There are some cases where consent just cannot be given. In fact, consent is considered null and invalid is specific situations and any enrolment for sex under these conditions may be termed as sexual abuse.
The person cannot give consent if:
- She or he is not mentally or physically capable to do that.
- One of the people is under the influence of drugs and alcohol and therefore has not the capacity to make rational decisions.
- He or she is feeling under the authority of somebody they trust (for example, student-teacher or client-therapist relationship)
- The person is under the age of 18 (under the laws of Malta).
Sometimes people can feel uncertainty or fear of telling their partner they do not want to have sex or that there is something that they would rather not to do. The atmosphere and mood are much more positive, however, when both partners are happy and can freely communicate what they want.
So how make sure that other person gives Consent? The easiest way is just to ask. For example:
- Are you comfortable?
- Is this okay?
- Do you want to slow down?
- Do you want to go any further?
You should also communicate every step of the way and make sure that you both agree with that. And you also should respect that when they say No, it doesn’t mean Yes.
What is NOT consent:
- The person makes you feel pressure or guilt for not doing something.
- The person makes you feel like you “owe” him/her.
- The person ignores your wishes and does not pay attention to nonverbal cues that could show you’re not consenting (ex: pulling/pushing away).
- The person pressures you into sexual activity by using fear or intimidation.
The solution is never to try to force someone to do something they do not want to do. Being pressured or forced into a sexual situation you are not ready for can do lasting emotional damage. Not checking in with your partner can mean that you might be hurting someone you care about without even knowing that you are doing so.
– Gabija Kisieliūtė is a third year psychology at the University of Vytautas Magnus in Lithuania. She is following a Bachelors degree in Psychology. Her main interests are family psychology and aging. She is participating in a summer internship programme at Willingness.com.mt.