The question itself was foreplay. His hesitation. Her breaths of anticipation. Their mutual curiosity. How would it happen? Would he ask first, as was tradition? Fuck tradition, said Carla. She leaned in and asked. Breath warm, Henry’s blood rushed as well as his answer. “Yes.”
And then the kiss. They were eager and still their lips touched lightly, exploring the newness of their partner. He wondered if she would ask for more tonight. She doesn’t, but her casual breathlessness opens his courage. “Can I touch you more.” he whispered amidst the kisses. A soft refusal left her lips and he was almost certain she wanted to say yes but for some reason was not ready too. “One more kiss then?” and she answers with gusto.
I have been considering that scene for some weeks now, wondering what consent culture would look like in a movie and lamenting how pervasive rape culture (or non consent culture) actually is. Would asking really not just ruin the moment? Could the question itself act as the catalyst? Would consent culture work in movies/books/music?
Simply, I believe the answer is yes. Just as happens in cultures that require extensive moderation of bodies in public where people develop attraction to ankles and what bits of flesh become exposed, the same can happen with consent. We have to make it that way though. That takes changing minds and creating stories where consent is part of the discovery just as much as the first kiss.