Sex & Relationship

Simple Yet Important things Young Indians should understand about Sexual Consent

Things you need to know about sexual consent


Sexual Consent is saying yes to do something or being comfortable with the decision by showing a gesture. But, if there are no yes or any gestures, then anything other than yes, means NO, period. 

When you’re in a relationship with someone, it makes you feel many different things like happiness, nervousness, excitement and love. And, sometimes it gets confusing, especially when it comes to intimacy and sex.

Sexual Consent

When it comes to an activity that is sexual or requires being intimate, then a person has the complete right to decide when to do it, where to do it, and how to do it. For any sexual activity to happen, it is a basic right that everyone needs to consent or say yes, willingly and freely. Another way to understand consent is that only YES means YES.

If you aren’t sure or don’t say anything that simply means the answer is no.

Ultimately, it is your choice if can decide for yourself what sex means to you. If any two people have decided that they are ready to take things further and wants to have sex and have talked about consent, like what they are comfortable with, what they are interested in and what their limits & boundaries are, then they can figure out what works best for them.

Also, sexual activity does not just mean sex, it includes kissing, smooching, grabbing, hugging, making out, cuddling, or even touching someone’s body in a sexual way. Sexual consent must be given:

  1. Voluntarily and without coercion: Consent must be given freely without any external factors like pressure, threat, or physical violence invalidates a verbal “yes” or a silent “no.”

  2. Crystal clear, while sober: Someone who is under the influence of drugs or who is unconscious or sleeping cannot consent to sexual activity. A person can change their mind at any point in time and have this decision respected.

  3. Continuously: Just because someone consented to sexual activity once does not mean consent will be given every time.

  4. With confidence: Consent must be given with confidence and enthusiasm.

  5. With awareness: For someone to consent to sex, each participant must be informed and say yes to each sexual act that is performed.

Sexual consent is essential for:

Kissing someone or touching any part of their body, sexually

Having vaginal, anal or oral sex

Sending sexual messages or pictures

Using condoms or any other contraception

Filming or recording your intimate moments

The sad twisted truth behind why some women say YES to sex when they actually mean NO

Sometimes even when a girl says yes to sex, there’s a very good chance that she might not really mean it.  Many studies in the past have shown that women often engage in sexual activity for multiple reasons which they wouldn’t even normally discuss or admit to anyone, and some of them are likely to be found surprising as well as disturbing such as:

  1. They wanted to be more appealing

  2. They felt pressure from a guy or someone else

  3. They wanted to fix problems

  4. They wanted to feel closer to their partner

  5. They were uncomfortable saying no to their partner because of the fear of getting beaten up

How to identify the person you’re with has given his/her consent?

Like mentioned earlier, there is only one way to know for sure if someone has given consent and that is if they tell you. Sometimes, it’s not always easy to let people know that you are not happy about something. Sometimes the person you’re with may look like he/she is happy doing something but you are petrified on the other side.

So, one of the best ways to know if someone is uncomfortable with any situation is to simply ask a question like:

  1. Is there anything that you don’t want to do?

  2. Are you happy doing this with me?

  3. Are you comfortable?

  4. Do you want me to stop?

  5. Are you sure you want to go further?

  6. Do you want me to stay like this for a while?

  7. Do you want me to slow down?

  8. Are you enjoying yourself?

  9. Are you still okay with this?

  10. Are you comfortable with me touching you here?

Read More: 5 Things married daughters don’t want to hear from their mother

Recognizing non-verbal communication

We all know that there are many ways through which a person can communicate. Simply, the look on someone’s face and their body language expresses a lot and is also a way of communicating which often has more meaning or clarity than the words that come out of the mouth.

Below mentioned are some ways that body language can let you know if the person you’re with is not comfortable with what is happening:

  1. Pushing you away

  2. Holding their arms tightly around their bodies

  3. Moving away from you or hiding their face

  4. Stiffening muscles

  5. Not responding to your touch

  6. Uncomfortable gestures (not responding positively to touching)

  7. Feeling scared

  8. Feeling unhappy

Also, you can always say ‘I need to go to the toilet’.

If there is a situation where the other person isn’t listening to you and you feel unsafe with him/her, you can always pretend to go to the washroom or restroom saying you are going to vomit

(It’s actually funny to see how quickly someone separates himself/herself from you if they think you are going to be sick)

Kissing or touching doesn’t always need to lead to sex

During intimacy, many people may try different things. You might enjoy kissing at first, but not really feel like doing again or going any further or have sex. That’s why it’s essential to communicate how you are feeling.

Everyone has the right to say ‘no’ at any given point and everyone has the right to change their mind at any time regardless of their past experiences with other people or the person they are with.

What is NOT consent?

  1. Flirting

  2. Wearing a revealing outfit

  3. Sexting

  4. Starring

  5. Hugging

  6. Any answer other than a clear “yes”

When sexual contact or behaviour happens without explicit consent of the person, it turns into a sexual assault which includes:

  1. Attempted rape or rape

  2. Caressing or unwanted sexual touching

  3. Forcing a person to perform sexual acts on the perpetrator

  4. Forcible sodomy: Anal or oral sex

  5. Forcible object penetration like penetrating someone’s vagina or anal, or causing that person to penetrate her or himself

  6. Rape: penetration of a person’s body

  7. Incest

When you’re in a relationship or married

Being in a relationship with someone or being married to someone does not give the right to your partner to do whatever or whenever they want to.

What if your partner is turned on?

At times, it happens when your partner gets turned on but don’t want to be touched. Even if a penis is erect or the vagina is wet – doesn’t mean it’s an automatic invitation because your mind may want the opposite of what your body is doing which can be confusing and uncomfortable at the same time. So, in such situations, communicate well with your partner.

What does ‘age of consent mean?

It is another way of saying the legal age to have sex. When you can legally have sex will depend on what country you live in as laws are different around the world. The most common age of sexual consent is 18 in India. In some countries gay or lesbian sex is illegal. But then again, in every situation, consent is essential.

Consensual underage sex – is it okay or not?

If you are willing to have sex with someone when either or both of you are under the age of consent / ‘underage’, then you’re breaking the law – even if you’re both consenting, the law says it’s not okay.

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