Safe Connections representative emphasizes healthy sexual behaviors

Consensual. Intimate. Safe.

Those were just a few words thrown out by students to describe good sex during a healthy sexual behaviors presentation last week.

Lauren Keefer of Safe Connections, an organization that provides counseling and services to victims of sexual and domestic violence, spoke to roughly 35 students, focusing on consent and communication.

In regard to consent, Keefer said the general definitions of permission and interest are “too robotic” when talking about sex.

“When it comes to sex, I think consent is really special,” Keefer said. “… Consent in an ideal world is about being free to say, ‘Yes,’ and being free to say, ‘No.’”

She explained consent through a traffic light metaphor, splitting verbal and physical cues into green, yellow and red lights.

Green signals include eye contact, body positioning and asking if a person has protection. Yellow signals can range from pushing someone away or being passive, while red light indicators are pain and telling someone to stop, among other examples.

But Keefer said sometimes yellow lights, such as nervous laughter, can be a bad habit because they do not clearly communicate a person’s intentions or desires.

“[You have to] start flexing your muscles in terms of communicating with people,” Keefer said.

Keefer also discussed how gender plays a role in the way a person is perceived in his or her response to sexual advances. Women risk being called a slut if they give too many green lights, according to Keefer. But if women give yellow lights, she said they are considered a prude or a tease.

“That’s a very small box to exist in,” Keefer said.

Keefer also said men are socialized to give the green light and are seen as being unmanly if they do not.

“Men are socialized to always want it,” Keefer said. “… These boxes and these expectations oppress men too.”

Keefer also discussed assault, rape and supporting victims of such acts. More information about Safe Connections can be found at


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