Friedman Recommends Enthusiastic Consent before Engaging in Sex


Photo by: Daisy Rodriguez

Jaclyn Friedman speaking at theFresno City College Auditorium on Nov. 3.

Author Jaclyn Friedman told a large audience in the Old Administrative Building Auditorium on Nov. 3 that consent is a necessary condition before any sexual activity.

The author of the books “Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape” and “What You Really Really Want: The Smart Girl’s Shame-Free Guide to Sex & Safety”, said that “we retain the right to give consent or to withdraw consent or not to be given consent the whole time.”

Friedman said during the event that the phrase “yes means yes”, is about giving consent prior to participating in sexual activity.

“Sex doesn’t happen in an instant, it’s an ongoing interaction,” she said. “We remain human the whole time.”

According to the website on Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center [SAPAC], “Consent is when someone agrees, gives permission, or says ‘yes’ to sexual activity with other persons.”

An article published on CNN and written by Kelly Wallace on Sept. 23, 2015 stated that “Among female college students, 23 percent said they experienced some form of unwanted sexual contact.”

A powerpoint presented by Friedman revealed how students can use enthusiastic consent — requiring both partners to discuss what activities will be part of a consensual sexual activity. This step affords both individuals to define boundaries on what they will or will not do.

She says that the first step in enthusiastic consent is for people to figure out what they want and then ask themselves a few questions — “What is it that I want from sex? What is it that I never want from sex?”

Other guidelines for enthusiastic consent, she said, were that “only yes means yes” and “if you can’t tell [if someone is giving consent], you have to ask;” also seek for “continuous consent,” and “no lying.”

Students listen as Jaclyn Friendman, author, speaks at the Fresno City College Auditorium about sexual consent on Nov. 3.
Daisy Rodriguez
Students listen as Jaclyn Friendman, author, speaks at the Fresno City College Auditorium about sexual consent on Nov. 3.

According to the Associations of American Universities, “11.7 percent of students respondents across 27 universities reported experiencing nonconsensual sexual contact [after enrolling in their colleges].”

Friedman said, “Most rapist know their victim,” and “most rapist choose a target of their own race.”

“Rapist are human beings who have wonderful, positive characteristics, but also, can make a terrible decision,” she said.

Rape can also occur when a person is intoxicated. “[If a person was] unable to consent, it was rape,” according to information on RAINN [Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network] website.

Friedman says that alcohol is not an excuse for having sex with no consent.

“I feel like it [Friedman’s presentation] helped me better understand sexuality and help me be more comfortable about it and also help me understand consent better,” said Bineet Kaur, journalism major.

Friedman advised the audience to practice enthusiastic consent, make a plan about consent, have different conversations that address the topic of sex and more.

Nathanael Torres, a mathematics major, said that the event gave him a new look on consent. “She gave a new way on how to look at it [consent]; it was really interesting.”