The Quest | The Free Press of Reed College

The Sexual Intellectual Talks “Sexy Consent”

The first golden rays of Renn Fayre are peeking out from the horizon; Hum Play and Stop Making Sense are forthcoming while students scurry to the bins and back to make their props, costumes, and projects ready for the Gold Rush. However, not everything is sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows. A black cloud has hung over this year concerning the issue of sexual assault on campus. I was outraged (as anyone is/would be/should be) to hear that consent is not being respected on our campus. With an issue of such gravity overhanging our coming revelry, I hope this article, with a little humor and a lot of caution, will stick in the minds of students and remind them that with great parties comes great responsibility (concerning consent especially).

Everyone at Reed should be familiar with the concept of asking consent for sexual/sensual consent; knowing that no means no, stop means stop, and yes is a tentative contract subject to change at any time. That being said, the conversation of asking for consent should not be as simple as Person 1: “Consent?” Person 2: “Consent!” One needs to be very clear about what is being consented to in any given situation. “May I kiss you?” followed by an affirmative response earns the person asking consent one kiss. [This is especially important to keep in mind during THESIS PARADE.] “Can I help you take off your shirt?”, “Is it alright if I unzip your jeans?”, “Can I please nibble your ears?”, “Could you help me slip off my lace panties?”: Specificity is key. You can make it sexy: “Would you mind if I ravage your body voraciously for the next couple of hours or so?” Play around with domination: beg, plead, get down on your knees and pray to your sex god or goddess of choice, but NEVER guilt trip or coerce.

Consent is, should be, sexy and specific.

During Renn Fayre, it may happen that you or the object of your desire will be intoxicated. This presents a serious problem that must be dealt with conscientiously. If you are under the influence of a substance that impairs your judgment (example: alcohol, counter-example: nicotine), you cannot give consent. In last week’s issue of the Quest, Gary Granger reported, “100% of the reported sexual assaults, either the alleged assailant or the survivor was intoxicated,” (Quest Vol. 200, Issue 10). As much as it pains me to argue that, under certain circumstances, two people who’ve known each other carnally for some time can reach a mutual understanding and give consent, it is highly unlikely that this is the case for most Reedies. Let’s face it, most of us are not in relationships of this nature on any given day; Christ, it’s difficult enough just to get laid on this campus. That being said, it is my personal opinion that intoxicants should be separate from sex. Oregon State law dictates that you cannot legally give consent while intoxicated. For purposes of responsible partying this Renn Fayre, enjoy the substances (alcohol, etc.) for what they are as an experience and enjoy sex for what it is as an experience, separately. Utilize your drunk-time to flirt and make arrangements for later rendezvous, wherein you can practice sexy consent.

Lastly, look out for your friends and community-members. Last year there was a wonderful spirit of unity sparked by the invasion of plainclothes pawns of the Portland Police Department. As a result, not a single person was accosted or arrested by these officers. If we, as a community, can remain conscious (pun intended) of what is going on around us, encourage each other to make good choices in intoxicated states, and unite to protect everyone’s right to give or revoke consent- there’s no doubt that Renn Fayre will be as rad as last year, if not more so.

-TSI

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