Human Rights Office: Dear Jen: Friends and Sexual Harassment (August 2001)
When does no mean no? I have some women friends who have admitted to me that they never say yes the first time and they make their date work for "it." Alex
This is a really easy one: "No" means "no" the first time, and "no" always means "no." When it comes to sexual activities, I don't know what game your friends are playing but I suspect it is a dangerous one for them, and for anyone who plays along trying to guess what they mean. The best way to avoid making a mistake about how the other person feels is to assume that when a person says "no" they mean "no". Pay attention to body language as well and ask about it if you are not sure what it means. A person is entitled to change his or her mind to a "yes" or a "no" at any time. It is very important to understand that if you engage in sexual activity without your partner's consent, it's considered sexual assault. Get informed! There are lots of resources out there, like the Sexual Health Resource Centre at 51 Queen's Crescent, Queen's Health, Counselling and Disability Services and the Human Rights Office.