Healthy Sexual Behaviors and Risk Reduction Tips
Engaging in respectful and healthy sexual behavior is the best way to avoid risk.
Healthy and safe sexual activity requires consent by all parties involved. Here are a few examples that illustrate 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 and if you are able to do so, you should:
- clearly and firmly tell a sexual aggressor, “NO!”
- try to remove yourself from the physical presence of a sexual aggressor or try to call or text someone for help.
- find someone nearby and ask for help.
- as a member of the University community, look out for your friends and ask that they look out for you. If a friend takes action to get help for you, know that they care about you.
How to get help for someone else:
If you feel safe doing so, there are 3 basic ways to help someone else who may be in an unsafe situation.
- Be Direct - tell the person to stop their conduct.
- Delegate - get help from a University employee.
- Distract - do something to divert attention away from the harmful conduct and either escape or diffuse the situation.
Ride-Sharing Sexual Assault Safety Guide (this information is provided by a California-based law firm)