Why Being Called a Tease is a Consent Issue

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My younger sister called me on the way home from a date to tell me all about it (also, if I go missing after this is published, she found out I wrote about her and killed me). The date went well, and at the end, he asked if she wanted to come back to his place. She declined. She asked me if I thought it was okay that she didn’t want to go home with him, and mumbled something about being worried she would come off “as a tease” for not going home with him.

So in true big sister fashion, I’m going to give you all the same unsolicited advice I gave my sister:

There is no such thing as being a “tease.”

I think it’s impossible for someone to be a “tease” because that implies that there was some unspoken agreement you didn’t follow through with or that sex is somehow a right rather than a privilege. It’s our patriarchal society’s way of shaming women for not wanting to have sex, the same way we shame them for having it—and it’s bullshit.

I don’t care how many dinners, movies, or drinks the person you’re dating pays for. I don’t care if halfway through the date you lean over and seductively whisper that you can’t wait to fuck them or if you’re already in the middle of fucking them—if at ANY point, you change your mind about what you want to do or what you’re comfortable with, that’s completely okay, and the other person needs to respect your choice.

Changing your mind or saying no doesn’t make you a tease, a bitch, or any other term; you’re a person and you’re allowed to change your mind. And if at the end of the date (or the beginning, or middle, or any other time) you want to go have safe, consensual sex—GO FOR IT!

My sister’s concern over being a tease makes me worry that down the line, with this date or another, she’ll be in a situation where she doesn’t feel she had the right to say “no” or won’t feel comfortable saying it. There’s a lot of things wrong with how people are taught about consent (like that it’s not taught at all), and this is definitely one of them.

On behalf of all older sisters out there, here are 5 things you all need to know about consent:

1. You Can Say No At Any Point
It does matter what you’re wearing, if it’s your 1st date or your 25th, if you’re already naked and fooling around—you can change your mind, and no still means no. If at any point you say no, and the other person doesn’t respect that, that’s sexual assault. Don’t worry about the person you’re with having expectations or that you’ll be disappointing them if you say no; if you’re unsure or uncomfortable with how things are progressing you need to speak up. Anyone worth being with will understand.

“If I’m laying down with a man, butt-naked, and his condom is on, and I say, ‘You know what? No. I don’t want to do this. I changed my mind,’ that means no. That means f**king no. That’s it. It doesn’t matter how far I take it or what I have on. When I say no, it means no.”

– Amber Rose, explaining consent on the “It’s Not You, It’s Men” show

2. Consenting Only Gives Consent For That Particular Thing
If you agree to go home with someone, you’re not agreeing to kiss them or have sex with them. Agreeing to one type of touch isn’t consenting to another. Consenting to vaginal sex does not mean you consent to anal sex. Consenting to sex on a Wednesday doesn’t mean you’re consenting to sex on Saturday. Consent is given for individual things and should be given for every step of the way.

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