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How Do I Ask for Consent?

Scenario

Kissing. Alex reaches for Jess's pants and looks up at Jess.
Alex: "Can I?"
Jess: "No, I want to keep my pants on."
Alex pulls their hand back and continues kissing Jess.

Check-in with your partner before moving to something new, wait for their response, and respect it.

Communicate for Consent

Consent requires good communication. You should:

  • Be direct by naming or describing the act clearly - "Can I kiss you?"
  • Ask your partner(s) what they prefer: "What do you want to do?"
  • Ask open-ended questions as a way of starting an ongoing dialogue about what you each want.
  • Create space for your partner(s) to respond.
  • Talk about boundaries beforehand, including wants and limits.
  • Frequently check in with your partner(s) to ensure you are on the same page.
  • Set clear expectations and boundaries. Note: These can change at any time during a sexual act or encounter.
  • No means No. If you do get a "no," accept it the first time. Don't proceed or pressure your partner(s).

Examples of Questions to Ask

  • "Do you want to have sex?"
  • "Are you comfortable with...?"
  • "Do you want me to...?"
  • "Will you do... to me?"
  • "It turns me on when we... How do you feel about that?"
  • "What fantasy can we enact?"
  • "What word would you like for me to use to describe this part of your body?"

*Adapted from Princeton UMatter

 

Last Updated: 2/26/16