Ah, the somewhat awkward, moment-killing, dreaded question. But it’s important to know, right?? Just because you’re getting hot and heavy, doesn’t mean that reaching for the condom without checking in with your partner is okay. Maybe your partner isn’t as into it as you think or they want to do try something new in the bedroom that you would never even consider doing. Clarity is key. I know, asking “Do you want to have sex?” might not be the sexiest question you could ask your partner, but you can make it unique, and you can make it sexy. “Do you like that?” “I really like it when you touch me here, but not there.” “How are you?” “Are you okay with that?” “I love it when you do that.”
Sex is an act that two or more people participate in together. It’s not one person doing something to another. Any sexual activity requires consent, and asking questions and checking in with each other is the perfect way to practice that.
“Do I have to say the word ‘yes’ to give consent?” If you want to be clear and enthusiastic, then, yes! Say yes or no to whatever sexual activity you feel like doing at that time. You can also show that you’re completely engaged in the sexual activity with your actions: smiling, murmuring, “mmm hmm,” taking off your clothes, or directing your partner’s touch. These actions communicate that you’re enjoying it and want this too! But just because a partner consents to one thing doesn’t mean they’re consenting to everything.
Your actions can also say NO. This would look like your partner putting their clothes back on, refraining from eye contact, or being silent. If your partner shows discomfort, check in. Ask how they’re doing. Isn’t it sexier when both of you are enjoying yourselves?
“What if I change my mind?” Consent is given freely to your partner, and it CANNOT be given by force, coercion, manipulation, or intimidation. Sexual activity under any of these circumstances qualifies as sexual assault or rape. It might sound like: “Come on, I thought you loved me;” “But you promised we would have sex tonight.” Consent is YOURS to give and, therefore, yours to take back at any time. Don’t feel badly about stopping the sexual activity, even mid-way through.
Consent is NEVER implied because you’ve been dating or have had sex before. It’s a case-by-case basis. You would never assume that your roommate will cook you dinner every night, just because they did last night.
If you’re too drunk to drive a car, you’re too drunk to give consent. You have to be able to choose without impaired judgment, and when alcohol is involved, you really can’t do that.
Remember, Consent is sexy, so ask questions and communicate with each other! Not only will you have an amazing time, but you’ll be in control of you sex life, which is what we all want, right?
Check out Laci Green’s youtube video on consent:
- 1 in 4 college women will have experienced an attempted or completed sexual assault in their 4 years of undergrad.
- 1 in 10 men report being sexually assaulted.
- 60% of rapes are unreported, and only 3% of rapists will ever spend a day in prison.
- The first 6 weeks of freshmen year are when college women are most at risk for a sexual assault. This is known as “The Red Zone.”
- Most college-aged sexual perpetrators carry out an average of 6 assaults each.
- For on-campus counseling, call The Counseling Center at 410-704-2512.
- For 24-hour rape crisis intervention and advocacy, call Turnaround at 443-279-0379.
- To report an assault to the university, call Towson’s Title IX Coordinator at 410-704-2360.
- To report an assault to the police, call TUPD at 410-704-4444 or Baltimore County/City police at 911.
Writing by Kelly Bryan
Sexual Assault Response and Prevention Peer Educator
The Counseling Center
Resources by Maria Wydra, Ph.D.
Staff Psychologist, Sexual Assault Services Coordinator
The Counseling Center