When it comes to sexual intimacy, the new standard for dating is ‘explicit consent’, according to a new campaign launched this week by Make Your Move, part of Missoula City County Relationship Violence Services.

Prevention Specialist Brenna Merrill said ‘explicit consent’ is a clarification of new laws passed in the 2017 legislature that redefined consent in sexual crime statutes.

“The laws originally had to prove that force was used in the commission of a rape,” Merrill said. “However, most rapes don’t include force. Sometimes it’s someone you know and trust and then, all of a sudden, someone is assaulting you, and you can freeze up. The new definition of consent means that you clearly know your partner agrees to that sexual activity. You want to know that your partner is interested, so you ask beforehand.”

Merrill said ‘explicit consent’ can actually enhance the intimacy of the moment when both people understand clearly what the activity will include.

“Being able to be clear, and say, ‘Hey, I am interested in trying this new thing’, or, ‘Hey, are you OK in going this far?’ Having those conversations before, but also during the activity, making sure your partner is feeling good about it.”

Merrill said there are videos and posters dramatizing the message online at ‘make consent explicit dot org.’

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