Everyone likes [insert sex act here] so no need to ask first

There is an assumption that there are some kinds of sex that everyone wants and likes all the time. Because we are meant to like these things there’s no need to seek each others consent first as it’s a given that we’ll want it. An example of this is ‘every guy wants a blow job so why not give him one as soon as he comes in from work as a treat’ or ‘women love their G spot being stimulated so next time you’re giving her oral put your fingers inside the vagina and aim for the upper wall.’

There is nothing wrong in suggesting different kinds of sex that people might like but it’s problematic to say that everyone always wants something. Firstly it reinforces the idea that there is a ‘normal’ sex. Not everyone wants, or is capable of having, the kind of sex that most media says is ‘normal’ which is very narrow and based on being heterosexual and able-bodied (see All examples are young, heterosexual, white, able-bodied & conventionally attractive couples).

Additionally no matter how hot something sounds or how many people might enjoy a particular act, it is vital to ask first. Something feeling nice is not necessarily the same as consent. Sometimes the language about sex in the media glosses over consent as being taken as read, or only being an issue in casual sex or where it relates to sexual assault. Non-consensual sex happens in long-term relationships too.

It’s a shame that media sex messages don’t focus very much on asking, or negotiation or communication generally, because this is actually key to having better sex. Rather than having the sex we think we should have it’s important for people to be able to find a way of communicating where they might like to be touched, how, by what and when. Media generally presents sex as being impossible to talk about but easier to do. It isn’t easy but really good sex education programmes or pieces could provide people with great ideas, as well as trying to understand why it’s difficult.

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