Hear and respect "No" messages

We are all into different sexual experiences. What one person is into may not be the same as what someone else likes. If you’re being sexual with others, pay attention to any ‘No’ or “I’m not sure” messages – stop and check out if people are OK with what’s going on.

Are you seeing, hearing or feeling ‘No’ (or “I’m not sure”) messages from yourself or those you’re with?

Remember silence is not a ‘Yes’ message. If someone is acting shy, scared, unsure, hesitant or you think they are not TOTALLY keen then stop and ask how they are doing.

Did you know?

Body language is the most common way people say “No thanks” to sexSex
Is different things people choose to do to actively express sexuality and sexual feelings; often this involves genitals, but not always. Other words used in place of “sex” could be “sexual activity”, “sexual experiences”, or just “sexual” – they all mean the same thing. Sex can involve one person (i.e. masturbation) or more. When we talk about sex, we are not just talking about a man putting his penis into a woman’s vagina – there are heaps of ways people can have sex.
For sex to be fun, legal, respectful and pleasurable there must always be CONSENT.

A lot of people find it really hard to express ‘No’ messages verbally and clearly. It could be they don’t want to hurt the other person’s feelings or they are scared of how others will react, and/or they are scared that if they say ‘No’ the other person will think they are saying, “No, I don’t like you”, rather than, “No, I don’t like what you are doing right now”.

Remember: You have a responsibility to respect how the person you are with is feeling about what is happening.

Like ‘Yes’ messages, people express ‘No’ messages in many different ways - sometimes it’s really obvious what’s being said. Other times it’s not so clear and you must listen carefully to get the real meaning.

Here are some of the different types of verbal and non-verbal ‘No’ messages we have heard from young ers and our friends at Scarleteen, www.scarleteen.com.

(You can also read the list as a PDF).

Verbal  'No' messages can include:

  • Telling you they’re feeling unwell.
  • Telling you they are feeling uncomfortable.
  • Telling you they are in pain.
  • “Slow down!”
  • “I’m not in that frame of mind right now. “
  • “Stop it - I don’t like that!”
  • “I don’t feel comfortable.”
  • “I’m not in the mood.”
  • “I’m too distracted right now.”
  • “I am totally into doing … with you, but just not right now, how about we see where we’re at later?”
  • “I don’t want to do this.”
  • “This is not what I wanted to do, stop!”
  • “No, don’t.”
  • “I'm not sure. “
  • “I don't know. “
  • “I'm scared.”
  • “No more.”
  • “I want to, but...”
  • “I feel worried about... “
  • “I don't want you/it/that .“
  • “Can you please not do…”
  • “I thought I wanted to, but... “
  • “Maybe.”
  • “I love you/this, but...”
  • “I want to do this, but not right now.”
  • “I don't know how I feel about this.”
  • “I'm not ready or not sure if I'm ready.”
  • “I don't want to do this anymore.”

Non-verbal (body language) 'No' messages can include:

  • Moving your hand away.
  • Silence.
  • Turning away.
  • Just lying there doing nothing.
  • Not touching you back.
  • Looking unhappy or scared.
  • Putting a pillow wall up between you and them.
  • Putting their clothes back on.
  • Falling asleep or pretending to.
  • Shutting their legs.
  • Turning over and lying on their stomach.
  • Hitting/moving your hand away.
  • Backing away.
  • Reading a book.
  • Leaving the room.
  • Turning on the TV.
  • Switching on their laptop.
  • Playing with cell phone.
  • Making a joke.
  • Starting to talk about something really serious.
  • Crying.
  • Trying to move away.
  • Avoiding eye contact.
  • Shaking head ‘No.’
  • Not being comfortable being naked.
  • Sounds of fear or sadness, like whimpering or a trembling voice.

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Come on in to the Sex’N’Respect website!

Just a heads up, this website has some stuff about sexual violence which might be upsetting,
especially if you or someone close to you has experienced it.

If you find yourself getting upset, make sure you get support or take a few deep breaths
and think about something that makes you smile.

Some of the topics in here may also conflict with your beliefs.
We think that if a person is harming someone, or their human rights
IT IS NOT OK - no matter what your beliefs are.

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