Saying Yes or No: What Is Consent?
Sexual consent is when people agree to engage in certain sexual behaviors. They can express their consent by saying, “Yes, that’s okay with me.” Just because someone doesn’t say “no,” it doesn’t mean consent has been given. Asking for consent and giving consent for any sexual behavior is very important. You have the right to say “no” to any behavior that you do not want to engage in at any point, for any reason, and your partner must respect your decision. Your partner also has the right to say “no” to any behavior at any point, for any reason, and you must respect their decision. Consent must be given willingly—if a person is forced to consent to any type of behavior, that’s not consent.
In order for people to consent to sexual behaviors, they must be able to consent, which means they are not under the influence of drugs or alcohol and are of legal age to be able to consent. Each state has different laws regarding consent, and it’s a good idea to become familiar with these laws. Consent can get confusing, so if you are ever unsure whether a person is consenting, it is a good idea to ask them.