Respecting Your Partner

If you find yourself in the position of initiating sexual activity, you owe sexual respect to your potential partner.

Follow these suggestions to reduce your risk for being accused of sexual misconduct:

  • Clearly communicate your intentions to your sexual partner and give them a chance to clearly relate their intentions to you.
  • Understand and respect personal boundaries.
  • Don't make assumptions – about consent, about someone’s sexual availability, about whether they are attracted to you, about how far you can go, or about whether they are physically or mentally able to consent. If there are any questions or ambiguity, then you DO NOT have consent.
  • Mixed messages from your partner are a clear indication that you should stop and communicate better. You may be misreading her or him. S/he may not have figured out how far s/he wants to go with you yet. You must respect the timeline for sexual behaviors with which they are comfortable.
  • Never take advantage of someone’s drunken or drugged state.
  • Realize that your potential partner could be intimidated by you, or fearful. You may have a power advantage simply because of your gender or size. Don’t abuse that power.
  • Understand that consent to some form of sexual behavior does not automatically imply consent to any other forms of sexual behavior.
  • Read your potential partner carefully, paying attention to verbal and non-verbal communication and body language. Silence and passivity cannot be interpreted as an indication of consent. “Affirmative consent” means affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity. Affirmative consent must be ongoing throughout a sexual activity and can be revoked at any time.
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