Consent means fully conscious, voluntary acceptance and agreement. In other words, if threat, coercion, intoxication or violence is happening, consent does not exist. Any sexual act without consent is a crime.

No means no,
Maybe means no,
Silence means no,
Only yes means yes.
Once you have said yes, you can change your mind.
No matter how no is communicated, it must be respected

Read more about consent, including information about legal definitions in California.

Consent is often thought of as a stamp of approval that must be acquired before engaging in sexual activity.

Alternatively, this video explores consent using the metaphor of wind. Dynamic, fluid, and fun: this perspective on consent enables us to see it not as a prerequisite, but rather as the driving force of all healthy sexual experiences, and an unlimited source of joy, excitement, and creativity.

Legal Definitions

In sex crime cases, California defines consent as "positive cooperation in act or attitude pursuant to an exercise of free will."

    • What consent is:

Consent is willful and positive cooperation in an act that encompasses voluntary action and knowledge of the nature of the act involved. Consent is specific to each individual act; having previously consented to an act does not imply continued consent.

    • What consent is not:

Cooperation that is forced through direct or implied threats of violence is not consent, nor is cooperation that is solicited by fear.

    • When someone is incapacitated or unconscious, they are unable to give consent.
    • When a person is under the influence of alcohol or other drugs they are unable to give consent. Just because a person didn't say 'no' and/or didn't fight back, does not mean that the incident was consensual.
    • Fear may prevent a victim from saying no and/or from fighting back. Being unconscious means you can't say no or fight back. Being conscious but incapacitated by alcohol or drugs may also mean that saying no and fighting back is not a possibility.