Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Consent: About

Watch Videos About Consent
What is Consent?

Consent is a voluntary, enthusiastic, and clear agreement between the participants to engage in specific sexual activity. Period. There is no room for different views on what consent is. People incapacitated by drugs or alcohol cannot consent.

If clear, voluntary, coherent, and ongoing consent is not given by all participants, it’s sexual assault. There’s no room for ambiguity or assumptions when it comes to consent, and there aren’t different rules for people who’ve hooked up before. Nonconsensual sex is rape. Consent is : 

  • Clear - Consent is clear and unambiguous. Is your partner enthusiastically engaging in sexual activity? Have they given verbal permission for each sexual activity? Then you have clear consent. Silence is not consent. Never assume you have consent — you should clarify by asking.
  • Ongoing - You should have permission for every activity at every stage of a sexual encounter. It’s also important to note that consent can be removed at any time — after all, people do change their minds!
  • Coherent - Every participant in sexual activity must be capable of granting their consent. If someone is too intoxicated or incapacitated by alcohol or drugs, or is either not awake or fully awake, they’re incapable of giving consent. Failure to recognize that the other person was too impaired to consent is not “drunk sex.” It’s sexual assault.
  • Voluntary - Consent should be given freely and willingly. Repeatedly asking someone to engage in a sexual act until they eventually say yes is not consent, it’s coercion.

Consent is required for everyone, including people who are in a committed relationship or married. No one is obliged to do anything they don’t want to do, and being in a relationship doesn’t obligate a person to engage in any type of sexual activity.

It’s important to understand that any type of sexual activity without consent, including touching, fondling, kissing, and intercourse, is a form of sexual assault and may be considered a crime. (Continue reading from Healthline)

In Defining Consent, There's a Gap Between the Law, Culture

It may sound simple: You either consent to sexual activity or you don't. But just what constitutes an expression of consent is a hotly debated topic in the justice system and in society at large. And while there's been a gradual cultural trend, especially on university campuses, toward a standard of "affirmative consent" — otherwise known as "yes means yes" rather than "no means no" — the laws on sexual assault have not similarly evolved.

"There's a definite lag between what's happening culturally and what's happening in criminal law," says Deborah Tuerkheimer, a law professor at Northwestern University who has written extensively about the topic. "I haven't seen the #MeToo movement usher in a wave of criminal law reform. Maybe that's to come, but I haven't seen it."

There is no uniform legal definition of consent. That's because sexual assault laws, of which consent is often a key component, vary widely state by state. Only a handful of states, among them California, Florida and Wisconsin, have an affirmative consent standard on the books, according to the anti-sexual violence organization RAINN. (Continue reading from US News)

Learn More

All About Sexual Consent (Planned Parenthood)

When it Comes to Consent, There are No Blurred Lines (UN Women)

Statistics (#MeToo Movement)

Understanding Consent (RAINN)

Read about Consent