Why Consent Is Important For Men Too

Thankfully, consent culture is a fast-growing phenomenon as we all finally figure out how vital it is to healthy relationships. Women the world over are speaking out about consent violations, making the truth crystal clear: we need better ways of approaching consensual sex. But what about men? Here’s why seeking consent from men is not only important but necessary.

  1. Consent is important for everyone. This should be obvious, but unfortunately, it’s not for everyone. While we as a society continue to develop in this arena, things can be a little skewed. For obvious reasons, the conversation around consent has thus far been focused almost entirely on consent for women. However, it only makes sense that all genders deserve the same considerations to create safety in touch and sexuality.
  2. We need to dismantle toxic masculinity. Sadly, the ideas of masculinity promoted to many boys and men are toxic in nature, robbing them of access to their emotional and physical vulnerability. We’re slowly realizing this and the narrative is shifting to realizing that—surprise!—men do have feelings and that doesn’t undermine their manhood. By acknowledging the need for men to actively consent, we’re empowering men to get in touch with their own needs, their own bodies, their own experiences.
  3. We’re breaking down gender stereotypes. Traditionally, men take on a more dominant role in life and especially in the bedroom. If you think about the expectation to always be in charge, always take control, and most importantly, to always want sex, you can understand that there’s an enormous amount of pressure involved. What if a man isn’t in the mood for sex, doesn’t enjoy that particular act, or doesn’t want sex under those circumstances or with that person? Our culture sends the message that something must be wrong. Just by asking the question, “Do you want this?” we’re offering an out and sending the clear message that it’s OK if the answer is no.
  4. Clear consent makes it safer for everyone. Knowing that all members of a sexual encounter are fully on board makes everything a whole lot easier. For me, the barriers to intimacy are removed when I don’t have to second-guess the desires of my partner. I love knowing that my partner is fully and intentionally doing what they want rather than what they think they’re supposed to do. I feel safe knowing my partner feels safe.
  5. True consent depends on mutual responsibility. Any sexual experience should be a co-creation. That means checking in is something everyone does, not just the man in the equation. I make sure my partners are consenting and they make sure I am. Sharing the responsibility creates a caring space for everyone and avoids the trap of one person carrying the weight of looking after everyone’s experience.
  6. Communication is a fast track to intimacy. Communicating honestly and openly is one of the fastest ways to create vulnerability and intimacy. Showing genuine care for your partner’s wants, needs, limits, and boundaries isn’t just important, it feels great. Giving our male partners a safe space to express their doubts is an amazing way to connect on a real and deep level.
  7. When I hear a man say no, I can trust his yeses. When a man expresses his boundaries, I have instant respect for his sense of self. Knowing that he’s aware of his own limits allows me to let go and trust him more when he says yes to something. I know he’ll tell me if something doesn’t feel right for him. It feels good to be able to relax in the moment and enjoy the things we’ve both consented to.
  8. Speeding up and normalizing consent is the only way forward. For way too long consent has been an undervalued if not overlooked component of the sensual and sexual experience. We’re finally waking up to ourselves on this one but there’s a long way to go before we really get it as a society. Introducing consent into your encounters not only serves your partner, it also serves you and our society as a whole. We’re capable of normalizing this as a natural part of sex. It’s about time!
  9. It’s the path to better sex. Better consent equals better sex, no argument. When things get heated and you know everyone’s down with what’s happening, you can pretty much guarantee everyone’s having a great time. It only makes sense to do what you really want to do and for your partner to do the same. Empowering men to say no to sex and greeting that ‘no’ with respect and gratitude is so important in creating a shift toward a consent culture where everybody feels safe. And that way, everybody gets more of what they actually want.
  10. Women can act as an example of how to seek consent. Taking men’s consent seriously has the wonderful side-effect of acting as a living example of what good consent looks like. Many men are unsure about how to ask for consent, so show them! We have the opportunity to respect someone’s bodily autonomy and give them a lesson in responsible touch at the same time. Win-win, right?
is an open-hearted fellow human, lover of vulnerability, workshop facilitator and blogger, and perpetual student of the universe. She blogs over at https://liberationandlove.com about the beautiful experience that is being human. Through her writings, she takes great pleasure in delving into conscious community, sexuality, communication, and relationships, and loves to help others to do the same. You can find her on instagram as @jazz_meyer or @liberation.and.love