The Center for Empowerment and Education : Defining the Issues



What is Consent?

Consent means agreeing or giving permission to engage in a specific behavior/activity. Consent must be: an active process, a choice, and based in equal power. Consent must be enthusiastic!


What is Affirmative Consent?

This new law defines affirmative consent as “an active, clear and voluntary agreement by a person to engage in sexual activity with another person” and requires Connecticut’s institutions of higher education to use this standard to determine whether or not a sexual activity was consensual in the context of their disciplinary procedures. Affirmative consent is a perspective that “yes means yes” rather than “the absence of no means yes.” Affirmative consent may never be assumed because there is no physical resistance or other negative response.
  • Consent is a mutual & conscious decision
  • Consent can be revoked at any time during sexual activity by any person engaged in the activity
  • Consent is required with each escalation and engagement of sexual activity
Individuals are incapable of giving consent when:
  • They are unconscious or asleep
  • They are incapacitated due to the influence of alcohol or other drugs


What Does Consent Look, Sound & Feel Like?

Consent may be given through words, actions, and gestures. Verbal and NON-VERBAL modes of communication, including fine nuances such as tone of voice, facial expression, and body language can often make a verbal “yes” a “no”.

Examples of Statements that say “NO”:

  • “I’m confused”
  • “I’m not sure”
  • “I guess if you want to…”
  • “Let’s slow down”
  • “I don’t want to get pregnant”
  • “Maybe”

Examples of Actions that say “NO”

  • Looking down
  • Moving away
  • Cringing
  • Pushing away
  • Looking upset
  • Avoiding being alone
  • Not moving/responding/reciprocating

Consent should include communication, checking in, and should feel comfortable and exciting. Enthusiasm is key.

**It is the sole responsibility of the person initiating the sexual behavior to clarify any confusion about consent.  Consent can be withdrawn at any time and needs to be confirmed with every escalated intimacy.  Being under the influence of alcohol can also negate consent.

Consent: It's Simple as Tea