Once you understand what consent is, you know you have to ask for it explicitly. But how do you do that? Luckily, asking for consent is way easier than you might think. Asking permission to do something with your partner shows that you’re into being with them and you respect them, and their desires.
How to Ask:
- Be direct by naming or describing the act clearly - “Can I kiss/touch/whatever you?”
- Frame it as a question of preference – “What do you want to do?”
- Ask open-ended questions as a way of starting an ongoing dialogue about what you each want.
- Make sure you’re leaving space for your partner to respond freely and giving them a legitimate option to say IF, WHEN, and HOW they want to do something.
- Asking can be easier and more natural if you talk about boundaries beforehand, including wants and limits.
- Frequently checking-in with your partner ensures everyone is on the same page and is often welcomed as a sign of respect and caring.
- Be clear about your expectations and boundaries so as to avoid confusion or unintentional pressure. Saying what you do and don't want sexually can be a little nerve-wracking at first, but like most things, it gets easier.
- If you do get a “no,” accept it the first time. Don’t proceed or pressure them. They’re declining the sexual act, not you. Be glad they've trusted you enough to tell you what they really want.