We don’t talk about consent enough. Even though it’s the cornerstone of every interaction between partners, most people are still a little unsure about what consent means — and what it doesn’t.
Consent is often used in the context of physical or sexual activity with a partner, but it has more to do with the decision-making behind your actions than the actions themselves.
Put simply, consent is an ongoing mutual agreement between partners about what they want to experience.
You may have heard the phrase “no means no” in the context of consent. That’s true, but a statement like that doesn’t provide a complete picture of the complexities that go into mutual decision-making and respect in a relationship.
“No means no” (and even “yes means yes”) puts the responsibility on one person to resist or accept an activity. Instead of framing consent as a reactive measure in response to a partner’s actions, think of consent as a proactive expression of what partners are comfortable with and want to do together.