Sexual consent is not as simple as many people think. While an individual can give consent in person and be fully cognizant of his or her actions, that does not legally constitute full consent. Some partners prefer less conventional sexual relationships, which can bring harm or injury to each other. Even though consent is given between partners, consent is not necessarily legally conferred due to unintended bodily harm. In some cases, sex acts can seem legal while being potentially illegal at the same time. This situation leads to what is known as consensual non-consensuality.
In some situations, couples can even create a contract that state their commitment to consent, which outlines clearly what is and is not allowed by each person. These dungeon contracts, as they can be known, aim to avoid sexual abuse during unconventional sex acts. They establish safeword communications to end the sex act if one partner feels endangered or uncomfortable. It is also possible to draft less long-term contracts, which may supply consent for a few hours or over-night.
Several acts between BDSM-engaging couples or groups would be considered a violation of any number of sex crime laws if clear consent were not a factor. Some acts would move beyond sex crimes, into human rights violations, if consent where not given by all of those involved.
In the case of personal injury and tort law, even consensual contracts can be insufficient to defend those inflicting injury on others. Sexual consent, according to the law, only extends to the sex act. Any injuries that could occur are rarely covered by these contracts, and can be grounds for legal action. To learn more about how someone can give consent while not legally doing so, contact a sex crimes attorney for more information.