There has been so much talk about what is and isn’t considered consent to engage in sexual activity in the wake of the #metoo and #timesup movements. And yet, people still don’t get it. I refuse to get into a political discussion on this topic, so please respect that.
Just to be clear, consent means to actively agree to engage in sexual activity. Anything less than complete and enthusiastic consent is sexual assault. It also means that consent is needed throughout the entire encounter. Either party has the right to change their mind at any point, regardless of how far things have gotten…regardless of how uncomfortable it makes the other person.
Consent also requires both parties to have the capacity to agree to the encounter. That means they cannot be drunk or under the influence of drugs. They cannot be unconscious, asleep or otherwise be unable to clearly agree to the activity. There can be no coercion or undue influence, meaning there can be no imbalance of power.