“I’ve heard if she flirts with you, she’s 100% up for it.”
Who have you been talking to? Genghis Khan.
Thankfully, things have moved on since the dark ages, and guys are now expected, by both society and the law, to have clear consent before they begin any kind of sexual activity with a girl (or a boy, for that matter).
Lots of girls find flirting fun and, while they might flirt with lots of boys, they may not end up having sex with any of them. Flirting definitely does not count as consent.¹ So, just because she sent you a text with an aubergine emoji really doesn’t mean she wants to give your aubergine a good grilling the next time she sees you.
What is consent?
Consent is a clear agreement between two (or more) people, giving the green light for sexual activity to start. There are many ways she can give you consent. It doesn’t have to be verbal, but verbally agreeing to different sexual activities can help both you and your partner respect each other’s boundaries.¹
If you’re not sure if a girl has given you consent, don’t take any risks by assuming she’s hot to trot. You MUST ask. That doesn’t have to mean ruining the mood; it can be as simple as whispering “Is this OK?” in her ear when you want to move things up a gear.¹
One more thing to bear in mind is that even if you’ve had consent to have sex with someone in the past, it doesn’t automatically give you permission to have sex with them again in the future.¹
It’s a woman’s right to change her mind
So, let’s imagine you’re in the bedroom moving smoothly from first base to second base, and the girl makes it very clear she’s inviting you to go all the way.
After you’ve done a lap of honour around the bedroom punching the air in excitement, you get back down to business, move on to third base and that’s when her mood suddenly changes. For reasons you can’t understand, she tells you she’s no longer feeling relaxed about having sex and she doesn’t want to go through with it. What happens next?
In this scenario, even if you feel the girl has been leading you on, it’s time to back off. It’s a girl’s right to withdraw consent at any point if she feels uncomfortable.¹ You’re probably pretty good at picking up the signals when they’re positive, and you need to be just as good at reading them when they’re not.
Staying on the right side of the line
Despite what some people might say, the line on this kind of thing is not blurred. The line is pin-sharp and it’s your responsibility to make sure you stay on the right side of it.
Many young blokes like to joke around with their mates about their sexual conquests, but if a girl accuses you of any kind of sexual activity without consent that’s going to be no laughing matter. A visit from the police is probably the least you can expect.
To help you avoid crossing the line, here are some things you really need to know.
First, “no” means “no” – if that’s what she’s telling you then that’s the end of it. It’s also not acceptable to assume wearing skimpy clothing or giving you a passionate kiss is an invitation for you to do anything more.¹
Alcohol and drugs
Even having active consent doesn’t count if the girl is under sixteen, as you’ll be breaking the law if you have sex with a minor. You probably knew that already, but you might not be aware that it’s also illegal to take advantage of a girl who’s incapacitated because of the effects of alcohol or drugs.¹
There’s a lot to think about but really it all boils down to one thing: if you treat a girl right and show her respect, then you can’t go wrong. In fact, do so and you probably stand a much better chance of getting her into bed.
One final thing to remember, when you do get consent from a girl to go all the way, make sure you have a condom at the ready. Otherwise, you’ll be giving her another reason to change her mind at the very last moment.