In certain situations, people like to joke that no means yes. In actuality it doesn’t. No means no and yes means yes. That distinction is important in sexual settings. There needs to be a consensual agreement. So here is a list of words and their correct definitions that will be helpful to know:

  • Yes: adverb \ˈyes
    • used as a function word to express assent or agreement
  • No: adverb \ˈnō\
    • used to give a negative answer or reply to a question, request, or offer
  • Stop: verb \ˈstäp\
    • to not do something that you have been doing before : to not continue doing something
  • Consent: noun \kən-ˈsent\
    • permission for something to happen or be done

It is also important to know that no response does not mean yes either. Silence is not an opportunity to assume that your partner is being shy. Whether or not the person is someone you just met, a boyfriend, girlfriend, wife or husband, yes must be explicitly stated. It’s easiest to remember that only yes means yes. Even if yes is stated, your partner has the right to change their mind, at any time. To avoid any complicated situations, just remember to get consent. Ideally, if you’re having sex, both you and your partner(s) would be excited! Remember that consent is the bare minimum of what you need. We think you should shoot for enthusiastic consent! If your partner is unsure or hesitant, take that opportunity to stop and communicate. A yellow light will turn into a red one, but a yellow light will never turn green! If you’re having sex, let’s agree to make it safe and supportive!