Consent means actively agreeing to be sexual with someone. Consent lets someone know that sex is wanted. Sexual activity without consent is rape or sexual assault. Sexual consent is an agreement to participate in a sexual activity. Before being sexual with someone, you need to know if they want to be sexual with you too. Both people must agree to sex — every single time — for it to be consensual. Without consent, sexual activity including oral sex, genital touching, and vaginal or anal penetration is sexual assault or rape.
Here are the basics of consent. Consenting is a choice you make without pressure, manipulation, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Anyone can change their mind about what they feel like doing, anytime. You can only consent to something if you have the full story. You get the final say over what happens with your body. Consent is never implied by things like your past behavior, what you wear, or where you go.
Sexual consent is always clearly communicated — there should be no question or mystery. Silence is not consent. There are also laws to protect minors people under the age of 18 from being pressured into sex with someone much older than them. The age of sexual consent is how old a person needs to be in order to be considered legally capable of consenting to sex.
Adults who have sex with someone younger than the age of consent face jail time and being registered as a sex offender. The age of consent varies in different parts of the U. There may also be other laws that define the age of sexual consent by state.
Rape, sexual assault, and sexual abuse can have different legal definitions. In general, rape, sexual assault, and sexual abuse are forms of violence in which there is sexual contact without consent — including vaginal or anal penetration, oral sex, and genital touching.
Some states use these terms interchangeably, while others define them differently. Anyone can be a victim — no matter their gender, sexual orientation, or age. But certain groups of people are more likely than others to experience sexual assault in their lives.
Women especially women of color , LGBT identified people, and people with developmental disabilities are more likely to experience sexual assault over the course of their lifetimes.