Consent is sexy – and also just necessary.

By: Cassie Manz

The topic of sex has become less taboo over the years. In magazines, on television shows, in high school sex ed classes, people are talking about sex and all the things that go with it. Opening up discussions around sexual health is crucial because, put plainly, knowledge is power. At colleges, where sexual health is often a workshop during Fall orientation, the importance of consent has become a popular topic.

Sexual assault is all too common on college campuses. In a 2015 survey by the Association of American Universities, 27.2 percent of female college seniors reported that they had experienced some form of unwanted sexual contact due to incapacitation, including alcohol and drugs, or by force. To help combat the staggering rates of sexual assault, the Consent is Sexy campaign was started. So far the campaign has rolled out at four universities in the United States, and has also been implemented at schools in the United Kingdom and Southern Africa.

The Consent is Sexy campaign is a “Sexual Rights Awareness campaign” that seeks to raise awareness of consent and the practice of it, according to their website. Consent is Sexy promotes safer sex, sexual health, and emotional well-being.

The campaign defines consent to have sex as “when both people agree to have sex. But it’s not just allowing something, or giving permission – it’s knowing that you both really want and desire each other.” The campaign also states that consent should be freely given, mutually agreed upon, and never assumed. Yes!

Consent is Sexy is needed and important. It provides a healthy message for young people: that being informed about sexual health and being open and honest about sex with a partner is sexy. Most importantly, it helps to fight sexual assault by enforcing the idea that consent is imperative when having sex because sex without consent is rape.

The problem with the campaign is that it’s built on the idea that sexiness makes consent important. In an article for The Whitman Wire Spencer Wharton wrote, “By making it about what’s “sexy,” the slogan promotes eroticism as a way of determining the worth of an act.”  The campaign says that “sex is sexiest when both partners want it…” But it shouldn’t matter what level of sexy the sex falls under. It shouldn’t matter that consent is sexy. Consent during sex is imperative because without consent it is rape. It’s sexy to have someone you’re into say “Yes, let’s keep going,” but it’s also just necessary.