Risks of Not Getting it Right
If you're reading this, chances are you personally don't want to get anywhere near a sexual assault, on either side of the equation. That's good, because in social, dating or sexual situations the best way to make sure you're in the realm of all things consensual, is simply to be able to talk about it. Taking the time to check in verbally may mean the difference between a great time and the worst night of your life.
For starters, one or both of you could feel uneasy about what's going on, which is, at best, not sexy. You could also end up having bad sex or sex you regret later, and both scenarios definitely suck. WORST CASE SCENARIO: You could end up in a non-consensual sexual situation. That means sexual assault. Rape.
No matter what, you don't want to go there.
So even though a perpetrator is always the one responsible for the crime they commit, in situations that potentially preface sex, all of us have an obligation (to ourselves if no one else) to communicate as clearly and well as we can. This may involve different strategies depending on whether you are pursuing or being pursued (or whether the pursuit is mutual), but the skills required for talking are essentially the same.
You just need a mouth (or sign language).
Sidebar for guys:
Think of it this way: It's not going to kill you to ask until you know for sure that everything's cool. Check in until your partner has made it perfectly clear. If you want to have sex with someone, even if you know you'll never get together again, it pays to find out where the lines are.
Besides, survey says: women dig it! Whether you want a girlfriend or are just fooling around, women far prefer guys who show them the respect of checking in with them over guys that don't. You can make sure she's comfortable and willing by asking. If she's not responding, chances are something's up. If that's the case, stop. Way better safe than sorry.