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Prevention Education and Advocacy

Asking for Consent is Sexy!

Talking about sex can be uncomfortable, and even scary for some. You may never have asked before, or feel like it’s awkward. Regardless, you should always ask for consent if you want to engage in any sexual acts with your partner. Consent means an active and verbal “yes”, when both parties agree to have sex, or engage in sexual activities. There is a clear understanding between the parties about what you are consenting to. Consent is freely given, without coercion, force, threats, intimidation, or pressure.

 

Few key points about consent:

  • It is always okay to say no, and consent can be withdrawn at anytime. When consent is withdrawn, all sexual activity must stop.
  • Consent should never be assumed or implied, even if you have a current or previous dating/sexual relationship.
  • Silence or not responding is not consent. The absence of a no does not mean yes.
  • Anyone can ask for consent, and anyone can say no.
  • A yes is not consent when someone is intimidated, pressured, or feels afraid of how his or her partner may react to a no response.
  • Sometimes we think that what we say and what we mean is clear to the other person, when it’s not. “Do you want to come back to my place?” or “Let’s hang out” with positive response does not mean that that person is consenting to sexual activity. They are consenting to going back to your place, and hanging out.
  • Sometimes, dating/sexual partners develop code words, or inside jokes, as a way to communicate that one desires sexual interaction. This is okay, as long as there is clear communication about what that term or joke means.
  • Keep in mind that alcohol increases misperceptions because it reduces the person’s ability to analyze what is in front of them, and may aid in mistaking actions for inviting sexual interactions, when in fact it was just a friendly correspondence.

So, now that you know a little more about consent, you may be wondering: where is the fun in that? You can ask for sex in a clear and respectful way, but still have fun and be sexy with it.


Ways to Ask for Consent:

  • “How far are you comfortable going tonight?”
  • “Are you okay with me doing this?”
  • “Do you want to make out?”
  • “Do you want to have sex?”
  • “I think it’s hot when we ______, do you want to do this?”
  •  “It feels really good when you do __________, do you want to do this to me?”

Consent is about communication. Make sure to have clear, respectful, and fun communication with your partner about each others’ desires, boundaries, and needs.