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What is Consent?

Consent is an agreement between individuals prior to any sexual activity that clearly communicates which activities each person is comfortable engaging in. Consent can be withdrawn by either individual at any point in time.

There should be actual words or conduct that indicate freely given agreement for sexual activities. Some important points to consider are:

  • Body language can be misinterpreted, so always talk prior to action!
  • "Freely" given consent means that there was no manipulation or coercion compelling an individual to say "YES" when they may want to say "NO."
  • Someone who is drunk, drugged, or incapacitated cannot legally give consent.
  • Consent is the presence of a "YES," not the absence of a "NO." Thus, if a person does not object or fight back, this is not an indication of consent.

Additional Online Resources

  • Sexual Consent This short YouTube video is very explicit, but it is hilarious. A young couple on a blind date start talking about consent, and suddenly lawyers appear to negotiate their sexual activities. It's more suited for college-age youth, and as a springboard for discussion among youth-serving professionals.
  • Scarleteen A sex positive, sex education site that addresses issues of consent and discusses differences in our bodies, sexual orientation, and sexual boundaries. They also have forums for Q&A.
Reviewed: December 6th, 2016