I have so many feels about this topic, as it’s one that people aren’t ever really taught properly. Basically I’ve been told that screaming “NO” and fighting back signals lack of consent, and every other form of behavior is seen as consent. This is a horrifying attitude.
So let’s break it down
- Your partner being intoxicated and mumbling “yes” or “sure” does not signal consent. If your partner has said to you before going out “I can’t wait to have stoned/drunk sex with you!” or something to that effect and they still say yes (not begrudgingly) when intoxicated then you can perhaps take it as genuine consent. If the decision was agreed to before they were intoxicated and this is still agreed upon once intoxicated then consent appears to still be there. HOWEVER if your partner expressed that they didn’t want to do anything sexual tonight before they were intoxicated or you two have never done the act that you’re about to do before then you need to seriously assess whether this is in their best interests. If they don’t appear to be interested or are distracted then you need to not go ahead. It’s much better to have a partner go to bed pissy and horny because you’ve said “I think we should wait” rather than assault your partner or perform sex acts without their true consent.
- If your partner is sleepy or falls asleep during any act, no matter the circumstances, YOU NEED TO STOP. Someone being asleep means that they can’t tell you what is and isn’t acceptable and you may cross their boundaries unintentionally. If they fall asleep or appear sleepy stop all sexual activity. They may just need a small nap before they’re completely alert and willing to give consent.
- If your partner checks out or appears far away while engaging in any sexual act, stop and ask if they’re alright. Don’t continue and ignore it. Your partner may have withdrawn consent or feel regretful but not know how to approach you about it.
- If your partner has said that they do not want to do a particular sex act before you began this particular sexual encounter DO NOT ask them during the act. I personally feel obligated to say yes during sexual activity and my response isn’t always what I’m truly comfortable with. Make sure if a non-aroused them stated what their boundaries are you don’t ask to cross them during the moment.
- Sometimes fantasy and reality aren’t the same thing. If you’re trying to enact a fantasy (especially with consensual non-consent/rape play/rough sex) you need to continue checking in with your partner. If it’s the first time I’m a huge believer in saying things like “Would it be alright if I choked you? How’s the pressure?”. It may kill the mood but from then on you know where your partners boundaries are. Make sure there’s a safe word so if you’re in character in future and their boundaries shift they can stop you before they’re harmed in any way.
- Discuss your sex life openly. In a non-sexual setting (having dinner, watching television, snuggling) talk about your sex life. What do you like? What don’t you like? What terminology do you enjoy during sex? It’s often a lot less threatening to hear about boundaries when the environment isn’t sexually charged.
- COERCION IS NOT CONSENT.
There is nothing sexier than consent. Having a non-consensual sexual experience can ruin ANY relationship, no matter how healthy. Having your boundaries crossed isn’t something that ever really leaves you, so be mindful of other people’s limitations.