jessica drake on the Three Pillars of Consent

jessica drake did an interview with Jezebel last week and brought up a topic I LOVE - consent! Naturally, such a circumstantial term can get a little muddied, particularly during a time like this. As usual, the performer and sex educator had a great way of explaining it:  

I’m talking about consent I think the general consensus about this is that it’s something that’s mechanical, like check box A if I can fill in the blank. And it doesn’t have to be that way. I spend time talking about the three pillars of consent, which are knowing what you’re getting into, figuring out if you’re okay with that, and if not, then what are you okay with? And then verbalizing that to the other person that’s involved.

On the Great Source that is Wikipedia, the three pillars are listed like this: 

  • Knowing exactly what and how much I'm agreeing to
  • Expressing my intent to participate
  • Deciding freely and voluntarily to participate

In the beautiful land of Canada, they add a particularly compelling dimension to "deciding freely and voluntarily" that I think is very important: "without abuse or exploitation of trust, power or authority, coercion or threats." This is precisely why consent so often becomes unclear - if someone holds power over you in any way, your ability to affirmatively consent is already compromised.

As wonderful it is that a fabulous performer like drake is offering succinct definitions of consent like this, we don't yet have great guidelines and directives as a collective society. Verbal and nonverbal cues aside, once we get ground of uneven power, it becomes incredibly unclear why a person is saying yes and if they truly mean it. Add that to the way we teach men and women about their roles in sex as they're growing up, and, well... we've still got our work cut out for us.

Tagged in: consent, jessica drake, three pillars of consent

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