All About Consent

Why does consent matter?

Consent is when someone agrees to do something sexual with you — whether it’s kissing, touching, oral sex, vaginal sex, or anal sex. Before doing any of those things, it needs to be totally clear that both people involved want it.

That means if you want to do something sexual with someone, you need to ask first. If you don’t ask first before you touch, kiss, or do anything sexual with someone, and they don’t say yes, then you don’t have that person’s consent, and what you’re doing to them may be rape or sexual assault. That’s why consent matters.

Asking for consent isn’t hard or awkward. In fact, it makes doing sexy stuff less awkward and less confusing because when there’s clear consent, you know for sure that the person you’re with is down to do the same thing you are.

Consent Is:

  • Freely given. It’s not okay to pressure, trick, or threaten someone into saying yes. And you can’t give consent if you’re drunk, high, or passed out.
  • Reversible. It’s okay to say yes and then change your mind — at any time! Even if you’ve done it before, and even if you’re both naked in bed.
  • Informed. You can only consent to something if you have all the facts. For example, if someone says they’ll use a condom and then they don’t, there isn’t full consent.
  • Enthusiastic. When it comes to sex, you should do stuff you WANT to do, not things people expect you to do. If someone doesn’t seem enthusiastic (meaning happy, excited, or energized), stop and check in.
  • Specific. Saying yes to one thing (like going to the bedroom to make out) doesn’t mean you’re saying yes to other things (like having sex).

How To Talk About Sex (And Consent): 4 Lessons From The Kink Community

There are laws about who’s able to consent. If the person you’re with is...

  • Drunk or high
  • Asleep or passed out
  • Below the legal age of consent or much younger than you
  • Disabled in a way that affects their ability to understand you

...then they can’t consent, and it’s not okay for you to do anything sexual with them.