“What if there is no ‘yes’ and no ‘no’? Nothing asked, nothing said?” This was one of the many questions that came up during a talk titled “Asking for it: The Ethics & Erotics of Sexual Consent.”
On Feb. 10 in Trout Auditorium, Harry Brod, Professor of Sociology at the University of Northern Iowa, gave an insightful and educational speech to University students, faculty, and staff.
Brod, who has a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of California at San Diego, introduced the affirmative consent standard. The standard aims to make absolute consent necessary at every stage of a sexual interaction and helps minimize the risk of assault by destroying any amount of ambiguity.
“The only thing that’s yes is ‘yes.’ Just because there is no ‘no,’ doesn’t mean there is a ‘yes.’”
Brod did not linger on the ethical side of sexual consent. He proceeded to describe the affirmative consent standard as a pro-erotic standard. Because it requires explicit consent, it removes gray areas and allows for a fuller sexual experience if both parties know, from the beginning, that their boundaries are respected.
Although the affirmative consent standard is not the most widely accepted guideline for what constitutes sexual consent, Brod remains hopeful.
“The point is anti-sexual assault … I will hold onto my belief until explicit verbal consent is the universal standard,” Brod said.