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What is consent and why is it essential?

Understanding the importance of consent is essential in every relationship. Consent can be withdrawn at anytime, for any reason. Remember, only an enthusiastic "yes" is a yes—a reluctant "yes" is not consent, a coerced "yes" is not consent, and a "no" is definitely not consent.

Let's Talk about Consent

What Is Consent?

Consent allows both partners to express what they do want to experience.

It can be a moment for both partners to openly express to each other what they’re looking for. The saying “yes means yes” can be empowering and useful in thinking about what consent is.

Consent is ongoing.

Both partners should keep giving and looking for consent. Just because you’ve given consent to an act before, doesn’t mean it becomes a “given” every time. This idea also relates to new relationships — just because you’ve given consent to something in a different relationship doesn’t make it “automatic” in a new relationship.

Consent is not a
free pass.

Saying yes to one act doesn’t mean you are giving consent to other acts. Each requires its own consent.

EX: Saying yes to oral sex doesn’t automatically mean you’re saying yes to intercourse.

Your relationship status does not make consent automatic.

If you’re married to someone, friends with someone, or dating someone, it doesn’t mean they ‘own’ your consent by default, or that you own theirs.

Consent can also be taken back at any time.

Any time—even if you’re in the midst of something and feeling uncomfortable, you always have the right to stop.

There’s no such thing as implied consent.

The absence of a “no” does not equal a “yes.” What you or a partner chooses to wear doesn’t mean that you or they are inviting unwanted sexual attention or “pre-consenting.” The same can be said for flirting, talking, showing interest or any other actions.

It’s not consent if you’re afraid to say no.

It’s not consent if you’re being manipulated, pressured, or threatened to say yes. It’s also not consent if you or a partner is unable to legitimately give consent, which includes being asleep, unconscious, under the influence of conscious-altering substances or not able to understand what you’re saying yes to.

Non-consent means STOP.  

If anyone involved isn’t consenting, then what is happening is or could be rape, sexual assault or abuse.

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