It’s Time to Look, Listen & Ask
Real consent is mutual and sure. It is not muted, frail, hesitant, or afraid. It is never uncertain, assumed, or silent.
Consent cannot be gained through manipulation, intimidation, or threatening behaviour. A person who is intoxicated with alcohol or drugs can’t give consent. Consent cannot be given by a person who is passed out or asleep. Consent must be continuous and can be withdrawn at any time during sex.
Sex without enthusiastic consent is not sex at all. It’s sexual assault or rape.
Make sure everyone is into it before you get into it.
Talking about consent can be one of the most appealing traits that a partner can have. It is important to always check-in with yourself and the people you are engaging with on a sexual level to ensure that everyone is comfortable and enthusiastic about the actions that are taking place. By checking in with our own bodies, we give ourselves the opportunity to call attention to parts of ourselves that we sometimes overlook. This routine, can also give us the chance to revisit the way experiences have affected us. If we feel inclined to, we can decide to share this with the people we are deciding to engage with. As well, by checking in with the other person, we offer the opportunity for them to tell us about their bodies and experiences.
Body language is really hard to interpret. The action of engaging in a discussion about consent allows for verbal clarification. Even if you are a whiz at reading body language, if your partner gives non-verbal signs of consent, stop to verbally ask for their consent and checkin with them periodically to ensure they are still comfortable. In addition, be open to the possibility that they may change
their mind at any time. Just because someone has said yes, doesn’t mean that they don’t have the right to change their mind. By maintaining communication and continuous check-in’s, this opens up the door for a conversation around how the person is feeling and also allows for some adjustments for greater enjoyment and intimacy.
“NO” Messages to Look and Listen for:
LOOK FOR NON-VERBAL MESSAGES
such as body language that shows discomfort or disinterest. For example: silence, lack of eye contact, turning their body away, sleeping or pretending to sleep, pushing away, crossing arms or not responding.
LISTEN FOR VERBAL STATEMENT LIKE…
- I’m not sure if I’m ready.
- I’m uncomfortable.
- I don’t know if I want to.
- That hurts.
- I think I’ve had too much to drink.
- I’m scared.
HOW TO ASK?
- Can I kiss you?
- Could I hold your hand?
- Would you like a hug?
- Are there things that are turn-offs for you?
- When getting sexy with someone, are there things about your body that you would like the other person to be aware of?
- Are you interested in exploring a sexual relationship with me?
- How far do you think you would be comfortable going?
- Have you ever done…? Would you like to try this with me?
- I’d really like to… what do you think?
- You seem quiet… are you sure?
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