How do you ask for consent? That feels uncomfortable/embarrassing.
Here are some easy ways you can ask for consent:
You want to hold your partner’s hand: Can I hold your hand?
You want to hug your partner: Can I hug you?
You want to kiss your partner: Can I kiss you (on the hand, cheek, lips, etc)? Remember, be specific when you ask.
When you normalize consent, it makes it easier and less awkward every time you ask for something specific. If you are uncomfortable asking any questions listed above, then you may not be ready to have sex. I suggest you explore The Talk with Dreaux for more information. Also, you can read more about consent on our Resource page.
After I have consented to something, can I change my mind?
My partner says they are ready for sex, but I don’t feel ready. What can I do?
I have not had sex before, but I’m worried about getting a sexually transmitted infection when I do. My partner is also a virgin and tells me that since it’s both of our first times we don’t need to do all that yet. Is it necessary to go to the doctor first?
I’m still friends with my ex, but I have a new significant other who really dislikes that. How can I reassure my current partner while staying friends with my ex?
However, if your new partner is obsessing over your relationship and telling you who you can and can’t be friends with, these may be warning signs of a greater problem. If your partner is controlling who you can be friends with, this may be a sign of emotional abuse that could turn physical. If addressing and reassuring your partner that nothing is happening doesn’t work, it may be time to reevaluate the relationship and make sure it is a healthy one to be in for you. Trust is an important part of the relationship, if there isn’t any trust this may be another warning sign that determines a healthy or unhealthy relationship. Check out our Types of Dating Violence chart for more information.
My partner always tells me I’m the only one there for them. They don’t have a supportive home life or any friends besides me. I feel guilty spending time with other people or even just alone.
Another thing to be aware of is whether you feel that your partner is trying to isolate you from others. Do you feel like your partner is telling you that you are their only source of support in an effort to control you and who you hang out with? Do you feel obligated to help with their issues, instead of focusing on your own? Do they offer support to you when you need it? People who are abusive often find ways to control situations by making someone feel guilty and obligated to them. This is called “guilt tripping” and is a form of emotional abuse. This can be a warning sign of a greater issue. Check out our Types of Dating Violence chart for more information.
I was assaulted but I was also using drugs and drinking while underage. I’m worried that reporting will only make my life worse.
My partner and I sometimes have sex when we’re drunk. We are both still awake and aware, but is this a bad idea?
Lack of protection: Alcohol has a tendency to cloud reasonable judgement, so even if you had intentions of using condoms or other protection methods, your ability to make that decision decreases as your consumption increases. With no use of protection, you run the risk of becoming pregnant or getting someone pregnant. Is this a responsibility you’re ready to handle?
STI/STDs: Along with the chance of a pregnancy, you run the risk of contracting a disease or infection. Although you are partners, have you discussed your status before alcohol consumption? Have you both been tested? Are you and your partner exclusive or are you allowed to have sex with other people? What is the status of your/their other partners? When you drink alcohol, it is easy to forget the predetermined guidelines you may have set for sex. Which leads to the next risk…
Sexual assault: Consent cannot be given by someone who is under the influence of alcohol. You may think that you and your partner are awake, however, studies show that some people who are drunk may be “blacked out” but still able to “function.” It may seem as if they are fully aware of their surroundings but they actually aren’t which leaves them vulnerable and possibly agreeing to things they wouldn’t normally do sober. Also, just because you are in a relationship, does not mean you or your partner want to participate in any sexual act outside of your “normal” activity. Are you confident that both of you will feel the same way after the alcohol wears off?
Again, it is better to avoid sexual contact while intoxicated. If you are using alcohol as a way to get comfortable to have sex, you may need to reevaluate if you are ready for the act. Check out The Talk with Dreaux to determine if you are ready for sex.