Understanding Consent

Consent is an enthusiastic (and not coerced) yes! It is an active, direct, voluntary, unimpaired and conscious choice and agreement to engage in sexual activity. It is the responsibility of the initiator of sexual activity to obtain consent at all stages of sexual engagement. More specifically:

  • Someone giving consent for one activity at one time does not mean they have consented to repeated or increased sexual contact;
  • Consent cannot be given if someone in a position of authority, power, or trust is using their position to push for sexual activity;
  • Consent cannot be given when someone is using threats, intimidation, coercion, or pressure;
  • Consent cannot be given if the person is unconscious, or if they are incapacitated by alcohol, drugs, or some other reason;
  • Consent can be withdrawn at any point in time, even if other sexual activities have taken place;
  • Consent is not silence or the absence of a “no” – people should ensure that their partners are comfortable with all sexual activity taking place

Consent can play into many aspects of our life – a lot of our interactions with friends, family, and community members revolve around treating others how they wish to be treated. Consent is a necessary step in understanding other people’s boundaries.

Below are some helpful videos to help understand consent. Both the basics, and how we can apply consent to our experiences in a way that feels natural and genuine.

Ryerson University: Consent Comes First

RockStarDinosaurPiratePrincess and Blue Seat Studio: Tea and Consent

Planned Parenthood: How Do You Know if Someone Wants to Have Sex with You?

Laci Green: Wanna Have Sex? (Consent 101)