You’ve probably heard the expression “No means no” as a way of describing sexual consent. This is an important way of looking at consent. If your partner at any time says “no” to something intimate or sexual, you have to respect that and stop (or not start). But we want to introduce you to a new way of thinking about consent – “Yes means yes.”

Another way of saying “yes means yes” is enthusiastic consent. We admit that is kind of a goofy term, but the idea here is that both partners involved in a sex act of any kind should be enthusiastic about participating; they should want to be a part of it completely free of pressure, coercion, or force. And therefore, each partner involved is responsible for checking in with the other.

Checking in should happen throughout the experience. Talk with your partner about boundaries, things they enjoy in bed, and things they don’t. And talk during the sex act to make sure you are still both comfortable with what is happening, especially if either one of you wants to try something new or different. You should even talk afterward to discuss thoughts and feelings about what happened.

This may not sound “sexy,” but we guarantee that being in-tune with your partner every step of the way will help you build trust, respect, and a deeper emotional bond. And that will make sex with your partner more comfortable and pleasurable, and less scary.

Ideas on good ways to ask for and assure consent

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