What is Consent?

Consent is an active, on-going, and enthusiastic agreement to any sexual activity. It is always clear, knowing, and freely given. Consent can be best understood as a combination of all five of the following principles:

  • Clear Communication: Comprehensible, unambiguous, positive and active communication of consent for each sexual act. Silence in no way indicates consent.
  • Free and Willing: Without any coercion, including emotional, psychological or relational pressure or influence.
  • Unimpaired Decision Making: Effective consent must be established without impairment by either person.
  • Step-by-Step: You must establish effective consent for every sex activity. Consenting to one sex act does not mean consenting to any other sex act.
  • Subject to Change: At any point during a sexual encounter both partners should be free to change their mind. If one partner changes his or her mind, then the other partner must respect the decision to limit or end sexual contact.

For information on requirements and potential violations under the Sexual Misconduct and Interpersonal Violence Policy, please refer to the Elon University Sexual Misconduct and Interpersonal Violence Policy.

How To Ask For Consent

There is a perception that asking for consent is weird or awkward. However, it is important for developing a healthy relationship with your partner(s) by establishing boundaries. Consent does not have to be awkward and can be used in ways to increase your partners’ and your own pleasure. Here are some handy, not awkward phrases that can be used to ask for consent.

“Can I help you take that off/ unzip/ unhook that?”

“How do you want it?”

“What would you like me to do?”

“Do you want me to ______?”

“It turns me on when… how would you feel about that?”

“Would you like it if I ________?”

“Want to have sex?”

“Where do you want me to start”

“Can want to make out you?”

“How does that feel?”

“Do you like when _____?”

“Want to try ______?”

“What are you comfortable with?”

“Can I put _______ in my mouth?”

“What is your fantasy… do you want to try it?”

“I like_______… what do you like?


If you want to discuss issues around consent or if you feel you have has a non-consensual encounter, contact Safeline at (336) 278-3333 (24/7) or contact the confidential advocate at akrauss3@elon.edu.