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What is consent?

Consent is vital to any sexual activity with other people.  It’s a clear agreement between yourself and others and anyone involved has the right to change their mind at any time. However, it's not consent if you're feeling emotional or psychological pressure, intimidation, fear or if you're debilitated by drugs or alcohol. And just because you consented to sex in the past, it doesn’t mean the other person can demand more sexual activity in the future.

Communicating consent

Consent to sexual activity can be communicated in a variety of ways, but verbally expressing yourself can help clear up any misunderstandings. If you’re ever unsure, just ask! Talking about your own and your partner's sexual desires, needs, and limitations sets the mood for a safe and positive experience. Remember that consent is ongoing at every stage of a sexual encounter and the absence of a "no" doesn’t mean it's a nonverbal "yes."

Consent: A Sober Yes! 

The use of alcohol or drugs may seriously interfere with judgment about whether consent has been given. A person who is asleep or mentally or physically incapacitated, either through the effect of drugs or alcohol or for any other reasons, is not capable of giving valid consent.

At college you will find yourself in a variety of new situations that will be both thrilling and exciting. It is likely that you’ll develop relationships with various individuals that could end up in certain sexual situations. In these situations it is always important to get consent. But what does consent look like? Plainly, consent is a sober "yes."

What is not consent?

  • Silence
  • Relying solely on body language
  • The absence of "no"
  • Being drunk
  • Coercion
  • Marital/Relationship status
  • Power differentials
  • Clothing choice

Sexual contact without consent is sexual assault!

For more information, contact NOVA Sexual Assault Services (SAS) at 703.338.0834 (24 hrs) or nova.sas@nvcc.edu

Additional Information