There are many factors that influence whether sex is consensual or not.

Numerous high-profile sexual assault cases have forced us to have necessary and important conversations about consent. But what is consent? The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines consent as “to give assent or approval.” If you ask someone for sex, and they say yes, then you’re all good to go! If you ask someone for sex, and they say no, then you don’t have their permission.

Easy enough, right?

Not exactly. There are many factors that influence whether sex is consensual or not.


Say that you’re at a place where there are people drinking alcohol. You’re sober, and you see someone you’re sexually interested in. You go up to that person and discover they’re drunk. In this scenario, you don’t engage further. Drunk people aren’t always able to make the same decisions that they would if they were sober. If you’re having trouble figuring out if someone is drunk, look out for some telltale signs: slurred words, clumsy movement and if their breath smells of alcohol. This scenario would play out the same if the person was using drugs instead of alcohol. Alcohol and drug use make it difficult for a person to give clear, informed consent, which is why most states have laws stating that a person who is intoxicated or incapacitated cannot consent to sex. If you have any doubt about someone’s ability to consent, assume they can’t.

Another example of a situation that may not be consensual is if you had to convince or coerce your partner into the act. Pressuring someone into sex is not consent, and assuming that because someone agreed to kiss or touch doesn’t mean they want to have sex. If you are kissing someone, make sure it’s O.K. to move further. In other words, getting the O.K. to kiss someone does not mean you also have permission to have sex with them. If someone tells you they want to have sex, but later changes their mind, that’s O.K. too! It’s completely valid if someone changes their mind before, or even during, sexual acts. It’s important to make sure every person involved is comfortable in the present.

These are just some instances where consent can or can’t be given. Although no means no, yes doesn’t necessarily mean yes. We are all complicated, and everything we do is going to be complicated because of it. When looking to have sex, it’s up to you to judge the situation to figure out if everyone involved is truly consenting.

If you think you understand consent, and you are involved in an act that involves the use of condoms, then keep reading.


Putting on a condom can be hard. Uh, no pun intended. Some people don’t like condoms for a variety of reasons: They’re tight, they negatively affect sexual performance, or they irritate their skin. If your condom is so tight that it’s uncomfortable, then you need to get a bigger size. If you’re concerned about keeping an erection, try lubricated or ultra-thin condoms for a more natural feel. And if condoms are irritating your skin, you might be allergic to latex. Many condoms are made of latex, so if that’s the issue, consider trying a non-latex condom, such as Trojan’s Supra Bareskin.

Another problem people have with condoms is simply not knowing how to use them properly. Check out our FAQ on how to use a condom.


OK, so you know about consent and how to use a condom. You’re preparing yourself for sex, and that’s great. Although there’s a lot of preparation needed to have sex, there’s nothing else like it. Enjoy and be safe out there!



Jakhi Lodgson-McCray (he/him), 17, mostly plays games and watches movies. (Things he says he shouldn’t be doing since he definitely has work to do.) Sex education has been an important part of Jakhi’s life: “I’ve learned many things, and I hope to share them with you!”