You are here

What Is Consent?

  • Consent is informed, voluntary, and mutual among all participants to engage in sexual activity.
  • Consent may be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions create clear permission regarding willingness to engage in the sexual activity.
  • Consent does not vary based upon a participant's sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.
  • Consent to any sexual act or prior consensual sexual activity between or with any party does not necessarily constitute consent to any other sexual act.
  • Consent is required regardless of whether the person initiating the act is under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.
  • Consent cannot be given when a person is incapacitated, which occurs when an individual lacks the ability to knowingly choose to participate in sexual activity. Incapacitation may be caused by the lack of consciousness or being asleep, being involuntarily restrained, or if an individual otherwise cannot consent.  Depending on the degree of intoxication, someone who is under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other intoxicants may be incapacitated and therefore unable to consent.
  • Consent cannot be given when it is the result of any coercion, intimidation, force, or threat of harm.
  • Consent may be initially given but withdrawn at any time.
  • When consent is withdrawn or can no longer be given, sexual activity must stop.
  • Silence does not demonstrate consent.
  • Lack of resistance or the absence of no to any sexual activity does not demonstrate consent.
  • Not say NO, doesn’t mean YES.

Sexual activity between individuals requires that all participants consent to the activity. Consent between two or more people is defined as mutually understandable words and actions to engage in sexual activity. The person giving the consent must act freely, voluntarily, and with an understanding of his or her actions when giving the consent. Individuals who want to engage in the sexual activity are responsible for obtaining consent and consent should never be assumed. A prior relationship or prior sexual activity is not sufficient to demonstrate consent.

Consent must be present throughout the sexual activity–at any time, a participant can communicate that he or she no longer consents to continuing the activity. If there is confusion as to whether anyone has consented or continues to consent to sexual activity, it is essential that the participants stop the activity until the confusion can be clearly resolved.
Need more information on Consent, take a look at this video: Consent as Tea