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Sexual Precedent’s Effect on Sexual Consent Communication

28 November 2019
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Publication date
23 April 2019

Original abstract

Sexual consent is one’s voluntary, sober, and conscious willingness to engage in a particular sexual behavior with a particular person within a particular context. Sexual precedent theory posits that people believe that engaging in consensual sex at one point in time implies consent to later sexual encounters with that person. By assuming consent once a sexual precedent is set, people may rely less on communication cues. We sought to provide quantitative support for the claim that sexual precedent influences sexual consent in people’s sexual relationships. To capture variability across sexual experiences, we collected daily sexual behavior data from each participant (n = 84) over a period of 30 days. We found a curvilinear relationship between sexual history with a partner and how people perceived consent during sexual activity with that partner (p = .003, ∆R2 = .089). A piecewise regression revealed that participants were less likely to report consent communication cues as sexual precedent increased until about 575 previous sexual behaviors (p = .003, R2 = .122); after this point, participants were more likely to report consent communication cues as sexual precedent increased (p = .028, R2 = .179). Overall, we provide the first quantitative evidence that consent conceptualization varies both within the person and across relationships regarding sexual precedent. In our discussion, we emphasize that sexual consent is contextual and cannot be assumed even after previous sexual encounters.

Reference
Malachi, W., Jozkowski, K.N. (2019). Sexual Precedent’s Effect on Sexual Consent Communication.. Archives of Sexual Behavior, Vol. 48 (6), pp. 1723-1734. DOI: 10.1007/s10508-018-1348-7.

Request the entire article from the authors
https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10508-018-1348-7

Sexual consent: Sexual precedent, Communication

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