The University of Mary Washington defines consent through the Prohibited Conduct Policy which is hosted on the Office of Title IX’s webpage.
Society has taught us that sex is this magical experience that happens without any communication. This is not true –good sex- involves good communication. We recognize that people learn in a variety of ways. Check out some of our favorite campaigns below around consent and think about ways to continue incorporating them into your daily lives.
People often think consent is only important when it comes to sex. Really, consent is about always choosing to respect personal and emotional boundaries. By practicing consent in everyday situations, you show that you value the choices of others.
- Ask For Consent When Touching
- It’s important to ask for consent before hugging, tickling, or other kinds of touch.
- Ask sincerely so others understand it’s okay to say no.
- Respect Privacy
- Everyone has boundaries. Some people like to keep things about themselves private, whole others are more open.
- If someone shares personal information with you, it’s important to ask what their boundaries are.
- Ask Permission
- Just like everyone has different boundaries about touch, everyone has different levels of comfort about sharing things online, like photos.
- It is important to always ask before posting or tagging photos of someone on social media.
- Sex and Consent
- Sex without consent isn’t sex. It’s sexual assault.
- Consent must be freely given. A person must understand what they are agreeing to, and they can change their mind at any time.
- Consent needs to be clear and enthusiastic. The absence of “no” or silence does not mean “yes.”
- Past consent does not mean current or future consent.
- How to Handle the “No”
- Whenever you’re asking for someone’s consent, they could say “no.”
- Accept the answer and move on. Don’t pressure someone to change their mind.
- It’s okay to feel disappointed with a “no” answer. But always remember that respecting boundaries is the right thing to do.
You can use the Got Consent: Be SU.R.E. campaign to ensure that you have consent throughout your entire sexual activity. Be SU.R.E. you have consent. Shared Understanding, Respectful, and Enthusiastic.
Consent is easy as FRIES
- Freely given. Consenting is a choice you make without pressure, manipulation, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Reversible. Anyone can change their mind about what they feel like doing, anytime. 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 the full story. 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 only do stuff you WANT to do, not things that you feel you’re expected to do.
- Specific. Saying yes to one thing (like going to the bedroom to make out) doesn’t mean you’ve said yes to others (like having sex).
You get the final say over what happens with your body. It doesn’t matter if you’ve hooked up before or even if you said yes earlier and then changed your mind. You’re allowed to say “stop” at any time, and your partner needs to respect that.
Consent is never implied by things like your past behavior, what you wear, or where you go. Sexual consent is always clearly communicated — there should be no question or mystery. Silence is not consent. And it’s not just important the first time you’re with someone. Couples who’ve had sex before or even ones who’ve been together for a long time also need to consent before sex — every time.
Driver’s Ed for the Sexual Superhighway
*Scarleteen provides inclusive, comprehensive, supportive SEXUALITY and RELATIONSHIPS info for teens and emerging adults.
The Essential Rules of Consensual Road
- Consent is about everyone involved in a sexual or possibly sexual interaction.
- Consent can ALWAYS be withdrawn.
- Nothing makes consent automatic or unnecessary.
- In some situations, full, informed and free consent cannot truly be given or shared.
- Non consent means STOP!
- A lack of no does not ever mean yes.
Some Common verbal signals of consent and non-consent
|What can consent sound like?||What can non consent sound like?|
|I’m so sure||I’m not sure|
|I know||I don’t know|
|I’m excited||I’m scared|
|Whoohoo! Yippee! Hot damn! Zip-a-dee-doo-dah!||[silence]|
|I want to.||I want to, but…|
|I’m not worried||Wait, I feel worried about…|
|I want you/it/that||I don’t want you/it/that|
|Can you please do…||Can you please not do…|
|I still want to||I thought I wanted to, but…|
|That feels good||I want to, but…|
|I love you and I love this||I love you/this, but…|
|I want to do this right now, like this||I want to do this, but not right now/this way|
|I feel good about this||I don’t know how I feel about this|
|I’m ready||I’m not sure I’m ready|
|I want to keep doing this||I don’t want to do this anymore|
|[insert praise to your deity of choice here]||[no such praise]|
|This feels so right||This feels wrong|