Sexual consent is the latest buzz around college campuses. Between all of the requirements by your school and all of the information the government and your favorite celebrities are providing, you are bound to have heard about this already. As spring break approaches, it’s important to review what sexual consent actually means. It’s also important to remember to set personal boundaries for yourself as well as respect others’ personal boundaries.
So what exactly is consent? According to the American College Heath Association, meaningful consent is a sober, mutual, honest, and verbal agreement that cannot be coerced. It is a process, and it has to be discussed every step of the way. Just because somebody is okay with doing one thing does not mean they are okay with doing another. Consent also cannot be assumed or implied. Things such as the way somebody dresses, body language, or a lack of a response cannot imply consent. It must be a verbally communicated, mutual decision between both partners. Even if you’ve engaged in sexual behavior before, consent must be discussed each and every occasion.
Another thing to keep in mind regarding consent is setting boundaries. Everybody has their own personal boundaries. Set yours before any sexual engagement is going to occur so you know what you will and will not do before anything happens or goes too far. Also, practice verbalizing your boundaries. It can be awkward with your partner at first, but it’s important to get the hang of expressing your boundaries without feeling embarrassed or ashamed so no lines are crossed. Also remember to respect others’ boundaries. If they aren’t comfortable with doing something, don’t force it. If you are with somebody who doesn’t respect your boundaries, then he or she probably isn’t the right person for you.
All of these things are important to keep in mind while enjoying spring break with your friends. If you have further questions about consent or setting boundaries, the article Consent: Setting Boundaries is available on the MyStudentBody site. Once you are logged in, you can access it using this link: https://www.mystudentbody.com/Members/Student/Article.aspx?id=3938&from=StudentCenter&ContentType=0 .
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Have a safe, fun, and healthy spring break!