On mainstream college campuses nationwide, first-year students are often told during orientation week that with sexual consent, “anything goes.” This simplistic blanket term promotes sexual flippancy and hookup culture, making “consent” a magic word that covers, well, anything and everything.

What is Sexual Consent?

In modern society, consent has been oversimplified to a mere transactional agreement: “Do whatever feels good,” with the only condition being not to harm anyone else. However, this oversimplified understanding overlooks critical aspects that deserve consideration.

Listed Below are Three Myths About Consent:

  1. Everyone gets equal respect. 

At first glance, consent appears to create a fair and straightforward transaction where you can have what you desire or decline it without consequence. On the face of it, it seems to make everyone equal. However, consent is often an illusion, overlooking that our desires can often be easily manipulated.

“Consent,” leaves women and children vulnerable to those with ulterior motives. Predators, like pedophiles, pimps, and sexual abusers, use consent as a tool to “groom” and exploit their victims. 

An article from The Wallstreet Journal titled How the Sexual Revolution Has Hurt Women, says, “When we strip back all sexual morality to the bare bones, leaving only the principle of consent, we leave the way clear for some particularly predatory pikes.”

You may be thinking, what if I’m dating someone who is not a creep or a predator? Isn’t consent okay in that circumstance? But we all know that even in healthier guy/girl relationships there can be many subtle forms of pressure and manipulation. Women often feel pressured toward sexual relations, feeling that if they don’t please their partner they will lose them. 


This leads to the next myth…

2. You can always “opt out.”

The fragile foundation of consent hinges entirely on the possibility of opting out. Without this option, everything else crumbles. But the reality is that countless women have expressed feeling pressured to conform to hookup culture. While it is technically possible to opt out, research indicates that only a minority of women choose to do so. 

The prevailing culture of sexual hedonism and instant gratification has been associated with an alarming rise in campus rapes and sexual assaults.

In her book, The Case Against the Sexual Revolution, Louise Perry says, “Few liberal feminists are willing to draw the link between the culture of sexual hedonism that they promote and the anxiety over campus rape that have emerged at exactly the same time. If they did, they might be forced to recognize that they have done a terrible thing in advising inexperienced young women to seek out situations with h**** men who are not only bigger and stronger, but are also likely to have been raised on the kind of porn that normalizes aggression, coercion, and pain.” 

She goes on to say that to question any of this at all is to question the all-important doctrine of sexual freedom that reigns in our age of unquestioned, demanding conformity. The truth? We now have a culture where men can do what they want, and abusers have free reign. 


3. Emotionless sex doesn’t hurt anyone. 

Many women struggle between their longing for a committed relationship on the one hand and the demands of conforming to hook-up culture on the other. 

Researcher Donna Freitas interviewed hundreds of college-aged young adults involved in hook-up culture. She summarized her results: “Regardless of what students brag about or tell their friends, most are terrible at shutting out the emotional dimensions of sexual intimacy.” Freitas found that, of the students surveyed, 41 percent reported “Being saddened by hookups as it made them feel ‘sad’ and ‘used.’” She said, “Many people in my study felt as if they were the only people on campus not happy with the hookup culture. There is a lot of alienation, as a lot of people have a fear of speaking up.”

Again from The Wall Street Journal: “Too many young women today ignore the fact that men are generally much better suited to emotionless sex and find it much easier to regard their sexual partners as disposable. Too many fail to recognize that being desired by men is not at all the same thing as being held in high esteem.”

You Deserve Real Respect

At Choices, we believe women are worth more than a passing, emotionless, sexual transaction. Are you feeling pressured to conform to the sexual demands of others? God created sex not as a bad or dirty thing but as a special thing meant to be cherished within the bounds of marriage. Marriage is the only context in which it’s possible for both partners to be equally cherished, respected, and loved. For more information on what healthy relationships should look like, click here

Sadly, the result of a culture fed on an empty or coerced sexual consent is often an unwanted or unplanned pregnancy. If you find yourself in this situation, please contact Choices or make an appointment to speak with a caring, non-judgmental advocate who can support you and help you understand your options