For the peer-led discussions, my group read an article called Beyond Yes or No: Consent as a Sexual Process. In the article, Rachel Kramer Bussel added a new layer to the discussion of consent by discussing the importance of being verbal with one’s partner when it comes to pleasure.
Overall, the article was really interesting. It makes a good point that the meaning behind consent goes beyond a simple yes or no. Sex should be enjoyable for everyone involved, and for it to actually be enjoyable, there needs to be some communication between both parties.
I would say this article also pointed out how sex is still a taboo subject for a lot of people. Part of why these discussions are rare is because people are afraid to be candid about sex, even with their own partners. This point seemed to really hit me as I discussed the article with my group in the library. There was something slightly embarrassing about discussing an article that focused on sex in such a public place, but I couldn’t help but reflect on how unfortunate it is that I was feeling that way about a school assignment. Sex should be a comfortable subject for people, especially when it’s being discussed between two people actually having sex.
I also think it’s important to discuss how this taboo affects women. I think men typically feel more comfortable discussing what they want from their partners, because women have been conditioned to think that they aren’t allowed to want anything from sex. In Western society, there’s such a massive focus on reproduction when it comes to sex, and I think that stifles women’s pleasure in a really drastic manner.
Hopefully, progress can eventually made as people like Bussel open up about their feelings towards the subject.