When we talk about consent, I think most of us would like to have some kind of a baseline, a mandatory level of consent that must be there in order to proceed. I know I would sure like to have that.
But there are some women who don't want to consent—who don't want to give permission—who, in fact, want to say "no" and mean it and have it done to them anyway, despite the fact that they hate it.
My wife, Elle, is one of them.
Elle and I found a way around the issue of consent. We found a path that allowed her to not have to give permission.
It's called forgiveness.
A while back, she looked at me with irritation in her eyes and exhaustion in her voice. She said to me, "Please don't do this! Just... Just please don't do this!" She then turned away in disgust.
What I was doing that she hated so much was talking to her, trying to find out what I could do that she could agree to. The truth is that there was nothing she was going to agree to, because agreeing would ruin it.
So I asked her, "If I get it wrong, will you forgive me?" She turned back to me with a ray of hope in her eyes—mixed with a lot of irritation.
After a deep breath and some thought, she said, "I love you. I'm not going to leave you, ever. I'm not going to stop loving you, ever... Yes, I will forgive you. I may hate you for a while, I may get revenge, I may make you pay dearly for it, but I won't run home to mother... and I will forgive you... eventually."
"... BUT ONLY IF YOU SHUT UP ABOUT IT AND JUST DO IT!" Her face turned bright red with a combination of anger and embarrassment.
That was part of what allowed me to do what I did last week. While I was doing it, she hated it. She was mad. She wanted me to stop. She shouted at me and told me "no" in no uncertain terms—and she meant it.
Afterward, despite her threats of grudge-holding, she forgave me almost immediately. Her revenge and hatred have so far been avoided (although I did tell her that I might enjoy a little revenge).
She didn't tell me not to do it again.
In the five days since, she has given me many passionate hugs and kisses and has seductively bent over just about every piece of furniture in the house that is of the appropriate height.
I must not have gotten it wrong.
For the future, I still have nothing more than a promise of forgiveness—not a new one, just the same promise I had before.
No, there does not need to be consent. And please do not suggest that a promise to forgive is consent—at least, not within earshot of Elle. If she heard something like that, she would withdraw the promise.