By Anti-Violence Project | 2015-01-19 | Commentary

A close up of lips with a slight smile

You have lips, I have lips. I might want to kiss you but let’s use our lips to talk about it first. When doing consent training workshops, we discover how common it is for people to feel uncomfortable practicing consent in their lives. Consent is a muscle and like all others, in order to work it needs practice.

One big challenge people face when starting to ask for consent is finding the balance between giving space for the other person to say no, yet maintaining the sexiness of the situation.

In practice however, the thrill of asking for consent is fun and creative. Do you remember your first kisses? Butterflies? The uncertainty, hesitance and awkwardness are all cues that consent is being practiced. You’re alive to the possibility of someone saying “no”.

Lets be clear: not everyone likes kissing and not all folks are in relationships and that’s awesome!

For those who are interested in kissing*:

*Bear in mind that inviting kissing in any of these ways requires an appropriate context (more on that later)

  • “Would it be okay if I kissed you on the lips?”
  • “would you like me to lean closer and put my lips on your neck?”
  • “Would you be willing to kiss me right now?”
  • “Welcome to kissville, population us?”
  • Our Favourite: “Can I kiss you?”
  • “Can you kiss me?”
  • “Can you kiss me softly?”
  • “I would love to kiss you right now, if you’re into it. Are you?”
  • “How comfortable would you be with kissing right now?”
  • Try this: Lean towards someone and offer them your cheek. Give them eye contact while tapping your cheek.
  • If your partner responds to that, try tapping on other parts of your face or body.
  • Write your request on a piece of paper and pass it on a note.

Part of practicing consent is being comfortable with saying and receiving “no” as an answer.
This can also be challenging for people to get used to. Here are some ways to practice:

  • “No.”
  • “Nope.”
  • “Nah.”
  • “Not now, but check in with me later.”
  • “No thanks”
  • “Not now.”
  • “Not here, maybe somewhere private?”
  • “Not into it.”
  • “No, I’m sick”

And finally, ways to respond to receiving a “no”.

  • “Thanks for being honest”
  • “Thanks for being so rad”
  • Our Favourite: “Okay, cool!”

What are some of your favourite ways to ask for a kiss or say no?


If you’re interested in furthering these discussions, join us for our monthly consent training workshop.

Visit us in the office

Creative ways to ask to kiss (or be kissed by) someone
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