Sexual Consent: What you should have learned in Health Class

What is Appropriate Sexual Consent?

Rule 1: Only an enthusiastic yes means yes. Everything else is no. Consent means hearing the word “yes.” Silence isn’t consent. “Maybe” isn’t consent. “I guess so” isn’t consent and if you hear no, you stop whatever you are doing.

Rule 2: Talk about it. Don’t make assumptions about what someone is comfortable with in general or sexually. It’s up to both of you to learn each other’s limits. That’s why you ask questions like “Do you feel comfortable moving to the next level?” Trust is key. Never assume you have a yes; it’s not up to the other person to say “no”; it’s up to you to listen for the “yes”.

Rule 3: Permission is non-negotiable. Nothing you’ve already done gives you permission to do the next thing.

You’re kissing; she’s totally into it; that must mean it’s okay to get your hand under her shirt. Wrong.

You’re naked, and you’re all over each other; that must mean it’s okay to have intercourse. Nope.

The truth is that unless you’re involved in a regular relationship and have already worked out a set of rules, every time you go to the next level you’ve got to get consent. Maybe this doesn’t sound romantic to you. Well, it depends on how you do it and how you bring it up. By both of you knowing you’re doing, and what you want, the potential for a great experience is better than it is if one person is getting off and the other is bored, uncomfortable, or scared.

Rule 4: No one can’t give consent if they are drunk or stoned. If a person is too intoxicated to know what they are doing, then they can’t give consent.

Rule 5: “No” means stop. If a person decides in the middle of an intimate moment that they don’t want to continue all previous yes’s are null and void. Whatever you were doing comes to an end, until you’re both consenting again.

Rule 6: Date with empathy. Every approach, every sexual encounter, every romance you are part of, do your best to ensure that the person not only enjoys the experience but that it enriches their lives and is better off for having had it.

Rule 7: Be safe and compassionate: Safe sex is mandatory. However, there is no such thing as safe love. It is a risk of the heart. But it is well worth the reward.

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