A Crash Course in Consent

To some of us, the definition of consent seems obvious. However, with non-verbal communication, long-term relationships, or even casual hookups, the lines of consent can be easily blurred--even for the best of us. Here’s a crash course guide of what consensual sex really is, and how to make sure you’re having it.

So, what is consent?

Most of us have probably heard the famous “no means no” saying, which is true. But consent is more than just agreeing or the absence of a “no.”

Consent is more than permission, it is enthusiastic participation.

If you or your partner is showing little movement/participation, becoming silent, crying, or pushing away, (even if you or they said “yes,”) this is not consensual sex.

If you or your partner ever feels uncomfortable, stop.


How do I make sure I am obtaining consent with my partner?

This is simple. Just ask! Some argue that this is “embarrassing,” “awkward,” or “not sexy.” You aren’t going to ruin the mood by asking your partner if you can go down on them. If both of you are into it, asking is sexy.

If you ask and they want to do it, then woo-hoo! Go for it! Everyone’s having a good time.

If you ask and they say no, you’ll be really glad you asked before acting.

Consent is sexy.

If you have to ask more than once, and your partner only agrees after continually asking them, this is not consensual. Consent cannot be obtained by coercion; consent is given freely.

Always respect and accept your partner’s “no,” their hesitation, or hint of uncomfortability. If you’re ever unsure, ask. Is this okay? Do you want to take a break?

Consent should never be assumed. “I met them on Tinder!” “We’ve slept together before!” or “They invited me up to their apartment!” do not equate consent. Neither does being in a relationship with someone. Your S.O. is allowed to say no. You are allowed to say no to your S.O.. Consent is asking and being met with enthusiasm and willingness.


When in doubt, ask. Pay attention to your partner’s body language. Whether it’s a goodnight kiss that you’re going for, or you want to take your intimacy to the next level, asking is sexy. So just ask.


If you or anyone you know have experienced sexual assault, please call the Rape Recovery Center 24 Hour Crisis Line for support, or any questions you may have about sexual violence.

24-Hour Crisis Line: 801-467-7273

If seeking counseling support as a survivor of sexual assault, please call the Rape Recovery Center or the Women’s Resource Center.

Rape Recovery Center: 801-467-7282

Women’s Resource Center: 801-581-8030

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