Why intent should be part of consent.

As a community, we are becoming better at sexual health and consent negotiations. To my surprise, ‘intent’ is rarely part of the conversation. Perhaps it should be.

When talking to a new potential intimate partner, a script is starting to develop around how the conversations go ahead of an interaction.

The key is in the communication and the after-care.

The conversation usually includes consent (This is what I want/don’t want — what do you want/not want?) and boundaries (I will never… I might, under the right circumstances…) and preferences (I love it when… I like… I sometimes like…) Next is a conversation about sexual health, risks, and risk mitigation (number of current partners, last STI test and its results, use of barriers, etc). Between those conversations, you generally cover enjoyment and health, but there’s a big piece of the puzzle missing, in my mind: Intent.

An example

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Be clear — and know that intentions may change.

Adding intent to the consent conversation isn’t that hard — you’ve already had some intimate conversations; what is another. It is the extension of the consent conversation. Sexual consent for a particular activity can be withdrawn if the context changes, that much is a given — and even if everything else aligns, having an intent mismatch is a perfectly fine reason to choose not to engage sexually with someone.

Written by

CEO of Konf, pitch coach for startups, enthusiastic dabbler in photography.

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