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What is consent?

YES PLEASE! I AM SO DOWN! LET’S GO! THAT’S AMAZING! These are just a few examples of what consent might look like. Simply put, consent is an enthusiastic agreement to engage in any sort of sexual activity with someone else. Whether it is kissing someone or having sex - consent is vital in ensuring the pleasure and comfort of both parties. Any sexual activity where consent is not present is sexual assault.

When in doubt, ask for consent

Consent doesn’t always have to be seen in a sexual context. As a society, we should be learning about consent as early as pre-K or kindergarten in order to establish boundaries, learn about appropriate vs. inappropriate touching, and develop ongoing respectful relationships with peers. A number of viral Tik Toks have exemplified consent in action, showing parents teaching their children to ask for consent to give a hug and also, learning how to give consent when the parent asks for a hug. Although the majority of you are much older than the kids in these Tik Toks, the message is still pertinent. When in doubt, you should always ask for consent. Whether that means you are asking a friend if you can give them a hug or asking your date if you can kiss them, you should be asking for consent. You might think that sounds unnecessary, but by asking for consent you are showing a baseline of respect for the other person and in general, your friendships and relationships will be much more comfortable and enjoyable.

How does consent benefit relationships or a sexual experience?

Consent in and of itself is a tool that ensures mutual comfort and respect in any type of physical activity. Here are some ways that consent will benefit your relationships, hook-ups, and sexual experiences:

Consent is sexy

Traditionally, consent is taught in a robotic way that doesn’t always seem applicable to an actual sexual experience. This is why we think it is incredibly important to underscore just how hot and sexy consent really is. There are literally a million ways that consent can be sexy and it is absolutely not a mood killer. It shows that you appreciate the other person and respect them. Don’t believe us? Look at these sexy examples:

Consent and kinks

Just like any other sexual activity, you need to ask for consent if you want to engage in a kink. Some common kinks are bondage, choking, blindfolding, and restricting the other person. Although all of these kinks can accentuate a sexual experience and often increase pleasurable sensations, they can be quite terrifying if done without consent. If you are interested in trying a kink with a partner or hook up, just ask!

Consent is easy as FRIES (planned parenthood)

F - freely given

R - reversible

I - informed

E - enthusiastic

S - specific

It’s also as easy as making a cup of tea.

What is NOT consent?

On top of a flat out “no”, consent isn’t:

20 verbal synonyms for “no”

20 verbal synonyms for “no”

The issue with “no means no”

Most of us have probably heard the mantra “no means no” when it comes to consent. This means that if someone says no to engaging in a sexual activity then that activity is not consented to. Although important, “no means no” has a couple of problematic consequences. First, it places blame onto survivors of sexual assault. Often, survivors might not explicitly say “no” out of fear, shock, panic, or the hopes that silence will let the activity end sooner. Instead of “no means no”, we like the saying “yes means yes” much more. This turns consent into something fun and exciting that will ultimately make all of your sexual experiences more enjoyable and pleasurable.

20 ways to ask for consent

20 verbal synonyms for “no”