Sexual consent is obtaining permission before engaging in sexual activities. Just as you would ask a friend permission to borrow his clothes or to ask to remove a chair from another table at a coffee shop, one must ask if it is okay to proceed sexually.
It is the sexual initiator’s responsibility to get consent . In the past to determine if obtain was obtain, investigators often asked the victim, did you scream or yell or fight? However there is a new concept in town and in our policy.
Affirmative Sexual Consent:
This means the burden of getting consent rests of the person initiating the activity. If there is later a question of consent, investigators will not ask the alleged victim if she or he resisted, but instead ask the sexual initiator how they asked for consent and how they received consent. The burden has shifted.
Silence is not consent. A person may be too afraid, too drunk, too uncomfortable, or too embarrassed to say no.
Even yes may not be yes.
No does mean no. Some people see initial resistance as only part of the sexual seduction or a sexual game playing and they want to push past the no. But if someone is saying no, respect the no, or you are committing sexual assault.
- Force – forcible sexual assault occurs against the will of the victim. Physical force may be used, also threats, intimidation or coercion. A weapon may or may not be used
- Consent – shared sexual permission, given by word or action, verbal consent preferred
- Incapacitation - unable to give consent due to mental or physical incapacitation, unable to understand the who, what, when, why, and how with respect to sexual activity, most often due to drug or alcohol use, but also to cognitive or developmental limitationsMajor shift in thinking: From woman proving she resisted, to man proving he obtained consent.
- Must get explicit, verbal consent; body language too easy to misinterpret.
- You will be asked: What specific words (or actions) by the alleged victim reasonably indicated that you had consent for each of the specific sexual activities that took place?
- Silence is not consent.
- An absence of “no” is not consent.
- “Yes” is not always consent, if she is under-age, incapacitated, or has a cognitive impairment. The age of consent in Texas is 17 years old.
- If the person you are having sex with is unconscious, then you are committing sexual assault.
- Look for consent, not resistance. Hopefully, enthusiastic consent!
- No consent for any act confers consent for any other act or even the same act at a future time.
- Don’t assume consent, check it out.
- “If you don’t get consent, you must relent.”
- Sex you regret, is not the same thing as sex without consent. If you consented last night, but regret the sexual activity today, it was not sexual assault.
Consent and Alcohol
- Some men use alcohol or other drugs as deliberate tools in a strategy to rape.
- Alcohol does not cause sexual assault, but mixing sexual decision-making with any substance is risky.
- Unlike drunk driving, there is no blood alcohol level for sex.
- Your “sex with a buzz” might be incapacitation for her due to different gender alcohol metabolism rates.
- Two incapacitated people, by definition, cannot have sex with each other.
- That she was drunk is not an excuse.
- That you were drunk is not an excuse.
- Since there are different levels of intoxication, one person is usually less drunk and is initiating greater levels of sexual intimacy and is the person who is ultimately held responsible for the sexual activity.
- There is a range of alcohol use: under the Influence, Impairment, Intoxication, Inebriation, and Incapacitation
- Incapacitation is beyond drunkenness or intoxication.
- Incapacitation impacts a person’s ability to make decisions, be aware of consequences, and make fully-informed judgments.
- It’s a subjective determination due to body weight, size, height, tolerance, type of drugs/alcohol, vomiting, food intake, genetics, and propensity for blacking out.
- Some signs of incapacitation include: slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, smell of alcohol on breath, shaky balance, vomiting, outrageous or unusual behavior, and unconsciousness.
- Take Away Message – Drunk sex is risky and should be avoided!
Consent Can Be Sexy
- Getting consent need not be awkward.
- Make it fun and playful.
- Communicate – ask what she likes and tell her what you like.
- Instead of using alcohol to lower inhibitions, use foreplay, just as good and more fun!
- Consent can be sexy if there is no question about desire and consent and both people can be sexual and playful without worry of later repercussions.