Consent

Consent

Consent is affirmative by definition. Consent is an explicitly communicated mutual agreement in which all parties make an informed, voluntary, and active decision to engage in specific sexual activity.  It is the responsibility of any person wishing to engage in sexual activity with another person to determine the capacity of that potential sexual partner to provide consent. 

Explicitly Communicated

Consent must be communicated clearly, either verbally or non-verbally, through an outward demonstration signifying a person has freely chosen to engage in specific sexual activity.  Consent cannot be inferred from the absence of a “no” and may not be inferred from silence, passivity, lack of resistance, or lack of an active response (e.g. freezing or being physically unable to communicate). 

Informed

This means that all individuals understand, are aware of, and agree to the “who” (same partners), “what” (same acts), “where” (same location), “when” (same time), and “how” (same way and under the same conditions) of the sexual activity.  A person is not deemed to be informed if a sexual partner misrepresents or materially omits information about themself or the situation to gain sexual access. Being informed includes, but is not limited to, an awareness of whether pictures and/or video are being taken and knowledge of a partner’s sexual health status (e.g. sexually transmitted infections). See also “sexual exploitation.”

Voluntary

This means that consent is freely given by all parties and cannot be the result of force, threats, intimidation, coercion, or fraud.

Active

Consent must be present and ongoing throughout every sexual interaction. Consent to one activity does not imply consent to other acts, nor does a previous intimate relationship indicate consent to other sexual acts.  Consent can be revoked at any time.  If there is confusion or ambiguity during a sexual interaction, it is essential that the participants stop the activity and clarify each party’s willingness to continue.