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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Utah chapter.

You would think consent is a pretty simple definition: permission for something to happen or agreement to do something. But it turns out, when it comes to sexual consent in particular, it’s more than that. There is verbal consent, body language, assumption of consent, and in certain situations where the partner says yes but really on the inside, it still is unwanted and technically, not consensual. How does one know that the person on the other side truly wants to have sexual interactions without asking? Maybe it’s just me, but there has been numerous situations where my body language showed I was into the moment but on the inside I was extremely uncomfortable, I was hoping for the “Is this okay?” but it never happened, and on my end I should have spoken up, but I didn’t know how to, so I let things go farther than I wanted to. I cannot even tell you how many times I have come across some type of sexual encounter with someone I truly liked, but they never so much as once asked me VERBALLY for consent, they just went for it and assumed I was just waiting for them to feel me up and stick their tongue in my mouth. So why is that verbal consent makes some men feel so uncomfortable? Or what is it that runs through their mind that gives them the idea that it is consensual?

I decided to run a poll on social media and do a few interviews on some of my guy friends, for their confidentiality I will not share their names, but I will share their answer. When I first started the poll, it was specifically for men and the question was “How do you read consent? Body Language or Verbal?” For the first 10 hours that the poll was up, there had been over 40 votes and 100% voted for just body language…leaving verbal consent at 0%. After 20 hours of the poll being up the final results shocked me into 50% had voted body language, and 50% had voted verbal. (100 votes total) So where is the line drawn where verbal consent is no longer valid? Where body language is always readable? Out of the 5 interviews that I had done with age ranging from 21-40 all 3 out of those 5 men stated that they “know” it is consensual by the body language of their partner. They had also stated that to ask for verbal consent in the heat of the moment would essentially ruin the “mood” so they don’t. The 2 out of the 5 stated that it was a mix of both. That sometimes he reads by body language, and other times he would ask but it mainly depended on the situation.

“All it takes is one slip up and a girl claims rape and my life is ruined  forever.”

“I think it’s pretty obvious when a girl is uncomfortable or not in that situation, if you can’t read her body language, than you are either choosing to ignore it, or you are a complete idiot. Verbal consent every time ruins the heat of the moment, and you can tell when the person is into it or not. If they seem not into it, that’s when I feel like it’s the time to ask.”

“If it’s someone you aren’t romantically involved with, it needs to be a 100% verbal. But when you are romantically involved or married for that matter, you’re able to read a situation more accurately off of non verbal cues.”


Did you  know that 80 percent of women are moaning and groaning not only when they are absolutely not climaxing or coming anywhere near it, but when they are fervently wishing for the whole thing to be over? At least that’s what a team of British researchers found when they studied 71 heterosexual women between the ages of 18 and 48. The participants in the study led by Dr. Gayle Brewer of the University of Central Lancashire and Dr. Colin A. Hendrie of the University of Leeds, answered probing questions about “vocalization” during sex, specific times during the sex act they make noise, what kinds of noises or words they make, and their reasons for doing so. Researchers found that women are often quietest when they are actually receiving pleasure, like during oral sex or foreplay. They make the most erotic noises when sex starts feeling uncomfortable or when they get bored. So in a nutshell, body language consent doesn’t mean sh*t.

Silence does not give consent. Ask, speak up, it’s ALWAYS okay to say no.

I am attending the University of Utah and double majoring in Psychology and Communications! You can find me in the mountains or catch me at any local coffee shop typing vigorously on my laptop.
Her Campus Utah Chapter Contributor