Demystifying Consent: What Counts as a Green Light by Your Sexual Partner?

Consent is a buzz word nowadays, but the concept is nothing new. Consent is permission to move forward, it’s a green light, a go ahead. But when it comes to engaging in sexual intercourse, consent seems to get a little muddy for some people. The simplest way to define consent is as your partner actively agreeing to participate in sexual activity. If there is no consent, then it’s sexual assault or rape.

What is Consent?

When two parties agree to participate in sexual activity, that means that both parties want to be sexual with one another. Before any sex acts happen, both parties need to be certain that the other wants to be sexual. Consent should involve what each person wants and doesn’t want to happen. Giving and asking for consent is about setting personal boundaries and respecting one another. It should also be noted that consent is not a one and done activity. Consent should be given each time, with every sexual encounter. Do not assume that because they consented before, that they are willing presently. Intelligent sex crime attorneys can help you get clearer understanding about a specific situation.


There are some conditions that go along with consent. Consent is never forced. It must be freely given. It doesn’t include any bait and switch tactics. If it was agreed that a condom would be worn, not using one is a breach of the consent. Consent is also something that can be reversed. A yes can turn into a no at any point during a sexual encounter, and that no should be respected and honored. It is a very specific thing. Consent only covers what it covers. For example, consenting to heavy petting does not mean consent to oral sex. Don’t be afraid to ask questions before and during engaging in sex acts. If you notice that your partner doesn’t seem engaged or is showing signs of discomfort, stop and ask if everything is okay. This can save you both a lot of unnecessary trouble.

Consent and the Law

It should also be noted that everyone is not capable of consent. States have differing ages for how old a minor has to be in order to legally give sexual consent. Any person over the age of 18 who has sex with a minor younger than the set age of consent is liable to face charges, be incarcerated and register as a sex offender.  Someone who is intoxicated or unconscious cannot legally give their consent. Developmental and physical disabilities can also mean that someone is unable to give consent. Vulnerable people, such as elderly persons who are not of sound mind and the physically ill are also incapable of giving consent. 


If you’re being accused of rape or sexual assualt, you don’t have to navigate the legal system on your own. You deserve proper representation. Although non-consensual sex is rape, there are nuances that just can’t be overlooked.

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