How to get what you both want

No one is born knowing how to negotiate sex: we all have to learn it and we all make mistakes. It’s really easy to ignore your own or someone else’s boundaries about what’s OK at that particular moment. It’s easy to assume that because we’re in a sexual context – a club or sauna or house party or cruising ground or even your own bed – the person you’re with has consented to any and all types of sex. Add alcohol, drugs and social expectations to the mix and boundaries can be crossed.

There are some people around who don’t care that they are sexually assaulting someone else – or even sometimes seek to do so. As a community, we should all be on the look out for such behaviour and have the courage to intervene, speak out, support each other to challenge this behaviour and help those who experience assault.

But many of us may find ourselves crossing the boundaries of consent unintentionally, because we’re in the heat of the moment or under the influence of drink or drugs. If someone accused us of sexual assault we’d be mortified. So what do we do to make sure we’re doing what everyone wants? Here are a few suggestions…

Talk…

Say what you want to do or have done to you. Be explicit.

Ask. Ask what he wants (and what he doesn’t).

Ask explicitly. Keep asking.

Talk about your own limits and boundaries. What are those things that are absolute no’s for you (that night or forever, it doesn’t matter). How would you indicate or pick up from someone that you’re not feeling OK with what’s happening?

Whatever words you use, talk…

Listen…

It’s great if the reply is yes and more of it! But what if the person says wait or slow down or stop? What if their body language says they aren’t comfortable?

The law says that everyone has the right to say no to a sexual act and the right to change their mind at any point. You’re not going to be aware of this if you don’t listen to what people are saying or what their body language is indicating.

What if you’re too wasted to listen? You know that alcohol and drugs can affect how you think and make decisions. Try to remember that listening to what someone is communicating to you, and responding if that changes while you’re doing what you’re doing, is essential. We’re all responsible for making sure the people we’re with want to do what we want to do. It isn’t sexy to end up being a sexual assaulter because you weren’t listening.

Think…

You are your sober, sane, everyday self… of course you think about what you do. But many of us are not thinking when we’re in a sexual context or, at least, we’re only thinking about one thing!

But you need to think about your own behaviour. Think beforehand: how are you going to react if your judgement is impaired? What are your boundaries? What can you do to ensure you’re aware of other people’s boundaries?

As we said above, it really isn’t sexy to sexually assault someone. It may even be committing a crime and that has potentially devastating consequences for everyone involved. Do you really want to be the kind of guy that causes hurt and trauma to other guys? That’s not the kind of reputation anyone wants. You’d want someone to listen to you if you said stop wouldn’t you? You’re supposed to having fun and sexual assault isn’t fun.

Let’s start changing how we think and do… Guys that talk, listen and think are HOT!