What is Consent?
Consent is a form of giving permission for something to happen or entering into an agreement.
Consent is needed between people before they engage in any form of sexual activity. The person who is seeking consent is responsible for making sure that they have the other person’s consent, not the other way around! It is against the law to engage in sexual activity or to continue to engage in sexual activity without consent. Even if the other person seems into it, the only way to know if you have consent is to ask.
- Freely given: A choice made without pressure or guilt
- Enthusiastic: it should be exciting and something the individuals want to do
- Reversible: consent can be changed or taken away at any time
- Ongoing: it needs to be given before sexual activity, during sexual activity as well as next time
- Mutual: all involved must agree
- Informed: all involved must understand what is happening
- Clearly and freely communicated: there should be no mystery of doubt
- Specific: Saying yes to one thing doesn’t mean yes to everything
Only yes, means yes. Silence or lack of resistance does not equal consent.
Related Content: Talking to your Teens about the issue of online pornography
Enthusiastic consent sounds like:
- I’d like to
- Can we…
- I want to do this
- I’m enjoying this
- Do you like this?
- Is this ok?
- Are you comfortable?
- Are you happy to go further?
- Do you want to stop?
CONSENT IS NOT:
- Assumed (flirting, clothing choices, sexual texts, and body language are not consent)
- A free pass (saying yes to one act does not mean consent has been given for other acts)
- A once-off (it needs to be given before sexual activity, during sexual activity, as well as next time)
Consent cannot be given by individuals who are underage, intoxicated or incapacitated by drugs or alcohol, or asleep or unconscious.
A person cannot give consent if they are:
- Under the legal age of consent
- Semi-conscious, asleep or passed out
- Threatened, bullied, pressured or manipulated
- Unable to understand the sexual activity you are consenting to
- Severely affected by drugs or alcohol
- Not able to understand what you’re consenting to
- Prevented from leaving – locked in a room or car
- Afraid that you or someone else will be harmed
- In a vulnerable position – impacted by someone with a position of power
- Tricked in any way (catfished)