When Someone Doesn’t Want to Have Sex

If sex is going to happen, it’s essential that everyone agrees that they want to. If a person agrees they want to have sex, that means they’re giving consent. But how can you tell if someone wants to have sex? How can you tell if someone is giving consent? In this video by Planned Parenthood, they show what it looks like when someone definitely doesn’t want to have sex. They also show how you can support someone and be good to them if they don’t want to have sex with you.

What we Talk About and Why





Consent is the foundation of healthy partnered sexuality. Knowing that everyone is an enthusiastic, informed, freely-given ‘yes’ to a sexual activity before it happens is mandatory.

Adults with cognitive disabilities often get told what to do – by staff or families or even by strangers like medical specialists they only meet once. They may be punished if they don’t comply. When this happens, they learn that it’s not important whether or not they consent to something. They have to do what they’re told.

Given these experiences, consent is a concept that needs to be talked about and demonstrated often. This helps people learn how to ask for consent in sexual situations. It also helps them learn how to give consent when they’re a ‘yes’, and how to not give it when they’re a ‘no’.

It’s also valuable for staff and families to think about how we can model consent in our daily interactions with the people we support so that we are not sending mixed messages. (eg. “No always means no… except when I’m telling you to eat your broccoli.”)