Today is a special day for many. Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate your loved ones, and the perfect time to talk a little bit about healthy relationships.
While a lot of people are going the extra mile today in terms of jewelry, chocolates, and flowers, it’s important to remember that that extra mile is not an excuse to feel entitled to anything physical. Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity to take relationships to the next level, but the most important thing to remember today (and all other 364 days of the year!) is consent. Though it is often misconstrued into a topic that has a lot of gray areas, consent is pretty simple.
Consent is permission that is:
- Willingly given
What I really like about this definition of consent is the use of the word enthusiastic. There’s a difference between saying ‘yes’ because you’re feeling pressured into it, and saying ‘yes’ because you’re excited! Another word that I think is perfect here is revocable. Consent can be withdrawn at any time—regardless of how far things have gotten. Finally, continuous consent is absolutely mandatory. Just because you may have had a sexual experience with someone previously, doesn’t mean that consent is automatically given again.
Communication here is key, whether it’s verbal or physical. Asking if things are okay is okay! In fact, it’s necessary. Making sure that you and your partner are comfortable with everything that is happening is extremely important. Remember that your right to say ‘no’ never goes away. No one else is allowed to touch you if you don’t want them to.
No matter how expensive the date, how beautiful the bouquet, or how shiny the new necklace, don’t forget that your body is your own and nobody else is entitled to it.
Happy Valentine’s Day!