Think about the last time you had a sexual encounter. Did you get consent before moving to the next level? Did you give consent before your partner moved forward? Not sure? Well, read on to understand the ins and outs of consent.
What is consent?
Consent is an agreement between partners to engage in sexual activity. Consent is given freely with the clear understanding of what each partner wants and is okay with. Verbal consent is especially important in new relationships. Nonverbal consent, such as moaning or pulling someone closer, can be used once partners feel comfortable with one another. Consent is never coerced or assumed- regardless of the length of the relationship or previous encounters.
What if he or she is drunk or high?
Many think that it is okay to “hookup” when they are drunk or high, however a person cannot give consent to sexual behaviors when their decision-making process is thrown off by alcohol or other drugs. No answer is not a “yes”, so having sex with someone who is incoherent or passed out is sexual assault. If you see someone at a party slurring their words or stumbling, make sure they get home safely with people that they can trust.
It’s okay to say No.
• Say the word no firmly. If your partner is confused then explain that you are not comfortable.
• Don’t feel pressured by lines like “you’re a prude” or “all of your friends are doing it.” Any reason behind your “no” is reason enough!
• Be assertive. Be confident. Be direct.
Remember, consent is key to any sexual activity. Be sure to listen to the words of your partner and to examine their body language. They say “it takes two to tango”, and it definitely takes two to engage in consensual sex!
Written by Desiree Heller, Volunteer