Consent 101


Mary Miller, Opinion Writer



Consent is defined as permission for something to happen or agreement to do something.

Everyone knows the word consent. Everyone knows the definition. People just seem to either misunderstand it or ignore it entirely.

For those of us who were unfortunate enough to fail to receive sex ed in school, consent isn’t something that’s taught so consider this your crash course on consent.

Consent is necessary.

Any sexual contact that was not met with an enthusiastic response and a “yes” is sexual assault. It doesn’t matter if you were making out before, if you’ve had sex before, or if you’re in a relationship.

Consent can be withdrawn.

You could be bare-butt naked and the person, or people, you’re going to have sex with still hold the right to change their minds. “But (s)he/they said they wanted to earlier!”, doesn’t mean you have the right to take away someones choice to satisfy your own wants.  You do not have the right to anyone’s body, ever.

Consent can not be given if the person is under the influence or passed out.

Someone who is drunk or high cannot give consent as they are in an altered state of mind. Having sex with someone who is drunk or high is taking advantage. If your plan is to get someone wasted so that they’ll agree to have sex with you or so that you’ll have an advantage against them this shows that you know they wouldn’t agree sober, and if they wouldn’t agree while sober, getting them drunk is not an acceptable alternative.

Even if they would consent sober, you must get consent every single time you engage in sexual activity. If the person you want to have sex with is drunk that puts you in a position of power and them in a position where they can’t give valid consent.

In the case of someone being asleep or passed out, there is no debate. There is no “if” or “but”. If someone is literally not conscious how can they be enthusiastic or even say a simple “yes”? They can’t.

No means no.

If someone says no they don’t secretly mean yes. They don’t need you to change their mind. If someone says “maybe later” or “I’m tired” or anything that signifies that they don’t want to have sex, then you can not have sex with them even if they didn’t explicitly say “no”.

Consent isn’t optional and it is something that needs to be practiced every time you engage in sexual activity with anyone, regardless of relationship status.


Sex without consent isn’t sex, it’s assault.