Consent is active approval for all sexual acts. Consent is never passive; silence or lack of resistance does not equal consent. Consent cannot be obtained by manipulation, pressure (verbal or physical), threats, or intimidation. Persons who are under the influence of consciousness-altering substances, asleep or unconscious, or physically restrained cannot legitimately give consent. Nonconsensual acts constitute sexual assault. Below are some tips to help you practice healthy consent.
Ask before you act, every time. If you’re unsure that your partner is comfortable doing something, ask— even if you think you know how he or she is feeling. Asking about partners’ comfort can enhance the mood—make a game out of it or discuss it in language that’s comfortable for all.
- "What positions do you like?"
- "I think it's hot when..."
- "I liked that last time; right now I'm not in the mood."
- "What turns you on?"
Actively listen to your partners and respect their boundaries. This includes recognizing if your partner is too intoxicated to respond to you properly during sex and therefore unable to give consent. If consent is not given, or your partner cannot consent, stop what you’re doing.
Remember: No means no. Always respect your partners’ choices and respond to their boundaries.