Sexual Communication & Consent

Whether it’s your first time having sex, a hook up, or with a long time partner, talking about sex can be difficult. Verbal communication is essential for obtaining sexual consent so talking about sex should be a normal part of every sexual encounter. For a healthier sex life, try practicing the tips below:

Creating a Sex Positive Culture at SF State:

  • Feeling comfortable with identifying or exploring your gender expression, sexual orientation and sexuality
  • Practicing and promoting healthy, safe, and consensual sexual behaviors with yourself and/or others
  • Respecting your own body as well as others
  • Learning and understanding the importance of practicing safer sex
  • Practicing consensual communication during any sexual encounters regardless of age, sex, sexual orientation, ability or race

Encouraging Sexual Communication:

Open communication with your sexual partner(s) will help everyone involved have a better understanding of each other's wants, needs, and comfortability in regards to sex. Communicating about practicing safer sex and getting tested often can prevent the spread of STI/STD.
You should never feel unsafe in any relationship that forces you to have unprotected sex. Sex is being able to connect with your partner or partners, to share yourself with people in an intimate way through trust, respect, boundaries, and mutual understanding of each other. It should be a fun and safe experience!

Consent: Do You Have A Yes?

Consent is a freely given, reversible, informed, enthusiastic, and specific (FRIES) mutual agreement to engage in any verbal and/or physical behaviors. “No” means no. Sexual activity should ALWAYS be consensual and NEVER be convinced or coerced. When an individual says “no” it does not mean “not now,” “later,” “maybe,” or “yes”.

Consent can be practiced by communicating your wants and needs to your partner(s) with phrases like:

  • Would you feel comfortable if we try _____?
  • What do you want to do?
  • Is this okay...

Is this okay...

  • Do you want us to slow down?
  • Do you want us to go any further?
  • Do you want me to stop?

Bedroom talk:

  • Know your STI status (get tested for STI’s and talk about it with your partner(s))
  • Communicate with your partner(s) your intentions
  • Communicate about the safer sex you want to practice
  • Know what consent is and how to give consent

Examples of Consent:

  • I really want to kiss you. Do you want me to?
  • If they say “yes” and seem happy, that means they’re consenting, and you can kiss them. Party on!
  • If they say “yes” but seem unsure or worried about it, they are NOT consenting. Check in again by saying “Are you sure? We don’t have to do that.”
  • If they are incapacitated, or unconscious, they CANNOT consent.
  • If they say “no,” or “I don’t know,” or don’t say anything, they’re not consenting, and you need to stop and ask what they’re feeling/thinking.

Here are some other ways to say “no.” 

  • I don’t like that.
  • I’m not into that.
  • I’m not ready for that.
  • I don’t feel like it today.
  • I really like you, but I don’t want to do that right now.
  • I’ll only do that if we use a condom.
  • How about we do ____ instead?

    If you ever feel unsafe and/or are forced into any sexual activity, please contact:

    For immediate support and reporting, contact SF State police

    For confidential reporting and counseling, contact SAFE Place or visit their resource page.

    For counseling, contact SAFE Place

    For further support and health services: