Healthy Sexual Behaviors and Risk Reduction Tips
Engaging in respectful and healthy sexual behavior is the best way to avoid risk.
If you engage in sexual activity, you owe your partner a high level of sexual respect. The following examples demonstrate healthy and safe sexual behaviors:
- Clearly communicate your intentions to your sexual partner and give them a chance to clearly relate their intentions to you.
- Understand and respect personal boundaries, and don't try to convince your partner to change their mind.
- If you have limits, make them known as early as possible.
- DO NOT MAKE ASSUMPTIONS about consent, someone’s sexual availability, whether they are attracted to you, how far you can go, or whether your partner is physically and/or mentally able to consent. If there are is any uncertainty, you do not have consent.
- Understand that consent to one form of sexual behavior does not imply consent to any other forms of sexual behavior. For example, consenting to kissing a partner does not constitute consent to engage in intercourse.
- Mixed messages from your partner are a clear indication that you should stop, defuse any sexual tension, and communicate better. You must respect your partner’s timeline and comfort level for sexual activity. For example, you may be misreading your partner’s signs or they may not have figured out how intimate they want to be with you.
- Don’t take advantage of someone’s drunkenness or drugged state, even if they put themselves in that state and even if they attempt to initiate sexual activity.
- Realize that your potential partner could be intimidated by you, or fearful. You may have a power advantage simply because of your size or level of involvement on campus. Don’t abuse that power.
- Silence and passivity cannot be interpreted as an indication of consent. Read your partner carefully, paying attention to verbal and non-verbal communication and body language.
- If your partner tells you to stop, quits communicating with you, or is not participatory during sexual activity, you should stop immediately. Without pressuring them, find out if there is anything you should do differently or if they want to stop engaging in sexual activity with you.
If you do experience non-consensual sexual activity, you should:
- Tell a sexual aggressor “NO” clearly and firmly.
- Try to remove yourself from the physical presence of a sexual aggressor.
- Find someone nearby and ask for help.
- As a member of the University community, take care of your friends and ask that they take care of you. Attend events and parties in a group, and stay with those friends until you leave. A real friend will intervene if you are about to make a mistake. Respect them when they do.
There are a multitude of resources, supports, and information available on campus, off campus, and online.
National Sexual Assault Hotline
Love is Respect
Text “campus” to 22522
National Domestic Violence Hotline