Legally someone is too drunk to consent if they are incapacitated.
This would apply if, for example:
- their speech is slurred or incoherent and they can’t maintain a conversation
- they can’t walk properly or are wobbly and unbalanced
- they seem drowsy, or fall in and out of consciousnes s
- their behaviour seems wildly out of character and they’ve taken part in dangerous or risky activities
- they won’t be able to remember what happened the next day
- they have been vomiting.
Someone should be fully coordinated, appreciative and responsive before you engage in any kind of sexual activity with them.
If they can’t give you a fully, happy, enthusiastic “yes,” you should stop all sexual activity.
If you’re unsure, err on the side of caution and allow the person to sober up before continuing.
Regularly checking in with a partner will help you to determine what they want and how they feel, as well as how drunk they are.
Drinking can also affect your ability to communicate clearly and pick up on cues to understand how someone is feeling, so if you don’t feel able to figure this out when drunk - think about whether you can abstain, drink less, or decide that you won'tt do anything more than kiss while drinking.
Why is it important to discuss consent and drinking?
There’s an idea that people should just be advised not to have sex if they have been drinking, but this won’t stop it from happening.
It’s inevitable that people will still have sex while drunk and we want to provide realistic advice for you to safely navigate consent in this situation.
Drinking can impair your ability to communicate effectively but gaining clear, coherent, enthusiastic consent before having sex is essential to make sure everyone is safe, happy and having a good time.