are laying naked in bed next to a person, you can change your mind and say NO. If the other person ignores your request, that will be considered sexual abuse, i.e. non consensual sex.
- You must be aware of what you are consenting to: This means that a conversation must be had between the parties in order to inform those involved what kind of sexual relations you intend on being a part of. That way, if the person you hook up with later claims Rape, i.e. non consensual sex, you can recall the details of the conversation(s) you had with that person to show that there was no Rape; he/she just has “buyer’s remorse.”
- Consent involves some type of positive action on your part. Don’t leave the consent issue up to your partner: You must be proactive and discuss the consent issue prior to hopping into bed with that person. If you don’t, you are treading in dangerous waters.
Nobody thinks that their partner is going to wake up the next day and claim Rape, but it happens all the time. Make sure you DO YOUR PART in making sure that doesn’t happen to you!
- You must be specific when it comes to the type of sexual activity you consent to: Just because you and your partner agreed to have oral sex, that doesn’t mean that you can slip your penis into her vagina and have sexual intercourse. That is considered non consensual sexual penetration, penis/vagina.
This is why you must be very specific in understanding your partner’s boundaries. One slip in the wrong area could lead to criminal charges against you.
Non Concensual Sex
How and When To Request Consent
Michigan law requires that you get consent before you take part in any sexual contact. You must communicate your desires and fears before you initiate any sex encounter, otherwise it can be deemed without consent.
The best way to approach this is to be open and honest about your wishes and boundaries when it comes to being intimate. You should also encourage your sex partner to speak freely and precisely about what he/she is comfortable engaging in. This applies to any sexual relationship, whether it’s a one-night stand or a long-term relationship.
Sexual acts that take place as a result of force or coercion are considered to be without consent, i.e. sexual violence, and will change your life. Any non consensual sexual acts that take place in this manner will ultimately result in serious sexual assault charges against you.
Force does not require handcuffs and zipties, rather if your knee is holding down his/her leg in order for you to give her sex orally, that may be enough for you to get charged.
Therefore, if you participate in any sex-related activity with another person and he/she decided to reject your proposal, you must stop immediately. Failure to acknowledge and respect their wishes will result in serious criminal charges.
Do NOT be afraid to discuss consensual sex. The moment you engage in what may be construed as non consensual sexual contact that is when you should be afraid.