Engaging in sexual activity with someone who has not given consent is sexual assault. That may sound scary, but actually consent is sexy. It means that you know your partner wants you and likes the sexual activity between you. Now that's hot. (Not convinced? Check out these tips for checking in).
Consent cannot just be assumed. It has to be voluntarily, actively, and clearly given prior to sexual activity. The only way to be positive your partner is consenting is to check in with them along the way, listen to their responses, and act accordingly. Ask your partner what s/he wants! And ask again if you're not sure. Really respect their wishes. And good sex, sex you won't regret later, is all about respect.
Basic guidelines about consent:
If the other person says no, take no as the answer no matter how badly you want to have sex. Even if you think s/he is saying one thing but really means another, or you thought s/he was giving you the green light earlier.
If the other person says nothing, take that as a no too, and don't go any further unless s/he says it's okay. Silence can easily mean something other than "yes," and bad judgments in this area are no excuse.
Never guess at consent. It's not worth guessing about, for either of you. Even if you're not used to talking about sex, or asking if it's okay, or being asked. Even if it seems like everyone else is hooking up and no one is checking in along the way.
There are circumstances in which even when consent is given, it is not valid.
Consent would be invalid when coerced, intimidated, threatened, forced, when given by a mentally or physically incapacitated person (including an intoxicated person), or when given by a minor.
In a sexual encounter when one person withdraws (stops engaging or touching back), this may mean that they are uncomfortable with the sexual activity… it is time to stop completely and talk about each other’s desires and limits.
Continued requests or verbal pressure for sexual activity can be coercive and/or intimidating and may invalidate consent. There is no duty for an alleged victim to fight off or act in any way to stop a sexual aggressor.
Consent means two people (or more) deciding together to do the same thing, at the same time, in the same way, with each other.