I got the "sex" conversation from my mom when I was little. Basic mechanics, how it relates to pregnancy, that sort of thing. Over the years we had other, more spontaneous conversations about other aspects of sexuality. Including the issue of consent. What constituted it, what didn’t.
Now I’m curious to know if parents talk to their boys about consent. Does anyone consider that a required part of a boy’s sexual education? Do parents or school officials consider it their essential duty to teach boys this stuff? I’m not just talking about protecting girls, but about protecting boys from illegal situations they can wander into rather than set out to create. Do parents warn their sons:
- If you come across an unconscious female, she is not a "freebie". Not even if she put herself into that stupor. Even if your pals assure you she’ll be okay with it.
- Alcohol and drugs can make consent a confusing issue. Don’t rely on them to excuse your sexual behavior: take the responsibility to have sex only when both partners are sober enough to clearly consent.
- If you really want to be safe, don’t settle for a lack of "no" – get a definite word of affirmation from your partner before going through with whatever you’re doing with her. If she’s conflicted enough that she can’t say "okay" or "yes", then maybe she’s not really ready for this – and even if it’s not your responsibility to figure that out for her, it would be better for you to just walk away from that situation. From both a legal and humane standpoint.
- Oral and anal count. Using objects instead of a body part counts. Using another body part than your penis counts. Etc.
Teaching girls what doesn’t constitute consent is hardly helpful if boys aren’t getting the same speech.