For a word that simply means giving permission, “consent” certainly has become loaded.
It's the cure for rape culture, say feminists and family physicians. It’s overrated, others, such as Rush Limbaugh, say.
Psychologist and author Lisa Damour may have put it best: “Given that we also grant consent for root canals, gaining mere permission seems, to me, an awfully low bar for what should be the joys of physical sexuality.”
Lest we forget, the joys of physical sexuality is what we are aiming for — happy, healthy sex or intimacy for young adults who know their own boundaries and can make sound, respectful decisions. But the path there — which begins years before — is long and, when done right, punctuated by lots of small, meaningful and potentially awkward conversations along the way.
What should teens know about consent? How can parents best explain it, even before their kids reach those crucial teen years? And does it all have to be so painfully awkward? (Yes and no).
Below are 14 ways for parents to tackle the topic — now, before the crucible of sex and consent on college campuses comes into play.