Let’s talk about sex — and consent | Letter

Training “needs to be community wide, it should start in the schools and it should start early.”

Actually, let’s talk about consent, and the need for consent training in our schools. It’s time that we start countering the toxic masculinity found in so much of our media, with real conversations around what a healthy sexual experience looks like. Consent, not conquest.

As the father of a little girl, it may first seem as though my interest in this topic comes from a desire to protect her. And while that is partially true, I’m just as concerned with protecting my son. Protecting him from the feelings I’ve been struggling with for several months.

As more and more women begin to open up about the harassment and sexual abuse they face just for being women, and again with the recent story about Aziz Ansari, I’ve taken a hard look at my own past sexual encounters, and it’s an uneasy feeling. Did I push women into sex? How many times did I not take the first “no” seriously, or try to put my hand back in a place from which it had already been removed?

I’m 38 years old, and it’s only been for the last year or so that I’ve begun to grasp the potential harm I was inflicting. I’m not afraid to be open about this, because I know that nearly every man has done the same. It’s why nearly every woman has a #MeToo story.

It’s a byproduct of a culture that primarily views sex from a male lens, making us believe that women need a little extra push to be interested. They don’t, and that way of thinking needs to be extinguished. The time is up.

I don’t want my daughter having to learn how to protect herself from overly amorous boys. I want my son to learn how to wait until there is enthusiastic consent from a potential partner, and to not persist, and persist and persist until that consent is faked, just to please him.

It’s a training that needs to be community wide, it should start in the schools and it should start early.

Patrick Allcorn

Mercer Island