There is a new post circulating Tumblr presenting the idea that consent can’t be sexy.

I mean, what’s sexier than whispering to your partner in great detail what you want? It can even set the mood. The post jokes that “If asking for consent ruins sex you’re what? A rapist who sucks at talking dirty.” Although amusing, this post misses the point. Consent can be sexy, and that’s a wonderful thing, but it’s not what’s most important here.

Stopping to ask someone point-blank if they want to have sex might be a mood killer to some (although I’m not sure why, if anything it just seems polite to me), but it’s often necessary. What’s said in the heat of the moment might not be an accurate representation of what a person wants. It’s easy to get carried away during sexy time, so dirty talk doesn’t necessarily mean that someone wants sex right then and there. They could just be really turned on, or excited by the idea but not quite ready for it to happen yet.

It’s understandable that people might get confused about whether or not their partners are down to tango. In situations like these, it’s important to never make assumptions about what the other person wants, but to ask plainly if a certain sexual act is welcome. It might not always be sexy when this happens, but sex can be awkward and gross and weird anyway, and that’s OK.

The Tumblr post is correct, consent doesn’t have to be awkward. It’s cute to say “May I?” to your partner before a kiss, and it’s great to check in by asking “Do you like this?” and “Are you ok with this?” But, emphasizing the “sexy” part of “consent” can send a dangerous message. Rather than feeding into movements like Consent is Sexy, why don’t we focus on the fact that consent is, above all, necessary? Sex without consent is rape, and that’s the least sexy thing of all. It’s traumatic and can impact survivors’ lives for years after. If asking someone for consent “kills the mood” and is too difficult to do, then maybe it’s time to rethink our priorities and the level of respect we have for others.