I love The Lonely Island. The trio is formed by Akiva Schaffer, Andy Samberg and Jorma Taccone. Their music is a mix of hip-hop, rap and humour, all in one. Their songs, for instance, sometimes mock stereotypes in hip-hop, popular culture or laugh at male sexual dysfunctions.
In 2011, The Lonely Island released their second album, Turtleneck & Chain, and the single I Just Had Sex, featuring Akon, an American R&B singer, was their first single from that album.
At a first glance, the song is funny. Two guys share their experience of just having sex, probably for the first time. They talk about how really, really brief it was and besides being their first time, it probably won’t be the most memorable one for their respective partner (“the best thirty seconds of my life“). If you watch the music video, starring Jessica Alba and Blake Lively, this is even more obvious.
Yet, when you listen to it a second a time (or more), you realize how much emphasis is put on the woman’s consent of having sex with them. For instance (words in bold are a personal emphasis) :
“A girl let me do it, it literally just happened”
“A woman let me put my penis inside of her”
“To be honest, I’m surprised she even wanted me to do it“
“I’m so humbled by a girl’s ability to let me (…)“
Basically, beyond the humour, this song is about consent and how, unlike a lot of rap songs, the girl’s consent determines it all. The woman’s consent is put first, before the guy’s satisfaction or his personal pride that he just had sex with her. Although they are aware that it was not the best experience (“she kept looking at her watch” (…) “she put a bag on my head“), they are thankful and appreciative that the girls WANTED to have sex with them.
But basically, what is consent? The Canadian Criminal Code defines it as “the voluntary agreement of the complainant to engage in the sexual activity in question” (s. 273.1(1)). Section 273.1(2) of the Code gives examples when there is a lack of consent:
(2) No consent is obtained, for the purposes of sections 271, 272 and 273, where
(a) The agreement is expressed by the words or conduct of a person other than the complainant;
(b) The complainant is incapable of consenting to the activity;
(c) The accused induces the complainant to engage in the activity by abusing a position of trust, power or authority;
(d) The complainant expresses, by words or conduct, a lack of agreement to engage in the activity; or
(e) The complainant, having consented to engage in sexual activity, expresses, by words or conduct, a lack of agreement to continue to engage in the activity.
So, what we can understand from this is that there is no consent when:
(a) Someone consents for you;
(b) You’re unable to actually consent: you’re unconscious on a bed (for example);
(c) The abuser is in a position of power, trust or authority over you: your boss or your teacher (for example);
(d) You don’t consent, whether it’s by words or actions, to the sexual activity: in other words, no means no, whether you said it or acted as such;
(e) You’ve expressed consent, whether by words or actions, to engage in the sexual activity, but then you’ve expressed, whether by words or actions, that you no longer consent to the sexual activity: you can change your mind and say no at any given time.
Consent is important when having sex, but it is not always easy to notice. It’s not as simple as “your lips say no, but your body says yes”. Everyone should know that they always have the right to speak up if they are scared, confused or just don’t want to go any further. More importantly, since good communication is key, when in doubt, it’s good to ask your partner how they feel: if they want to stop or continue. If they do want to stop, respect their decision. Expressing consent, while not guaranteeing a wonderful experience, shows respect between the partners.
Written by: Taylor T.