Consent is a powerful word. Oddly, it seems a lot of people still don’t know what it means. It’s actually a pretty simple concept. Whoever you are initiating your private times with, you just want to make sure they are totally up for it. That’s it – seems pretty easy, right? If you’re having difficulty, just imagine instead of initiating sex, you’re making them a cup of joe.
You say, “Hey, would you like a cup of coffee?” and they go, “OMG, yes, I would LOVE a cup of coffee! Why Thank you!” Then you know they want a cup of coffee. If they are unconscious, don’t make them one. Unconscious people can’t answer the question, “Do you want a cup?” because they are unconscious. If you say, “Hey, would you like a cup of coffee?” and they um and ahh and say, “I’m not really sure…” then you can make them a cup or not, but just be aware that they might not drink it, and if they don’t drink it then — and this is the important part — you can’t make them drink it. You can’t blame them for you going to the effort of making the coffee on the off chance they wanted it; you just have to deal with them not drinking it. Just because you made it does not mean you are entitled to watch them enjoy it.
If they say, “No, thank you,” then don’t make them coffee at all. Don’t make them the coffee, don’t make them drink the coffee, and don’t get annoyed at them for not wanting coffee. They just don’t want the coffee, okay?
They might say, “Yes, please, that’s kind of you,” and then when it arrives they actually don’t want it at all. Sure, that’s kind of annoying as you’ve gone to the effort of making it, but they remain under no obligation to drink it. A little while ago, they wanted it – and now they don’t. Sometimes people change their mind in the time it takes to brew the grounds and add the cream and sugar. It’s okay for people to change their mind, and you are still not entitled to watch them drink it even though you went to the trouble of making it.
If someone said yes to coffee, started drinking it and then passed out before they had finished, don’t keep pouring it down their throat. Take it away and make sure they are safe. Because unconscious people don’t want coffee. Trust me on this.
If someone said “yes” to coffee around your house last Saturday, that doesn’t mean that they want you to take them to every coffeehouse in town. They don’t want you to come around unexpectedly to their place and make them coffee and force them to drink it going, “But you wanted coffee last week,” or to wake up to find you pouring coffee down their throat going “But you wanted coffee last night.”
And that’s how you do that. The genius of this metaphor basically exposes everything that’s wrong with everyone who thinks the issue of consent is a complicated one. It’s not.