“Never assume. Ask before you proceed. A good lover is a good listener. A bad listener is at best a bad lover and at worst a rapist.” 1
I love this quote because it shows how important it is to give consent before having sex.
What exactly is consent?!
Consent is an active process of willingly and freely choosing to have sex with someone. Lets break this down:
- Not saying ‘no’ doesn’t mean ‘yes’. Just because you and your partner haven’t talked about it or explicitly said you didn’t want to have sex, doesn’t mean that a ‘yes’ should be assumed.
- No one can force you to give consent. Saying ‘yes’ to sex is an active process on both partners’ ends.
- Giving consent has to happen at every stage of the relationship.Moving from one level to the next means you and your partner have to give consent. So moving from ‘second base’ to ‘third base’ (whatever that is), means both of you have to give consent each time. Giving consent is not something we do, instead it is something we're doing (or not) throughout the whole time that you are ‘doing it’!
- No one should assume consent.Just because you are in a relationship with someone doesn’t mean you automatically agree to having sex. It is not implied or assumed. Being in a relationship doesn’t automatically mean you have permission to have sex with your partner.
- By law, someone that is drunk or high can’t give consent.If you or your partner is too intoxicated to make any decisions, you definitely can’t give consent to having sex!
- I think this is the most important thing about giving consent: BOTH partners have to give consent. Just because one person says yes, doesn’t necessarily mean the other partner has agreed to having sex. Giving consent is an important part of a healthy relationship, and openly talking about having sex is the first step to reaching that healthy level.
Now that you know what consent is and what it means to give consent, make sure you understand how to give consent. There are so many different ways to say ‘yes’. Take a look at this poster, which offers real ways to give and get consent that is not gendered!
If you think you need more information, feel free to check out the other resources we have on our site on Abuse and Dating violence by clicking here. Consent is SEXY and anyone that tells you otherwise, doesn’t know what they are talking about.
1. Yisrael, D.S. (2005, June). Wimps, studs, virgins, and bad girls: How gender roles affect sexual health and everything else. Session conducted at the annual meeting of the American College Health Association, San Diego, CA.