Consent for any sexual activity is crucial for preventing sexual coercion and unwanted sexual behavior.

Consent can and should be incorporated as an essential and fun part of sexual communication. Likewise, it is a vital component of mutual pleasure and healthy sexuality.

"Yes Means Yes" Bill 967

California Senate Bill 967 recently passed in the State Senate. It requires all universities that receive financial aid to use a standard of “affirmative consent” in disciplinary hearings about sexual assault. In a nutshell, it shifts things from “did anyone say no?” to “did everyone say yes?”

According to the text in the bill, “Affirmative consent” means 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 he or she has the affirmative consent of the other or others to engage in the sexual activity. Lack of protest or resistance does not mean consent, nor does silence mean consent. Affirmative consent must be ongoing throughout a sexual activity and can be revoked at any time. The existence of a dating relationship between the persons involved, or the fact of past sexual relations between them, should never by itself be assumed to be an indicator of consent.

When should you ask for consent?

  • Before you act!
  • It is the responsibility of the person initiating a sex act to obtain clear consent, and that person should take responsibility for ensuring that the intimacy is mutual.
  • If you are unsure, ask. And make sure to check in throughout.
  • Alcohol impairment is not a sufficient excuse for not obtaining consent.
  • Remember that giving consent ahead of time does not waive a person's right to change their mind or say no later!

Why is consent important?

  • Communication, respect, and honesty make sex and relationships better.
  • Asking for and obtaining consent shows that you have respect for both yourself and your partner.
  • Positive views on sex and sexuality are empowering.
  • It questions traditional views about gender and sexuality.
  • It eliminates the entitlement that one partner feels over the other.  Neither your body nor your sexuality belongs to someone else.
  • It is normal and healthy for people of all genders and ages to expect to be included in the consent process.
photo: Girl with tape over mouth, with writing on the tape about how many forcible rapes occur each year


Asking for consent

  • Show your partner that you respect them enough to ask about their sexual needs and desires.  If you are not accustomed to communicating with your partner about sex and sexual activity, the first few times may feel awkward.  But, practice makes perfect. 
  • Be creative and spontaneous.  Don’t give up.  The more times you have these conversations with your partner, the more comfortable you will become communicating about sex and sexual activity.  Your partner may also find the situation awkward at first, but over time you will both be more secure in yourselves and your relationship.
  • WHEN?  Before you act.  It is the responsibility of the person initiating a sex act to obtain clear consent.  Whenever you are unsure if consent has been given, ask.  Check-in throughout.  Giving consent ahead of time does not waive a person’s right to change their mind and say no later.
  • HOW? Consent is not just about getting a yes or no answer, but about understanding what a partner is feeling.  Ask open-ended questions.  Listen to and respect your partner’s response, whether you hear yes or no: “I’d really like to…how does that sound?” “How does that feel?” “What would you like to do?”

Before you have sex, ask yourself…

  • Have I expressed what I want? 
  • Do I know what my partner wants?
  • Am I certain that consent has been given?
  • Is my potential partner sober enough to decide whether or not to have sex?
  • Am I sober enough to know that I’ve correctly gauged consent?

Gauging consent

Red: Signs you should stop

  • You are too intoxicated to gauge or give consent
  • Your partner is asleep or passed out.
  • You hope your partner will say nothing and go with the flow.
  • You intend to have sex by any means necessary.

Yellow: Signs you should pause and talk

  • You are not sure what the other person wants.
  • You feel like you are getting mixed signals.
  • You have not talked about what you want to do.
  • You assume that you will do the same things as before.
  • Your partner stops or is not responsive.

Green: Keep communicating

  • Partners come to a mutual decision about how far to go.
  • Partners clearly express their comfort with the situation.
  • You feel comfortable and safe stopping at any time.
  • Partners are excited!


Check out the following websites for more information on consent:


  • University of Georgia University Health Center’s Health Promotion Department Consent Campaign
  • Columbia University Health Service’s Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Program
  • American College Health Association’s Shifting the Paradigm: Primary Prevention of Sexual Violence.


What is Consent?

See a definition from the National Domestic Violence Hotline.


PRICE Campaign
The PRICE (Preventing Rape by Intoxication Through Community Education) Campaign is collaboration between several San Diego community services, universities and organizations aimed at educating the community about rape by intoxication.