• Challenge myths about sex and consent, such as the stud vs. slut stereotype
  • Communicate with your partner about sex
  • Help you know and be able to communicate the type of sexual relationship you want
  • Know how to protect yourself and your partner against pregnancy and STIs
  • Acknowledge that you and your partner(s) have sexual needs and desires: Yes, it is okay for women and men to both want and enjoy sex
  • Know your personal beliefs and values and respect your partner’s personal beliefs and values
  • Confidence and self-esteem
  • Challenge stereotypes that rape is a women’s issue
  • Challenge sexism

“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

Asking for and obtaining consent… 

  • Shows that you have respect for both yourself and your partner
  • Enhances communication, respect, and honesty, which make sex and relationships better
  • Gives the ability to know and communicate about the type of sexual relationship you want
  • Aids in protecting yourself and your partner against STIs and pregnancy
  • Provides the opportunity to acknowledge that you and your partner(s) have sexual needs and desires
  • Allows for you to identify personal beliefs and values and respect your partner’s personal beliefs and values
  • Builds confidence and self-esteem
  • Promotes positive views on sex and sexuality
  • Is empowering
  • Eliminates the entitlement that one partner might feel over another
  • Challenges traditional stereotypes that sexual assault is a “women’s issue”
  • Challenges sexism and traditional views on gender and sexuality

Show your partner that you respect her/him enough to ask about her/his sexual needs and desires. If you are not accustomed to communicating with your partner about sex and sexual activity the first few times may feel awkward. But, practice makes perfect. Be creative and spontaneous. Don’t give up. The more times you have these conversations with your partner, the more comfortable you will become communicating about sex and sexual activity. Your partner may also find the situation awkward at first, but over time you will both be more secure in yourselves and your relationship. While consent can be sexy, it is always mandatory.

The only way to know for sure if someone has given consent is if they tell you. One of the best ways to determine if someone is uncomfortable with any situation, especially with a sexual one, is to simply ask. Here are some examples of the questions you might ask: 

  • Is there anything you don’t want to do?
  • I really want to hug/kiss… you. Can I? What do you want to do with me?
  • Have you ever…? Would you like to try it with me?
  • Are you comfortable?
  • Do you want to stop?
  • Do you want to go further?

Alcohol and other drugs (including marijuana) can affect a person’s ability to make decisions, including whether or not they want to be sexual with someone else. It also impairs the ability to give consent and one’s ability to accurately interpret whether the other person you’re with is capable of giving consent.

It’s also important to know that often perpetrators use alcohol as a way to target individuals and to “excuse” their own actions. Alcohol does not cause someone to be abusive. Sexual violence and assault is about power and control, not the result of alcohol usage.

Remember, an absence of “no” does not mean “yes.”
Here are some ways that your partner’s body language can let you know that you do NOT have consent: 

  • Not responding to your touch
  • Pushing you away
  • Holding their arms tightly around their bodies
  • Turning away from you or hiding their face
  • Stiffening muscles
  • Tears

If you are starting to feel uncomfortable, you always have the right to slow things down or stop altogether. Here are things you could say to let your partner know that you don’t want to go any further: 

  • I don’t want to go any further than kissing, hugging, touching
  • Can we stay like this for a while?
  • Can we slow down?

Below are some things you can say or do if you want to stop:

  • No
  • I want to stop
  • I’m not comfortable doing this anymore
  • That’s enough for now
  • I need to go to the bathroom

Interested in having a Consent 101 Presentation? Reach out to Allie Halbert, Prevention & Outreach Coordinator for the Relationship & Sexual Violence Prevention Office in the Health Promotion Department at 706-542-8690.

If you have been impacted by interpersonal violence and are looking for help—RSVP advocates are available 24 hours a day at 706-542-SAFE.

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.