Never take sex advice from George Lawlor. The 19-year-old Warwick University student made headlines in October when, after receiving a Facebook invite to a campus event titled “I Heart Consent,” he wrote an essay for The Tab Warwick about why he didn’t “need” consent education. He included an image of him holding a sign that read “This is not what a rapist looks like.”

While the essay sparked a massive online debate as to whether or not Lawlor was, indeed, what a rapist looked like (hint: a rapist is defined by their actions, not their appearance) or whether the young man needs consent education (um, obviously), rarely did the conversation include why else one might want to practice consent in the sack.

Beyond the most baseline of, in Lawlor’s charming words, “Yes means yes, no means no. It’s really that simple,” consent can radically improve a sexual experience. Namely, practicing consent doesn’t just make for ethical, safer sex, but when done well, makes for more pleasurable sex, too.

Consent-based sexuality education models, such as the famous Dutch approach, boast overwhelmingly positive results. The majority of Dutch 12-25-year-olds report having “wanted and fun” first sexual experiences; by comparison 66% of American teens surveyed in 2004 said they wished they had waited longer.

Yet efforts to consistently include consent in the sexual conversation have often been met with a similar eye-rolling resistance to the “Just Say ‘No’ to Drugs” campaign.

Practicing consent in your sexual interactions isn’t just about gleaning a mandatory “Yes” to lazily check off that “Not Sexual Assault” box. It’s also about maintaining an ongoing conversation about the sex you’re having, punctuated not only by a singular “Yes” but by a series of enthusiastic, sheet-tearing, dehydrated comments, such as “Yes!!!!,” “F*ck yeah, don’t stop ever,” and “Yes, yes, yes, keep doing that — but lower — yes! Right there!”

Never have I given a partner a mind-blowing orgasm without asking questions, and never have I done so without hearing them yell the word “Yes!” at least once. Consent doesn’t just prevent you from being a bad person in bed; it makes you astronomically better there.

Here’s how:

1. Consent puts it in your mouth.

“Good communication is one of the main building blocks of good sex, and consent is all about good communication,” says Elle Chase, lead sex educator at the L.A. Academy of Sex Education. “Sensual wordplay (a.k.a. dirty talk) makes for salacious ongoing negotiation, without breaking the mood. Saying to your partner in a low whisper, ‘I really want you in my mouth right now’ can feel easier (and hotter) in the moment than ‘Is it OK if I go down on you?’ To give consent, repeat back their words while expressing your passion: ‘Yes, yes, put it in my mouth,’ or alternately, to deny consent, ‘Mmm, I’d rather keep kissing your soft lips.'”

2. Consent gets everyone in the game.

“Practicing consent lets you know that your partner is really into what you’re doing,” says somatic sex educator and relationship coach Charlie Glickman, Ph.D.. “Think about going to a football game or to an amusement park. Isn’t it more fun when you know that the people you’re with are enjoying it just as much as you are? Practicing consent lets you know that everyone is having a good time, which just makes sex better.” … CONTINUE READING…