Consent to Sexual Activity

Consent is affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity. It is the responsibility of each person involved in the sexual activity to ensure that the person has the affirmative consent of the other or others to engage in the sexual activity.

Consent is an informed decision made freely and actively by all parties. Conduct will be considered “without consent” if no clear consent, verbal or nonverbal, is given. Because sexual misconduct is defined as sexual activity that is undertaken without consent, each participant must obtain and give consent to each sexual act.

The following are clarifying points:

  • Consent is required each and every time there is sexual activity;
  • At any and all times when consent is withdrawn or not verbally agreed upon, the sexual activity must stop immediately;
  • Consent to some levels of sexual activity does not imply consent to all levels of sexual activity. Each new level of sexual activity requires consent;
  • The person(s) who initiate(s) a new level of sexual activity is responsible for asking for consent;
  • A current or previous dating or sexual relationship with the initiator (or anyone else) does not constitute consent;
  • Being intoxicated does not diminish one’s responsibility to obtain consent;
  • Bodily movements and non-verbal responses such as moans are not consent;
  • Silence, passivity, or lack of active resistance is not consent;
  • Intentional use of alcohol/drugs does not imply consent to sexual activity;
  • Seductive dancing or sexy/revealing clothing does not imply consent to sexual activity;
  • Anyone under the age of 16 cannot give consent;
  • Use of agreed upon forms of communication such as gestures or safe words is acceptable, but must be discussed and verbally agreed upon by all parties before sexual activity occurs.

Incapacitated persons cannot give consent. Examples of incapacitation include

  • unconscious,
  • sleeping,
  • frightened,
  • physically or psychologically pressured or forced,
  • intimidated,
  • threatened

Incapacitation can also result from

  • a psychological health condition,
  • voluntary intoxication,
  • involuntary use of any drug, intoxicant or controlled substance

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