PART III: Consent
Illinois state law defines consent as “a freely given agreement to the act of sexual penetration or sexual conduct in question.” This means that consent is not something that can be inferred. It also means the absence of “no” does not mean “yes.” Alcohol and drugs can inhibit a person’s ability to consent. In addition, the clothing choices of a potential sexual partner have no bearing on whether or not consent is given.
In order to ensure consent is given, here are some tips to help navigate these conversations:
1. Talk about what you want and what you like. While this can feel awkward at first, it gives an idea of what your partner’s boundaries are.
2. Ask questions along the way:
Do you like this?
Is this okay?
Can we try __?
What would you like me to do?
Can I touch you here?
3. Remember, consent can be verbal or non verbal but it must always be an enthusiastic yes.
4. Consent must be obtained every step of the way, with each new sexual act.
5. Try practicing consent in your daily life. Ask your friends if you can hug them or touch them before doing so. This can help make asking for consent easier during sexual acts.
6. You can change your mind at any time during any sexual act. You can say no at any point that you feel uncomfortable. Just because consent was given during one sexual act does not make it a binding contract.
7. Discuss your intentions for this encounter. Do you want it to turn into something more than a hookup? Chat about it. Just as you wouldn’t assume yes during a sexual encounter, don’t assume your partner’s desires without asking.