Consent is not:
- Silence or not responding. If your lover doesn’t say ‘no’, that doesn’t mean they are saying ‘yes’. Don’t assume, ask them directly.
- Agreeing out of fear or under pressure from you. Someone threatened or intimidated may be too scared to say what they really want. They may use words like: "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 HIV", "I'm scared". All of these statements must be taken as meaning ‘no’.
- Possible if they are drunk, asleep or passed out.
- Wearing a sexy dress or short skirt. A girl may dress or behave in a sexy way - but that does not mean she wants to have sex.
- Agreeing to an indirect, confused or unclear question from you. Sometimes you may think you mean one thing when you are actually saying something else. Typical examples that are not asking for consent for sex are: "Want to go back to my place?" (consent only to go to your place) "Should we get it on?" (unclear what activity is planned). You have beautiful eyes, nice hair, you are sexy (all these statements are unclear communication)
- Getting a “yes” from someone under 16. Someone who is under 16 is regarded as a child and not able to give consent by law.
Even if you give (or get) consent it is always OK to change your mind and say no later and to ask the other person to stop. This can happen at any time, even if you have already had sex, or you are in the middle of having sex. But when consent is withdrawn all sexual activity must stop immediately. Consent of a “no” statement must be clear and firm from the onset. Do not lead a person onto a road you are not willing to go.
If you don’t ask for consent, you are at risk of doing something the other person doesn't want you to do. You are also at risk of breaking the law and facing criminal charges.