What is Consent?

What is sexual consent?

Consent is agreeing to participate in something; for example, sexual consent is agreeing to engage in sexual acts with someone. It’s pretty much like saying “yes” to someone who’s asking if you want to do something sexual with him or her. It is really important to talk with your partner about what you’re comfortable doing, and you should talk about it beforehand.

What is and is not consent?

  • You can’t assume that someone wants to have any kind of sex; for you to know, the other person has to tell you. You can’t assume that someone wants to have sex because of how they’re dressed or what they’re doing
  • Consent has to be spoken; statements like “Yea, I want to do ___ with you.” are great because they clearly state that the person wants to do a specific thing. If a person doesn’t say anything or seems unsure, they have not consented to sex.
  • You can’t be pressured into giving consent.
  • Someone who has been drinking or doing drugs can’t give consent; also, if someone appears to be asleep, he or she can’t consent.
  • Even if you consent, you can always change your mind if you begin to feel unsafe or uncomfortable.
  • If you are in a relationship where you have already had sex, you still have to get consent each time. Consent can never be assumed!

Why is consent important?

You get to decide what you want to do with someone. Your partner should not pressure you to do anything that makes you uncomfortable or anxious. If your partner attempts to pressure you or repeatedly asks for your consent after you have said no, that is called sexual coercion.

Sexual activity without consent from everyone involved is sexual assault or rape.

Sexual assault includes:

  • Having sex with someone who has not given consent
  • Forcing someone to do something he or she is uncomfortable doing
  • Ignoring a partner who is in pain, uncomfortable, or who has asked for the activity to stop or slow down
  • Taking off the condom without letting the other person know

For more information and suggestions on how to ask for and deny consent, visit the following resources: