Knowing what's appropriate and what's not in terms of flirting and relationships is important -- particularly in organized environments like school or work. An unwanted sexual advance can get someone in big trouble at the inappropriate place and time. You should also know what your rights are if you feel like you've been treated inappropriately.
Definition of an Advance
An advance is conduct of a sexual nature from one person to another. USLegal states, "Sexual advances can be welcome or unwelcome gestures made towards another person with the aim of gaining some sort of sexual favor or gratification."
Examples of Sexual Advances
It might look like harmless flirting, but it doesn't take much to cross over into inappropriate sexual conduct. Putting hands on someone's shoulders, blowing into her ear or any other suggestive form of touch is a sexual advance, regardless of how the person responds. The University of Michigan Office of Institutional Equity offers the following examples: "touching, hugging, kissing, fondling, touching oneself sexually for others to view, sexual assault, intercourse or other sexual activity."
Sexual Harassment Is Illegal
Unwanted sexual advances that disrupt your work or make you feel uncomfortable or unsafe qualify as sexual harassment, which is against the law in workplaces and in schools. If you have witnessed or experienced sexual harassment, you have the right to report it to an authority, like a school official, supervisor or the police.
- Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images