What is consent?
- Consent is a voluntary mutual agreement. It’s informed, sober, honest, clear, and involves the word “yes” from each person involved. That means there’s discussion and clear communication.
- Consent should be freely given: it should never be coerced, be forced, involve pressure, intimidation or threats.
- Consent should be mutually agreed upon: with a clear understanding of what is being asked for and consented to.
- Consent must never be assumed or implied, even if you’re in a relationship. Just because you are in a relationship doesn’t mean that you always have consent to have sex with your partner.
- Consent may be withdrawn at any time, and when it is withdrawn all sexual activity must stop immediately.
- Consent can’t legally be given by a person who is intoxicated or high. If you or your partner are too drunk or high to make decisions and communicate, then there can’t be consent.
have they given you consent?
The only way to know for sure if someone has given consent is if they tell you. One of the best ways to determine if someone is comfortable with any situation, especially with a sexual one, is to simply ask. Here are some examples of the questions you might ask:
- I really want to hug/kiss…you. Can I?
- What do you want to do with me?
- Have you ever…? Would you like to try it with me?
- Are you comfortable?
- Do you want to go further?
- How do you like to…?
- What are you into?
- What would you like?
- Do you want to stop?
- What’s turning you on right now?
- What about X turns you on?
- Where do you want my hands?
The language we use during intimacy can greatly influence behavior. Tailoring our language to open up space is key to discovering the desires of who we’re with. Try using open-ended phrases. Be prepared to enjoy unexpected answers!
Want to learn more about consent?
Check out the Consensual Project for over a dozen tools to make it easier for you to start connecting through consent. The tools can help to:
- Create space in hook-ups that allow for the time that is needed to make the decisions you want.
- Discover how to express your own sexual interests through words. The better you understand the depth of your desire as it is constantly developing, the better you’ll be at articulating it.
- Maximize pleasure and safety.