Sex & consent


How can you be sure that someone you have sex with wants it too? Especially if drugs and alcohol are involved?

How do you sense other people’s boundaries?

Pay attention to the other person’s body language and facial expression. By doing so, you can sense whether the other person is still comfortable.

The more drugs you take, the harder it is to feel and indicate limits. So pay attention to your dosage.

Discuss in advance what you both think is horny. Of course, this can change during sex. So keep communicating, also after you have made arrangements.

Also ask for consent. This can be extremely sexy. For example, “Do you think it’s horny if I do this or that to you?”

Don’t get a response? Then stop. If you don’t hear ‘no’, it doesn’t mean ‘yes’. The other person may freeze, making the person unable to say ‘no’.

Be aware of power relationships. Someone may not dare to say no. Don’t take advantage of this.

Do you suspect that someone is too under the influence to set boundaries? For example, the other person can no longer talk properly? Don’t have sex.

Is someone unconscious? Don’t have sex. That person cannot give consent.

Did someone initially indicate they wanted something, but now they don’t? That can happen. Stop doing it.

Accept no. Rejection is part of life. It is often not personal, but has to do with the other person’s boundaries.

Have you been rejected? Don’t pressure the other person to have sex anyway. If you have to nag or persuade, you don’t have consent.

Do you think you crossed someone’s boundaries? Having sex can sometimes be an unclear affair. Talk about it with the other person. Ask what you can do for that person.

How do you set your own boundaries?

Consider what your ‘soft limits’ are: forms of sex that you are willing to do under certain conditions, and what your conditions are in that regard.

Figure out for yourself what exactly you are looking for in sex. The moment the choice comes into play, this can help you feel more confident.  

Also consider what your ‘hard limits’ are: sex techniques you don’t want to do under any circumstances.

Communicate your boundaries with your sex partner(s) prior to the sex date.

Trust your gut. Is something not feeling right? Then it is transgressing for you.

Your body is yours. You can always say no. Even if you said yes first.

Are you not responding to transgressive behaviour? Know this: the blame is never on you. Many people freeze up and are unable to say no.

Have you experienced sexual violence?

Or in doubt about it? Centrum seksueel geweld offers help to anyone who has experienced an unwanted sexual experience. Call free and anonymously to 0800 0188 or chat with a counsellor. Support is available 24/7.