College students around the country have lots of questions about consent and sex. So let’s talk about it. WSU has a specific definition of consent when it comes to sexual activity: it must be clear, knowing, and voluntary. Consent is important because it involves giving and getting permission. This ensures both people feel comfortable and makes the experience that much better.
Don’t worry, you don’t need to have an awkward conversation that completely ruins the moment or sign a contract to get consent. Getting clear, knowing, voluntary consent is easy. Getting and giving consent is ongoing and involves checking in with your partner both verbally and non-verbally. For example, ask yourself:
- Do they look happy to be there?
- Do they say “yes” when you ask if they like what is happening?
- Do they know what they are consenting to?
Alcohol or drug use can impact the ability to give consent. When someone is incapacitated by alcohol or drugs, they lose the ability to be fully aware of what’s going on around them. If someone doesn’t know what’s going on, then they’re unable to give consent. Ask yourself, “Do I feel comfortable letting this person drive right now?” If your answer is not a definitive and instant ”yes”, then it’s a good time to step back and assess whether or not that person is able to give consent.
In a nutshell, consent means giving and getting permission to engage in sexual activity. It means you and your partner both really want to be doing what you’re doing, and you’re both excited about it and enjoy it. Getting and giving consent is about being a good partner and making sure everyone is in agreement.
Want to learn more? Check out this video by sex educator Laci Green entitled, Wanna Have Sex? (Consent 101). (Please note this video includes strong language and sexual content.)