Updated: Jun 2, 2020
If you are a regular reader to my blog (or keep up to date with my Twitter posts and Instagram stories), you will know that I have quite a lot to say about my ex, and not a lot of that is good. However, there was one thing that I absolutely cannot fault him for, and that is asking for my consent.
At the time we were both seventeen and even though I was ready to have sex, he wasn't, which was something I respected. He was prepared to do other 'things' (which admittedly only happened two or three times), but we never actually had sex. When we did engage in those other 'things', he would always ask for my consent; which was something I never really considered as important until a few months ago.
Whenever we were doing these things, he would always say things like "do you want me to take this further" or "can I..." and I never understood why he did this. I mean, we were both seventeen at the time, therefore over the legal age of consent in the UK, and we were boyfriend and girlfriend. I never questioned why he did this, which I guess is because I never thought too much of it at the time. And I'm sure some (or all) of you reading this will have 'been' with your partner (or whoever, you don't have to be in a relationship to be intimate with someone) and during this time one thing leads to another and that's just how it goes.
But since my ex, I have had sex with a few people and none of them have necessarily asked for consent, it's just something that sort of happened. None of it was forced and if there was something I felt uncomfortable with or just didn't want to go that far at that time, that was respected and vice versa. I guess this was because we always knew it was going to happen, a bit like an unspoken agreement. Maybe because with each of those people, we were in a place where we were ready to engage in sexual activity and didn't give it a second thought, which is why there wasn't spoken consent, and as my ex wasn't fully ready and at that time neither of us had been sexually active, maybe that's why he felt the need to do that.
But there's another part of this that I have only recently considered. There was an incident that happened with me that began about eight months before and in the following months before I got into a relationship with him. I'm not going to go into full detail about it now because I'm not quite ready, but I will probably talk about it at some point. But what happened meant I had been taken advantage of and it left me feeling really insecure about my body, something I felt anyway, and I can remember telling him that what happened left me unable to look at my own body in the mirror, let alone have someone else see it. So I guess maybe part of why he would always ask for my consent was because he was aware of this and just wanted to make sure I actually wanted it to happen before doing anything. And if this was the case, then I really respect and thank him for that.
I guess because I knew he wasn't ready to do anything because he was insecure about his body and because he had been open about it with me, I never tried anything with him because I knew he wasn't ready and had he said otherwise I would have made sure he was completely ready and got that consent because I wouldn't want him to feel like he had to do anything just because we were together or because society told him to. At the end of the day, everyone is ready at different times in their life. And just because someone is in a relationship and over the age of 16, it doesn't always mean they are ready to be sexually active. You can be in love with someone without having sex with them; the same as you can have sex with someone without being in love with them.
At the end of the day, consent is always important. Whether that be done verbally or through body language, it is important. And if the other person is uncomfortable and says no, even if you engaged in it the last time, you should always respect that and not question it, and vice versa. Everything I engaged in with my ex was consensual, the same with any of the other guys things happened with. But my ex verbally asking me for consent was really important to me because it was our first time ever engaging in anything sexual and given everything that had happened to me before, it showed that he cared, something I really respect him for.
Remember: being respectful is ensuring they are consensual.
Love Beth xx