Just because someone doesn’t say “no” does not mean they are saying “yes.” There are many situations when someone might not be able to say no; this could be because they are asleep or unconscious, they are intoxicated, they are scared, they are in shock, they are disassociated and the list goes on. Consent is an honest and fearless “yes” every time.
Just because you are in a relationship does not mean you have permission to have sex with your partner whenever you choose, or that you should have sex when you don’t feel like it. Even if you’ve had sex hundreds of times before, consent must happen each time and every time.
Coercion is when someone feels pressured or forced to perform sexually. If you are saying things to manipulate your partner into feeling obligated to be sexually intimate, that is not true consent. Statements like…
…are examples of coercion. Allow your partner to communicate what they do and do not want, and be brave enough to do the same.
If your partner is too drunk to drive, they are too drunk to consent to sexual activity. If you are really interested in someone while you are drunk or while they are drunk, waiting until all people involved are sober is the best way to make sure everyone feels safe, happy, secure, and valued.
Once a person says “no” it does not matter if or what kind of sexual behavior has previously happened earlier that day, that month, or that year. It does not matter if the relationship just started, if you just met, or if you are a couple. If one partner does not give an honest “yes” and the other partner forces or coerces penetration – it is rape.
No matter what a person verbalizes, consent cannot be given if they are:
Remember that consent is willing, knowingly, sober, informed, and is an equal exchange of power.
For more information about consent, such as how to get it and what to do if you don’t, check out our blog.