What is consent and why is consent important to a healthy relationship?
Consent means that both people must agree to a mutual activity, and either person may decide at any time that they no longer consent and that they want to stop.
Check in with yourself and your partner often to make sure that both of you are comfortable with what is happening, and respect the feelings that each of you have.
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” moving into a new relationship.
Consent is not a free pass.
Saying yes to one act doesn’t mean you have to consent to other acts. Each act requires its own consent. For example, 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 — even if you’re in the midst of something and feeling uncomfortable, you always have the right to stop at any time.
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 in any way. 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 (drunk or high) or not able to understand what you’re saying yes to.
There’s no such thing as implied consent.
The absence of a “no” does not mean a “yes.” What you or a partner chooses to wear or not weat 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 similar actions.
Non-consent means STOP.
If anyone involved isn’t consenting, then what is happening is or could be rape, sexual assault and/or abuse.