What is Consent?
While movies and media can make consent seem complex and complicated, it’s actually quite simple. Consent is incredibly important but is not talked about nearly enough. Simply put, consent is an agreement between people to engage in a sexual or physical activity. Whether it’s kissing, touching, sex, or anything else, consent is critical and it’s important for everyone involved to feel comfortable with what’s happening.
Sexual activity without consent is sexual assault.
Some people become worried that talking about consent can feel awkward or uncomfortable, but ultimately, consent and asking for consent is about knowing your own personal boundaries and respecting those of the other person. The mood will be much more positive with everyone feels safe to freely communicate what they want.
What consent looks like
Freely given: Consenting is a choice that should be make without pressure, coercion, threats, or under manipulation.
Reversible: Consent can be rescinded at any time. Anyone can change their mind about what they feel like doing, even if they’ve done it before.
Informed: You can only consent to something if you have the full story.
Enthusiastic: You should only do things that you want to do, not things that you feel you’re expected to do. When someone doesn’t say “no,” it doesn’t mean “yes.” Consent is a clear and enthusiastic yes! If someone seems unsure, stays silent, doesn’t respond, or says “maybe…” then they aren’t saying “yes.”
Specific: Saying yes to one thing doesn’t automatically give consent for something else or for it to happen again whenever. For example, agreeing to kiss someone doesn’t give that person permission to remove your clothes.
Communication is key when it comes to consent. Ultimately, consent is about what you feel comfortable with. Consent is never implied by things like past behavior, what you were wearing, or if you were flirting at first. You’re allowed to say “stop” at any time, and this decision should be respected.
What consent does NOT look like:
ng to acknowledge “no”
Assuming that wearing certain clothes, flirting, or kissing is an invitation for anything more
Someone being incapacitated because of drugs or alcohol
Pressuring someone into sexual activity by using fear or intimidation
Assuming you have permission to engage in a sexual act because you’ve done it in the past or because:
The other person hasn’t asked you to stop
The other person seems like they’re “into it”
If you’ve experienced sexual assault, know that you are not alone.
Our crisis hotline is available 24/7: 757-236-5260