This post discusses sexual consent and parts of it may be triggering for some readers.
Last week we saw affirmative consent laws pass in NSW Parliament, the new law outlines that now legally a person must give 'affirmative' consent when partaking in sexual activity with a partner.
Basically, it is no longer reasonable to just assume a person is consenting, at least in the eyes of the law.
When I saw this news flash up on my phone I cried, partly from tears of joy and partly from relief, after all I became sexually active when consent laws were murky and so many of my sexual experiences reflect this murkiness.
Watch: We lose one woman every week in Australia to domestic violence, but that's just the tip of a very grim iceberg. Post continues below.
Ultimately, the passing of this law made me think of all the times, I didn’t say no but my silence was taken as yes.
For as long as I can remember consent with men has always felt like a negotiation, a never-ending push and pull. Men weren’t looking for enthusiasm they were looking for weakness, and I grew up thinking this was normal.
Partly this felt normal because of pop culture reinforcing these norms. After all, I loved Jess from Gilmore Girls even after he continually kept pressuring Rory into sex, and partly because it was normal. All my friends were grappling with the same thing - men wanting more from us than we wanted to give.
I grew up with my friends and I sharing stories of men behaving poorly sexually, from men demanding sexual acts, to men calling us boring if we didn’t agree.
The overarching conversation at the time was if we didn’t please men we’d be punished in some way, or we’d somehow be seen as lesser.
We took refuge in each other but none of us really knew we deserved better and there certainly weren’t laws that made us know we did deserve better.
After all, I’ve kissed guys because they’ve called me some version of the word 'tease.'
I’ve slept with men because they made me feel like it was easier than saying no and I’ve tried things sexually because frankly it was easier than arguing about it.