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BEYOND KNOWING YOUR “YES.”
  • Consent is more than a word. It is:
    • Freely given. It is voluntary and mutual. Consent should be given verbally.
    • A process. Consent to one thing is not consent to everything. If you want to move to the next level of sexual intimacy, just ask. Ask every time and every step of the way.
    • An active agreement that is always changing and evolving. Consent can be given and taken away at any time during a sexual encounter. Anything that continues after consent is taken away is considered sexual assault.
    • About equality. There is no difference in power between the partners. All people involved need to feel respected, valued, and appreciated. Consent is an understanding that all partners have the right to say yes, to say no, and to change their mind without fear of the other partner’s reaction.
    • Mandatory.
  • Consent is not:
    • The absence of a “no.” Only yes means yes. 

Just because someone doesn’t say “no” does not mean they are saying “yes.” There are many situations when someone might not be able to say no; this could be because they are asleep or unconscious, they are intoxicated, they are scared, they are in shock, they are disassociated and the list goes on. Consent is an honest and fearless “yes” every time.

  • Implied or assumed, even within established relationships.

Just because you are in a relationship does not mean you have permission to have sex with your partner whenever you choose, or that you should have sex when you don’t feel like it. Even if you’ve had sex hundreds of times before, consent must happen each time and every time. 

  • Coerced sex.

Coercion is when someone feels pressured or forced to perform sexually. If you are saying things to manipulate your partner into feeling obligated to be sexually intimate, that is not true consent. Statements like…

        • “If you loved me, then you would”
        • “We have already gone this far, you can’t make me stop now”
        • “I will tell everyone you did even if you don’t”
        • “But I really like you”
        • “This is what people do when they are in love”

…are examples of coercion. Allow your partner to communicate what they do and do not want, and be brave enough to do the same.

  • Drug- or alcohol-induced.

If your partner is too drunk to drive, they are too drunk to consent to sexual activity. If you are really interested in someone while you are drunk or while they are drunk, waiting until all people involved are sober is the best way to make sure everyone feels safe, happy, secure, and valued.

Once a person says “no” it does not matter if or what kind of sexual behavior has previously happened earlier that day, that month, or that year. It does not matter if the relationship just started, if you just met, or if you are a couple. If one partner does not give an honest “yes” and the other partner forces or coerces penetration – it is rape.

No matter what a person verbalizes, consent cannot be given if they are:

      • Intoxicated as a result of drugs and/or alcohol
      • Unconscious or asleep
      • Physically or mentally disabled
      • Under the age of 16 in Nevada

Remember that consent is willing, knowingly, sober, informed, and is an equal exchange of power.

For more information about consent, such as how to get it and what to do if you don’t, check out our blog.

 

The absence of no does not mean yes. Only yes means yes.
This website is funded by the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health through Grant Number #5UF2CE002430-02 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health nor the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).