One of my friends agreed to have sex with her boyfriend the next time they hung out. Then the next time they were hanging out, she fell asleep and woke up with his hands down her pants. Is this still considered an assault if she said she'd do it before?
Unless she explicitly gave her boyfriend consent to engage in any sort of sexual activity, it is considered assault, yes. If your friend was sleeping when her partner put his hands down her pants, there is no way she could have given consent because she would not have been conscious. If you/your friend need more resources to help navigate this or to get support, please visit https://www.safehousealliance.org/ or call our clinic to talk to one of our providers.
How can I talk to my girlfriend about having sex?
There isn't one right answer to this question! You can start by explaining how you feel about your girlfriend and then ask if she's feeling ready to have sex. This doesn't have to be just one conversation, it can be through a series of smaller conversations. Make sure you're being honest and that you're creating a space for open dialogue between you and your girlfriend so that she feels comfortable responding honestly. Listen carefully to what she says, and pay attention to body language too. People communicate a LOT through body language, especially if they're somewhat uncomfortable. Remember that explicit consent must be given before engaging in any type of sex; otherwise, it would be considered sexual assault.
What is the age of consent in Colorado and what does that refer to?
The age of consent in Colorado; i.e., the age at which someone can legally consent to sexual activity, is 17. Consent laws are meant to protect minors from being targeted and/or exploited by people older/more powerful than them. They are not meant to punish two consenting individuals.
Colorado consent law also includes something called "close-in-age" exemptions. These state that 15 and 16 year-olds can engage in sexual acts with people less than ten years older than them, and people under the age of 15 can engage in acts with those less than four years older than them.