Reading the signs – Do you want a cup of coffee?

Another issue we have when it comes to consent is that people misread the situation and make assumptions. People assume that if you go upstairs at a party – or if someone invites you in for a drink – or into their bedroom – then sex is automatically on. None of this is true.

Just because you have flirted or been on a date or bought someone a drink or dinner does not earn you the right to sex. Neither does the fact that someone is dressed in a revealing outfit, or dances in a certain way does not mean they have asked for it.

However, the biggest confusion often comes within a relationship. People seem to assume that just because you are going out then sex is expected. If you have consented once – then you have somehow given open ended consent or something, and never get to choose again.

Just because you were up for sex yesterday, doesn’t mean that you will be in the mood today. And regardless of whether you have had sex with your previous partner, does not mean you have to have sex with this one – and no, it isn’t a sign that you liked your previous partner more if you decide you aren’t ready yet.

The point is you always have the right to choose if and when you want to have sex. That is consent. However, if you want that right you also need to respect your partner’s right to choose as well.

Sex can be great and can feel fantastic but only if you both want to do it and enjoy it. Otherwise sex can be scary, hurtful and cause all sorts of damage.

© Going off the Rails 2014. Adapted from ‘Playing Downstairs’ by Jonny Hunt

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