What is Consent

What is Consent?

ConsentConsent, at its most basic level means "permission for something to happen or agreement to do something." We use consent every single day- from asking permission to sit next to someone or to borrow a pen to requesting physical touch or engaging in sexual situations.

When talking about sexual consent, it is important to know that New York State is an "affirmative consent" state. This means that in NY, consent is not just an absence of "no" but the presence of "yes" - and that yes must be unimpaired, informed, and uncoerced. All parties must be informed as to what they are consenting to, be free to say yes or no without interferance or pressure from others, and not be incapacitated by substances, medical conditions, or sleep. All parties are free to change their minds and to revoke consent at any time. Most of all, consent may not be assumed!

  • Going on a date doesn't imply consent for sexual activity.
  • A person's clothing doesn't imply consent for sexual activity.
  • Consenting to one type of activity doesn't imply consent to all activities.
  • Consenting to an activity once does not imply future consent. 
  • You do not "owe" sexual activity to anyone - EVER!


What Consent Is What Consent Is Not
  • Freely given - you are free to say yes or no
  • Reversible - you can change your mind and revoke consent at any time
  • Informed - you know exactly what you are saying yes or no to
  • Enthusiastic - you want to, and are excited to be engaging in the activities you are consenting to and have said YES!
  • Specific - you are consenting to specific activities and are asked for consent for every activity, every time
  • Coerced - you feel as if you have to say yes or no
  • Unchangeable - you feel as if you can't change your mind or say no later
  • Confusing- what you are being asked to consent to isn't clear
  • Absence of "No" - the absence of a "no" doesn't indicate consent and if someone seems unenthusiastic, that's a cue to stop and check in
  • Vague - you haven't been asked for consent for every activity that is happening or consent is assumed based on past encounters

REMEMBER: You have the right to consent to activities that make you feel good and you have the right to say no to activities that don't feel ok or safe to you. You always have the right to change your mind and no one has the right to force or coerce your consent.