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Consent 101- The theory of the base system

Humans are sexual beings, we love to be observed, noticed and most times, touched by the opposite sex. It all starts with the initial attraction phase; the chase is everything… from going on dates, to the late-night conversations up until that first kiss, which starts this article off as what we describe as the first base.

The base system, which has been around for decades is essentially a baseball metaphor for sex.  The system which is used to measure the degree of physical intimacy during sexual encounters, first became popular among American teens, ranging from first to third base, and then home run. Let’s break it down in details; first base being the old fashion French kissing, second base entails making out with hands on body parts (heavy petting) and third base is pretty much anything below the belt, like oral sex. Finally, home run is the act of having sex.

Most females use the base system as a method of restriction in order to take things slow, while males use it as a guide on how far they can go, but at the same time enjoying physical interaction from the opposite sex. While many argue that any sexual contact is an automatic green light to full sexual consent, others argue that boundaries shouldn’t be crossed, when agreed upon.

The Big Brother Nigeria (BBN) incident with TBoss and Kemen is one of the most recent examples that went viral when Kemen was disqualified for appearing to grope TBoss without her consent. The country went absolutely crazy discussing rape culture. While the majority of the BBN fans on Twitter were convinced that TBoss was almost raped, others felt TBoss led him on and essentially gave him the psychological impression that it was okay. The furore revealed widely differing views on the issue with the bone of  contention being, “When does no really mean no?”

“No means no, I might be comfortable stopping at second base and he should be okay with that” – anonymous 23-year-old female

The belief that sex without consent is considered to be the criteria for rape cases is a worldwide phenomenon. While it is also quite risky putting oneself in a situation where rape is possible, many believe that the sole decision for sex to take place lies with both parties. Essentially if he or she says no at some stage, even after both parties are naked, it is rape.  In BBN, TBoss had been accused of being at fault because she had some previous sexual interaction with Kemen, which might have given him the “go ahead” impression. An anonymous tweet called her out as the main instigator tweeting, “TBoss bared her breasts, what was she expecting?”

While the theory of consent is simple enough, proving consent did/didn’t occur can be quite tricky because communication can be confusing. Many would argue that in the heat of the moment, no could actually seem like yes. People communicate through body language as well as verbally and physical cues can be misleading. People can also change their minds. In TBoss’s case, prior alcohol consumption made her incapable of giving her consent as she was basically passed out and intoxicated. She didn’t object but nor did she give consent. Consent must be clearly sought and received before proceeding with sexual advances.

At the end of the day, the base system relies on both parties being respectful of each other’s choices.  Although females tend to have the upper hand and the final say, consent is an agreement between both parties. Understanding where your partner’s mind is sexually should never be taken for granted; if you can’t stick to the base then you should probably exclude yourself from the game.

 

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Africa

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