Consent Isn’t Confusing: This Comic Breaks It Down

by Alexa Salvato

Now that affirmative consent is moving beyond college campuses and entering the national conversation, people are becoming concerned about its potential conversations. Every time people hook up, they’re supposed to agree that “yes means yes”? Some major criticism came from New York Times columnist Judith Shulevitz last week: “If one person can think he’s hooking up while the other feels she’s being raped, it makes sense to have a law that eliminates the possibility of misunderstanding,” Shulevitz writes—up until there, we’re totally on the same page. She continues later on in the column: “But criminal law is a very powerful instrument for reshaping sexual mores. Should we really put people in jail for not doing what most people aren’t doing? (Or at least, not yet?)” Generally, instituting laws can be crucial for changing any social mores (case in point: gay marriage.)

Tara Culp-Ressler at ThinkProgress gives a great myth-buster on what affirmative consent really looks like: “Affirmative consent isn’t based on the idea that every sexual encounter is a rigid contract between two parties,” she writes. “No one is suggesting that college students need to run through a checklist before unbuttoning each other’s shirts. Instead, it’s more about broadly reorienting about how we approach sex in the first place.”

Consent isn’t as complex as we think. That’s why we think that these comics from Alli Kirkham at Everyday Feminism are so awesome. As the comic strips illustrate, most decent humans ask for consent before doing most things that involve their fellow humans every day. Having mutually desired sexual encounters should be no different.

Images via Alli Kirkham &


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