What is Sexy?
- Sexy is talking about sex with your partner. About how far you want to go. About what you like to do. As well as about what you don’t want to do. About your boundaries.
- Sexy is being listened to by your partner – because that shows caring and respect.
- Sexy is being open and honest. Open and honest communication means being able to say ‘no’, and having ‘no’ accepted and respected.
- Sexy is acknowledging that you and your partner have sexual needs and desires. So it’s normal for women and men to want to have sex. And it’s normal to enjoy sex.
- Sexy is respecting yourself . By being clear and confident about your own personal beliefs and values. And by standing up for them.
- Sexy is respecting your partner. By acknowledging your partner’s personal values and beliefs. And accepting them.
- Sexy is being informed about how to protect yourself and your partner against HIV and STDs (sexually transmitted diseases), and unplanned pregnancy. And taking responsibility for those decisions.
What is Consent?
- Consent to have sex is when both people agree to have sex. But it’s not just allowing something, or giving permission – it’s knowing that you BOTH really want and desire each other.
- Consent should be mutual, voluntary, sober, wanted, enthusiastic, creative and sexy!
- Consent should never be coerced, implied or assumed, even if you’re in a relationship. Just because you are in a relationship doesn’t mean that you always have consent to have sex with your partner.
- Consent must be talked about and agreed upon; if you want to move to the next level of sexual intimacy – just ask!
- Consent cannot legally be given by someone who is intoxicated. Someone may be responsible for being drunk, or high, but they are never responsible for being assaulted.
- If you do not ask for consent, you are at risk of doing something the other person doesn’t want you to do. You might disrespect and hurt someone. You are also at risk of breaking the law and facing criminal charges.
- Touching someone’s – breasts, genitals or buttocks – without consent is sexual assault. So is making someone touch you. Any form of sexual activity with another person without her or his consent is sexual assault. If you don’t have consent then you could go to prison for assault.
What is not consent?
- Silence, or not responding – is not consent. When someone says “Yes”, because they feel pressured, or are afraid of how their partner might react to a “No” response, it is not consent.
- “I’m not sure if I’m ready.” “I don’t know if I want to.” “I think I’ve had too much to drink.” “I don’t want to get AIDS.” “I’m scared.” – All these statements mean “No”.
- Sometimes, we think we mean one thing when we are saying something else.
Here are two examples that are not asking for consent for sex:
• “Do you want to go back to my place?” (consent only to go back to your place)
• “Should we get it on?” (unclear exactly what activity is intended).
Why is consent sexy?
- Sex is always sexiest when BOTH partners desire it – without any feelings of pressure, intimidation or fear.
- When he asks you for consent it shows he respects you, cares how you feel, cares about what you want – and that’s sexy. Giving him consent shows you want him as much as he wants you – and that’s sexy!
- When you ask her for consent it shows you respect her, care how she feels, care about what she wants – and that’s sexy. Giving you consent shows she wants you as much as you want her – and that’s sexy!
- Consent is about confident, open, real communication. And, respecting boundaries. The practice of consent will naturally create a more caring, more responsive, respectful love life for you both – and that’s sexy!
How can you make consent sexy?
- Consent is really about communication. It starts with getting to know each other. Finding out what you like and dislike. Learning what you have in common, and what is different. Discovering each other’s hopes and fears. Desires and dreams. Sharing how you grew up, who you are now, your plans for the future. And, if there is a sexual attraction between you, then talking about sex will naturally flow out of this conversation. How important is sex in a relationship? When should you become sexually active in a relationship? What do you want, what are you looking for, sexually? What turns you on? What turns you off? What are your limits? How fast or slow do you want to go? Talking about questions like these can be fun and interesting. And, can tell you a lot about whether you are both sexually compatible. Much better to know this BEFORE you begin a sexual relationship!
- An important part of this conversation must be about how to protect each other against HIV, STDs, and unplanned pregnancy. And take responsibility for those decisions – act on them!
- If you are not accustomed to talking with your partner about sex then the first few times you discuss sex may feel uncomfortable and awkward. But, practise 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, the easier it gets!
Will asking for consent kill the mood?
- No. It should make you both feel closer and more connected, more respected.
- If the mood can be ruined with a question, it probably wasn’t so hot to begin with.
- The mood is really ruined when your partner feels uncomfortable, disrespected, or unsafe.
How do you ask for consent?
- You may feel that asking for consent makes sex too formal. But, it doesn’t need to be. It can be very simple, ‘Is this OK with you?’ Or it can be as hot, as creative, and as sexy as you want to make it! Discovering what your partner enjoys doing sexually, then being able to do that for her, or him, can be very sexy.
Some ways you can ask for consent:
- I’d really like to hug / kiss / …… you. Would you like to?
- Do you like it when I do this?
- Is it OK if I take off my shirt / top / bra / pants ?
- What would do you like me to do for you?
- It makes me hot when you kiss / touch / ….. me there. What makes you hot?
- I really feel like makin’ love to you, ……… Do you feel like it too?
- Have you ever …. ? Would you like to try it with me?
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Must consent always be spoken?
- This is something for you to explore with your partner. Some lovers want to be asked every step, every time. Some couples make spoken consent a rule for the first few times, and once they’ve developed a trust and understanding – then relax into something more unspoken, more intuitive.
- Whatever you decide – be gentle, go slowly. Particularly the first few times, until you know each other better. Be present and be sensitive. Never force anything. Be awake to small signals – if you notice that your partner might be tensing and resisting – then stop and relax.
- Accept that things change – what you or your partner wanted before may not be what is wanted now.
- Remember – sex is making love – it should always be loving!
“No” means “No”
- ‘No’ means it’s time to stop.
- It doesn’t mean ‘slow down’.
- It doesn’t mean ‘keep trying until I give in’.
- It doesn’t mean ‘Yes, but I don’t want to give in too easily’.
- ‘You’re not my type’ means ‘No’.
- ‘Please stop’ means ‘No’.
- ‘Don’t touch me’ means ‘No’.
- ‘No’ means ‘No’ and everyone should respect this.
- ‘I’m not sure if I’m ready’ means ‘No’.
- ‘I don’t know if I want to’ means ‘No’.
- ‘I think I’ve had too much to drink’ means ‘No’.
- ‘I don’t want to get AIDS’ means ‘No’.
- ‘I’m scared’ means ‘No’.
- ‘Not now’ means NO
Non-verbal messages such as lack of eye contact, crossing arms, not responding, or pulling away, can be signs of discomfort, anxiety or fear. In this case – stop immediately.
How to say “No”
Remember – if you want to say ‘No’ say it like you mean it! With a strong voice and LOUDLY if you have to! Don’t say it like you’re sorry. Don’t say it with a smile, or in a sexy whisper – which can be confusing and gives the wrong message
• I don’t want to have sex right now.
• I am not comfortable with you touching me – please stop.
• I am not sure where this is going – but I want us to talk about our expectations.
• I appreciate you inviting me over, or offering to walk me home. I just want to be clear that this does not mean I am going to have sex with you.
If you like him/her:
• I like you a lot, but I am not ready for a sexual relationship.
• I want to get to know you better before I consider sex. How about we go to a movie?
Be clear about your limits:
• You may agree to have some forms of sexual activity but not others. If the person tries to go further than you agreed to, firmly say STOP. Do not apologise.
Remember it’s okay to change your mind:
• I am no longer comfortable doing this. Please stop.
Respond assertively to guilt tactics or pressure:
• I have already told you that I am not interested in having sex. You are not listening to me / respecting me.
• Stop trying to convince me, I am not going to change my mind.
• Whether I like / love you is not the issue.
When he/she won’t stop after you have said ‘No’:
• STOP! (raise your voice – shout if you need to). I am leaving / I want you to leave!
What if i’m too excited to stop?
- It can be uncomfortable to stop or slow down when you are in the middle of things, but no matter how excited you are, if your partner asks you to stop – ALWAYS respect that.
- You or your partner have the right to say ‘No’ at anytime – even if you or your partner said ‘Yes’ earlier, and later change your minds.
Are you man enough to accept “No”?
- Sure, it’s not always easy – but you don’t have to make it personal. She might have reasons for saying ‘No’ that have nothing to do with you. She may have strong beliefs about sex before marriage. She may feel she’s not ready for sex in your relationship. Or, maybe she’s just not feeling sexy.
- Respect, self-control, restraint, caring about the feelings of others – are true measures of a man of strong character.
When is it ok to say “No”?
It’s ALWAYS OK to say no.
- You may feel you’re not ready for sex in your relationship.
- You may have strong beliefs about sex before marriage.
- You may feel that you want him, or her, as a friend – but not as a sexual partner.
- You may feel attracted to your partner, but you want to go slow.
- Your partner has not been open or honest about their HIV and/or STD status.
- You may have agreed to sex with your partner – but now you feel differently.
You should never feel you have to give consent. To anyone. For any reason.
When is it ok so say yes?
- When you are very clear that this is what YOU want.
- When you feel you can trust your partner to respect your decision – even if you change your mind.
High times can be high risk
- Alcohol or drugs are involved in most date rapes and sexual assaults. And, when you’re drunk or high, you don’t always make the best decisions about your safety.
- It’s also a sad fact that victims of sexual assault are usually attacked by someone they know.
- Remember, it’s never OK to take advantage of someone who is high. And, it’s legally indefensible. Someone may be responsible for being drunk or high, but they are never responsible for being assaulted.
You should never feel you have to give consent. To anyone. For any reason.
- Don’t ask anyone to watch your drink.
- If you order a mixed drink, watch the person while they mix it.
- Avoid a drink you didn’t open yourself.
- Trust your instincts – if you suddenly don’t feel well feel, or drowsy or out-of-control, go to a safe place, find a friend and leave
- Create a buddy system: Always party in a group. If someone seems “out of it” then help get them to a safe place.
Help change social norms
- Act against sexist attitudes, sexual harassment and abuse. By informing yourself. By speaking out.
- By being aware of your own attitudes – blind spots and prejudices – that might be sexist. Relax – we all have them!
- You can act against sexism, gender prejudice, and homophobia, by not supporting those movies, books, magazines, newspapers, websites, celebrities, public figures, musical groups and performers – that demean or disrespect the rights of others.
- The most basic sexual right is consent – everyone has the right to choose. Sign the Consent is Sexy Pledge online or on campus. Make a commitment. Walk your talk.
- If you think your partner is abusive, or you suspect that someone you know is in an abusive relationship, then you may need to get help.
- Not all abuse involves physical threat – verbal and emotional abuse can also be very damaging.
- Recognising the warning signs of relationship abuse is an important first step. But taking action is necessary to end the violence. Call 011 717 9140 if you need to talk.