You have a NO voice!
It’s not hard to know if someone is actively consenting to sex. Ask them!
Before we get going here, this is an excellent web site that explains the terms and definitions of all things related to consent: Calisto: Understand the Language of Consent.
Consent is a deliberate verbal agreement between two (or more) people to engage in sexual activity. This is a conversation to have BEFORE any sexual activity has commenced, that is before any articles of clothing have been removed!
If your date is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you’re in iffy territory. It’s best to have made the agreement long before anyone partakes of anything. And even then, it’s important to check in with them periodically to make sure they’re willingly engaged.
“Are you sure you’re comfortable with this? I know we agreed we were going to have sex, but you drank a lot of shots, and I want to make sure you are still OK with this.”
If they confirm their intent, proceed with caution! Recognize there are risks to what you are doing.
If they’ve had a lot to drink, you already know they’re not able to make a deliberate choice. Don’t have sex. Put it off. Talk about it again when you’re both sober, like the following morning, when you’re crunching on dry toast and passing the Pepto back and forth.
One more thing here. I once had a date with an online match, and I decided ahead of time I didn’t want to have sex. At the point we decided to go to my apartment after dinner, I laid out what I was willing to do, which specifically excluded intercourse with vaginal penetration. I was very specific. And he verbally agreed to that. I made sure of it.
When we got to my apartment, he pushed it. I was afraid, because he was in law enforcement and I knew he had a gun, so I didn’t say no. He raped me. It was not a violent rape, and I was in bed with him unclothed. I didn’t fight or even say “no”. I complied. Regardless, IT WAS RAPE. He broke the terms of the agreement we’d made during dinner, long before he came to my apartment. IT WAS RAPE.
I’m not going to go into the details of how I chose to handle the situation after the fact. And I’m not going to engage in speculation on whether I made a mistake putting myself in that situation. I’ve been in that situation plenty of times and had very positive, mutually agreed upon, mutually fulfilling sexual experiences that were fully compliant with the explicit verbal agreements we made ahead of time before any sexual activity commenced.
And what’s more, no one brings rape upon themselves by something they do, say, wear, or fill in the blank with some twisted outdated stereotype. No one willingly invites rape. No one deserves to be raped.
You have a NO voice!
It’s critical to know who you are, what you stand for, and what you want. It’s critical you communicate what you want and what you don’t want with your date before you engage in any sexual activity.
It’s OK to change your mind! If you do change your mind, be deliberate and firm in your communications. It’s OK to say no, and then say yes! It’s OK to say yes, and then say no! Even if you’re in the middle of intercourse, if you want to stop, say STOP! Your partner should honor your directive immediately! Immediately! Immediately! If he does not, IT IS RAPE.
You have a voice. You have a right to willingly and actively consent to sex. You also have a right to withdraw your consent, before or during. You have a NO voice. When you want to use your NO voice, use it! And if your NO voice is not honored, IT IS RAPE.
[An excerpt from my new book, How To Do Single With Dignity and Grace.]