What is Consent?
August 25, 2017
What is consent?
Contrary to popular belief, people have sex! But in order to have sex, there must be consent. Consent is an enthusiastic and clear agreement to engage in sexual activity with a partner(s). This means you need to ask your partner if they want to engage in sexual activity with you, instead of assuming that they do. Below are some important things to remember:
- No means no AND yes means yes. Even if a person seems into it doesn’t mean that they are.
- Having sex with someone once does not indicate consent for future sexual encounters. Ask every time!
- If you or your partner is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you may not be able to give proper consent. Chances are you don’t know how much they’ve had to drink, how much they’ve had to eat, what their alcohol or drug tolerance level, etc.
- You can decide you do not want to continue a sexual encounter at any point. It is not rude, unfair, or mean. Consent can be taken away at any time!
- Coercion to engage in sexual activities can be a sign of an unhealthy relationship and might mean there is not consent. Examples of coercion are: guilting you into doing something, convincing you that you owe them, claiming that sex is proof that you love them, threatening to harm themselves if you say no, etc.
- If your partner takes off a condom or any type of protection without your knowledge, that is not consensual, even if you consented to sex before.
The National Sexual Violence Resource Center provides additional information on consent if you have any questions. You can also bring Cleveland Rape Crisis Center Educators into your classroom or office to talk about consent and give bystander intervention training. We’re here to help!
We’re here for you. Text or call the Crisis and Support Hotline anytime of the day or night at (216) 619-6192 or (440) 423-2020, or chat online. Make an appointment with a counselor or victim advocate: call (216) 619-6194 ext. 141 or request an appointment online.