I don’t know when Cracked became a serious voice of reason and tolerance instead of a site filled with sight gags and scatological humor. Nevertheless, it has somehow happened.
Read this article, then come back. I’ll wait.
Let’s start at the beginning: All Buddhists follow some form of Ahimsa, that can take many forms, from just abstaining for killing, like the Judeo-Christian commandment, to, as many Hindus, Jains, and Buddhists practice it, strict vegetarianism.
This is the first of the Five Precepts of Mahayana Buddhism. In Zen, we call these precepts the first part of the Bodhisattva Precepts, of which there are ten, and they are part of the jukai, or lay ordination, ceremony. I took refuge in the Taiwanese Buddhist tradition and thus the Five Precepts and the Triple Jewel, to whit: the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha.
So where does consent come in? Well it could depend upon your interpretation of the first precept. It is often interpreted as do no harm, which is closer to the Wiccan Rede, which is often written An it harm none, do what ye will. You could also relate it to the Christian conception of the Golden Rule as told in the book of Matthew Chapter 7, Verse 12 of the King James Version of the Bible: Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.
In Unitarian Universalism we have a far more direct, less interpretative, approach. WE, along with my cradle denomination the United Church of Christ, developed Our Whole Lives (OWL) Sexuality Education and, unsurprisingly, it does address consent extensively at all levels. It also addresses age appropriate topics of sexuality and understanding the many important and complex issues surrounding our sexuality and sexual maturation.
Now here is where I am going to get controversial: I disagree with the Cracked article in some ways. We are apes and we aren’t very different than chimpanzees. Monogamy is a solution that we developed for social reasons. We don’t have a lot of biological imperative for the practice. Our species also possesses a strong fight or flight response that excites us and this often leads to sexual excitement because they’re in the same region of the brain. So, it’s okay to want to be hunted and to want to be dominated by a stronger and larger, or not, mate.
What?! How is this okay?
1. This is a biological urge, it’s literally how we are wired.
2. It SHOULD NOT be the first step.
This is what the Cracked article is talking about: Consent should always be step one. We make friends by being polite, interesting, and humorous. We approach dating and sex as an opportunity to connect with another human being, exactly how we treat interactions with our family and friends. If we do make that connection and we continue to make that connection then, with effective emotional intelligence and explicit consent obtained during the course of normal conversation, and only then do we allow our baser desires to be in the driver seat.
Communication is sexy.
Safety is sexy.
Consent is sexy.