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In which Lindsey (with help from guest model, Ellen Kuehl) discusses Consent. What it is, what it isn't, how it functions in different relationships, and advice for making sure everyone understands the shared circumstances.

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Host: Dr. Lindsey Doe

Directing/Filming/Editing: Nicholas Jenkins

Titles: Michael Aranda

Executive Producer: Hank Green

Music Used In This Episode: Go Carts by Kevin MacLeod
Lindsey: Remember these books, the ones the publishers say, 'ooh, take this, use this' and I'm like, meeeeeh it doesn't really meet my standard. This isn't a video to dump on the amazing writers, editors, and publishers of these books that give a lot of sexual information to people, it's merely to address that there's something fundamental to sex missing in the indexes of these human sexuality textbooks.  I'm looking for consent. Why? Because something so ravenous, sweaty, sweet, passionate, loud, and sexy, without consent is rape. I want to delineate between sex and rape. Is this going to be another downer video like the one you did on SciShow with HIV and the chinchilla? No. Because I'm going to make this the sexiest video I can, because we need as many people watching, and because consent is unbelievably, inarguably, bubbling sex cauldron hot.  

(Sexplanations Intro)

Lindsey: Ellen, may I write on your body?

Ellen: Yes.

Lindsey: Consent comes from the Latin words 'con' meaning together, and 'sentire' meaning feeling. Even though much of the talk around consent these days is legal, there is still connection to the original meaning, together feeling. Everyone involved has a shared sense of circumstances. Ellen knows that I am writing on her body with a dry erase marker, that there are baby wipes to remove the ink when we're done, that we're not going to show her nipples or her genitals to YouTube, and if at any time she changes her mind, Nick and I will remove the material.  

Just like Ellen nodding her head, sexual consent research shows that most people give consent non-verbally. Rubbing, fondling, touching, hands down the pants, help undressing, kissing and smiling. There are other things, like dry humping and taking one's own clothes off that you may think signal consent, but these are more of the 'I'm still testing the waters, I don't want to have sex.' Though most common or frequently, people report giving consent is by not resisting advances, letting the partner kiss or touch them, letting the clothes come off, and by not opening their mouths to object.  

This is how most people do it, most of the time. They give consent by not opting out. Not by opting in, but by not opting out. It is the sexual script our culture has written, it's what we see in movies, hear in songs, learn from our own experiences. Yikes, though! I would only recommend this with partners who have started with explicit consent and explicit rejection. Know that the person can say "red, no, stop" before assuming they will. There are many reasons a person will not resist sexual advancement, including fear, confusion, embarrassment, compulsory heterosexuality, intoxication and disability. If you and your partners are drunk, unless you've discussed in advance "let's get drunk and have sex!" wait until you're able to drive. Here's a general rule: if you can't operate a motor vehicle, then you probably ought not wield your wiener. This analogy also relates to age of consent. You may be able to say yes or gesture yes, but the state regulates whether or not you can give legal consent and if you're under the age of consent, remember that the state also regulates the lists and the prisons.

I like the simple saying: "consent is not the absence of a no, it's the presence of a yes." There are many ways to say yes and there are many ways to ask for it.

Ellen: Asking me if I'll have sex with you doesn't set you up for rejection, nor does it suck the appeal out of it. I may decline the offer, but I will be happy that you respected my right to make a decision.