Consent is a voluntary agreement between two people. When it comes to sex, consent is when two SOBER people clearly communicate that they want to have sex with one another.
It's important to understand that if you and your partner consent to have sex together today, that doesn't mean you're agreeing to have sex together again in the future. Any individual has the right to say "no" at any point during sex or leading up to sex, regardless of whether they are single, in a relationship, or married. If someone forces you to have sex, that's rape. If you've been raped, find help near you.
You may have heard of the “Yes Means Yes” law in California, This law makes clear that on college campuses (and soon high school campuses!), “affirmative consent” must be given by both parties before having sex. Affirmative consent is defined as, “an affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity every step of the way.” In other words, silence, or a lack of saying “no” to sexual activity, cannot be considered consent.
Regardless of whether you are a college student, a high school student, or not in school at all, both people must give an enthusiastic “YES” before engaging in sex with each other. Remember, either partner can change their mind at any time.
If you have been forced to have sex, find help near you.
To find out why consent is sexy, check out these videos!
A person who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs cannot legally give consent. This is for good reason because it's impossible to think and communicate clearly when you are drunk or high. You may not be able to clearly say what you want. Sometimes you might be completely out of control of your actions. You may forget to wear a condom, use a condom incorrectly, or put your and your partner’s health at risk in some other way. The solution? Have (consensual) sex before you go to that party or save it for the morning after.
Unfortunately, some people use alcohol and/or drugs as an “excuse” for their own violent actions, and some sexual predators may even intentionally drug you.
If you think you may have been assaulted while under the influence, find help near you.
In California, the “age of consent” is 18 years old. This means that in the eyes of the law, anyone 17 years old or younger cannot legally consent to having sex.
Not in California? Find out what the age of consent is in your state here.