The odd thing about being a man and being exasperated by how tricky consent is in the sexual world is how much that presupposes a very transactional view of sex.

Is that where we are as people? Is sex just a transaction?

It seems that even if you don’t plan on seeing the other person after having sex with them, the act of having sex still demands a connection — the kind of connection that wouldn’t allow you to be oblivious to the other person’s feelings.

If you are being intimate with someone — and sex is as intimate as it gets — you should be connected to them in that moment in such a way that you can detect how they’re feeling about the encounter. You should be able to feel — emotionally — whether or not they want to do this.

To me, that’s the kicker right there. It’s not even really about consent. It’s about connection.

If you’re having sex with someone, you should — at least at that moment — be connecting with them. I mean, you’re asking this person to open up their body’s most intimate parts to your touch, but you don’t want to bother to be receptive to their intimate feelings? That’s just disrespectful, and unfair.

To me, the price of admission for a sexual encounter is that you muster up enough care for the other person that you pay attention to their emotions and be sensitive to them. 99% of the time, when you do that, it will be laughably easy to detect if the other person would rather not be doing it. If anyone — men or women — are claiming that somehow, such a thing is too much to ask, I feel genuinely sad for the state of humanity.

(I did a bit more thinking about this in another piece I published)

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Author of “The Wabi-Sabi Way” and “Be, Think, Do”. Subscribe to my newsletter “Woolgathering”:

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