Sexual activity is best when everyone involved is clear-headed and enthusiastic about what they are doing.
- Understand that exerting power and control over another through sex is always unacceptable conduct.
- Never make assumptions about consent, about whether someone is attracted to you, how far you can go with that person, or if the individual is physically and mentally able to consent. If you have questions or are unclear, you don’t have consent.
- Ask for consent at every escalation of sexual activity. For example, consent to kissing is not consent to sexual touching, and consent to sexual touching is not consent to intercourse.
- Keep communication open throughout sexual activity. Periodically check in with your partner verbally to make sure they are comfortable. You may think your partner is comfortable, but they may be intimidated or scared. The only way to know is to ask and be open to any answer.
- Tell your partner that it is okay to say no at any point. Mean it.
- Make sure that your partner is able to consent with full understanding. Any alcohol or drug use may prevent your partner from giving knowing consent. If you do not know your potential partner well enough to determine how intoxicated they are, ask them how intoxicated they are and actively discuss consent. The best way to ensure consent is to wait until no party is intoxicated.
- If a potential partner says “no” to any type of sexual activity, accept it and don’t push. Asking over and over may pressure someone to say yes when they do not want to. This is not consent.
- Be on the lookout for mixed messages. If your partner is changing their mind, seems unsure, is emotionally up and down, or makes you feel confused, back off. Do not engage in any sexual activity until your partner is clear and enthusiastic about what they want.
- Your partner may change their mind at any point. Don’t push, pressure, or pout.
- People who are scared or uncomfortable often freeze. Silence and passivity are usually indicators of discomfort or non-consent. Again, stop and check in with your partner.
- If you are feeling uncomfortable in any way, your partner probably feels the same.
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