8.22.16 | Kat Rosenfield
If you're headed to college, you've probably been hearing a lot about the importance of consent—and especially about how uncomplicated it is. Simply put, consent means that in any sexual scenario, both participants (or all three or four or seventeen of you) should be in enthusiastic agreement throughout about what's on the table and where the boundaries are.
But where consent seems simple enough, let's be real: sex itself can still be complicated, especially when the people in question are inexperienced, intoxicated, or both. That's why some colleges have introduced affirmative consent policies, also known as "yes-means-yes," on their campuses.
By these new standards, the simple absence of a "no" from your partner doesn't cut it; enthusiastic consent needs to be communicated at every stage of every sexual encounter, with some policies stipulating that consent has to take the form of a verbal yes, or that it doesn't count unless both people are completely sober. But while affirmative consent policies can be useful, they're not enough on their own to promote healthy sexual relationships, especially on college campuses. Here's why:
A coaxed or coerced "yes" still counts as consent under yes-means-yes.