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Understanding Consent and Sexual Violence

Moving Beyond Your Consent 101

While we are obviously here for the ‘consent tea video’ and Planned Parenthood’s FRIES model for Consent ( Freely Given, Reversible, Informed, Enthusiastic, and Specific) we also want to prioritize conversations that include skills and tools for practicing consent and pleasure filled sex.

Check out and share our new video Moving Beyond Your Consent 101 created by the Consent is Golden team with the support of Thinklink Graphics.

Let’s be honest, our schools, families and friends aren’t having real conversations about how to have hot, healthy and compassionate sexual intimacy. We live in communities drenched in shame and awkwardness about sex; so it’s hard to know what we should actually be striving for!

At Consent is Golden, we know consent is absolutely mandatory. We want a world where experiencing safe(r), pleasure-filled, fun and even kinkier sexual intimacy is the standard. It’s time to move beyond conversations were consent is the bare minimum.

Some of us have had some pretty crappy, complicated, and even traumatic experiences with intimacy and the goal is to create a mutually good time for all parties involved. Next time you’re about to tussle in the sheets, consider the sexual ABCs.

1.ACTIONS: Try using safe words and/or signals to help establish boundaries. Safe words and signals are actions we decide ahead of time to help communicate comfortability, pacing and safety throughout sexual activity. It may sound silly but using fruits (i.e grapefruit meaning pause) or traffic lights (red = stop, yellow = slowdown, green = keep going) are super common strategies. Sometimes during play our mouths can be full or we’re just struggling to name what we need so signals are great too - consider snaps, body squeezes and taps or claps as methods of communication. Safe words don’t need to be serious so get creative and have fun with it! Co-creating pleasure is the name of the game.

2.BODY LANGUAGE: Did you know that majority of our communication is nonverbal? There are so many ways that we humans communicate without an audible no. Shrugs, wincing, moving away, shifty eyes, silence or our bodies freezing up - the list goes on and on. This is why it’s so important to pay attention, pause and check in with our partner(s). Just because someone is wet or hard doesn’t mean they consent. Even if our bodies physically respond to stimuli, it doesn’t mean our minds are ready to go! The key to a pleasurable and safe experience is to get curious. Ask each other what your go-to nonverbal cues are and what they mean. When we are exploring each other’s bodies, it’s good to gain an understanding of how they work!

3.COMMUNICATE:  If you haven’t caught on by now, the common theme here is communication! Talking upfront about what feels good, what areas of our bodies are safe to touch, what areas are off limits, our turn ons and offs and what kind of sex we wish to engage in ensures that we all get the sex we want and DESERVE. Think about how you want to feel during (desired, safe, powerful etc.) and after sex [pampered, cuddled, nourished (with a snack and/or water)] and express those needs. Pillow talk is a great opportunity to offer up feedback, suggestions, and highlights from the experience. Communication is just as important after sex too!


Remember that intimacy is an ongoing conversation. If pleasure and consent are at the forefront, you’re already on the right track to making sure everyone involved has the best time! Pleasure exists on a continuum and isn’t one size fits all - somedays you may want your nipples touched, other days you may want a rim job and sometimes, you may not want sexy times at all and that’s completely ok! You have the right to choose.

Society doesn’t teach us about our own bodies, the pleasure we deserve or how to express our wants and needs. Remember that the choice should always be yours and communication helps to create shame-free sexual environment for all! While consent is essential, it’s just one ingredient in the recipe for satisfying your sexual appetite!

Consent is...

Whether you want to hold someone's hand, dance with them, share photos online, or hook up, consent is not just golden, but also it's mandatory!

check-mark.jpgConsent is golden! It’s an essential part of sex. We’re talking all kinds of sex: sex with your hands, sex with your mouth, sex with toys, plus all those acts that may lead to sex like cuddling, sexting or making out. Consent is a must for all of this hot stuff. Everyone has to get “the okay” before getting busy in any way.

speech-bubbles.jpgConsent means getting the “good to go” from everyone involved, whether it’s two people or a group of people, everyone must consent. Consent is active, so if you change your mind at any point, no worries. You can stop giving consent or withdraw consent at any time. Everyone has the right to decide if they’re just not feeling it anymore.

heart.jpgSo you get “the okay” to touch them here, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have the okay to touch them there. We should ask and ask again, especially when trying new things. Checking in to make sure your sexual partner is enjoying themselves not only keeps everyone comfortable but it’s also incredibly sexy! It means your sexual partner knows you respect them and it lets you know that things are going well.

arrows.jpgHooked up with a person in the past? That doesn’t mean you’ve automatically got consent right now or in the future. Consent is a decision every time – it can never be assumed to exist just because you’ve done it before. Ask again!

exclamation.jpgPressuring someone into sex is coercion, not consent. We automatically imagine coercion as being rough and forceful, but it can be as simple as nagging or making your partner feel guilty about not wanting to have sex or try something new like texting naked pics. A lot of times, people think sexual pressure is okay because it’s not like you’re physically forcing someone into anything. But pressuring someone is still coercion. You should never have to talk your sexual partner into doing anything they don’t want to do.

rings.jpgConsent is required no matter what your relationship looks like. Whether you’re getting hot and heavy on a one-night stand, having some casual romance or are in a committed relationship, consent needs to be there. Sexual content without consent is a form of sexual violence. No one consents to sexual violence.

Need Help Right Now?

Gendered and Sexual Violence Prevention and Supports:

24 Hour Sexual Assault Crisis and Support Lines:

  • Waterloo: 519.741.8633
  • Brantford: 519.751.3471


  • 911

Special Constable Services:

  • Waterloo: 519.885.3333 (external phones) or x3333 (on-campus phones)
  • Brantford: 519.770.3778 (external phones) or x3333 (on-campus phones)
Download SAFEHawk App

Consent is Not...

✘ Assumed

✘ Implied (based on relationship status)

✘ Given through silence

✘ The absence of “no”

✘ Given by someone who is drunk or high

✘ Given by someone who is asleep or unconscious

✘ Obtained through ultimatums, coercion or pressure, even if it’s subtle

✘ Obtained if the initiator is in a position of trust, power or authority over the person (such as a professor, boss or leader)

This content was written by individuals from Advocates for a Student Culture of Consent (ASCC).

Sex as a Jam Session

The following video was created by sex educator Karen B. K. Chan; it explores practices of consensual sexual communication.

Consent and Power Imbalances

Often when we talk about consent, we assume a "yes" is a "yes" and a "no" is a "no." To be clear, a “no” is always a “no,” but sometimes people say “yes” when they don't actually want to participate in the activity.

Our lives are full of power imbalances. This can be on an individual level (parent versus child), work or school level (boss versus employee or teacher versus student), or based on larger systems of power (such as the power imbalances created by patriarchy, racism, ableism, etc.) and are often determined by what groups hold the most amount of privilege (white, cisgender, straight, upper-class, male, etc.).

Sometimes people do not feel able to say “no” when someone with more power than them asks for something. It is important to understand that not everyone has the opportunity or capacity to express how they want to participate in any given situation or conversation. Concerns for safety and security are real and valid.

This content was adapted from LSPIRG’s Consent Campaign.

Intersecting Identities And Sexual Violence

Understanding Sexual Violence

Digital Consent Practices and Technology-Facilitated Violence

Digital Consent Practices

For many folks, particularly for people with intersecting and marginalized identities, harm in online spaces is prevalent. Similar to other forms of gender-based violence, BIPOC, 2SLGBTQQIA+ folks, women, and people with disabilities are disproportionately impacted by technology-facilitated gender-based violence. These forms of harm and violence can include doxxing, sharing intimate images or conversations without someone's consent, stalking, and mobbing.

To learn more about these forms of violence and their impacts, check out "Technology-Facilitated Gender-Based Violence: An Overview" by Suzie Dunn.

To learn more about taking precautions against online harassment, check out "Speak Up & Stay Safe(r): A Guide to Protecting Yourself From Online Harassment".

As more of our day-to-day life becomes integrated into virtual spaces, it's important to explore how to build an online consent culture and prevent technology-facilitated violence.

‘Digital consent is a way to refer to sexual consent that happens through screens. Just like in real-life sexual encounters, consent should be an on-going conversation when communicating digitally.

Although you aren’t talking face-to-face, you should always consider how your actions might make another person feel and ask questions if you don’t know.”-NSVRC, Building Safe Online Spaces Together

Some virtual consent practices can include:

  • Asking someone for their consent before posting a photo of them and before tagging them in a post
  • Asking someone for their consent before sharing any of their private information (i.e. contact information, full name, address, identity-based information)
  • Asking if someone comfortable before sexting or sending a nude photo. As well, don’t ever share someone's nudes or sexts with other people without their consent
  • Asking before tagging a location or virtually "checking in" somewhere with someone else
  • Asking if you can repost or reshare someone's post, especially if resharing onto another platform (i.e. sharing a friends' Tiktok on Instagram)

To learn more about consent practices in online spaces:,

Laurier’s Gendered and Sexual Violence Prevention and Supports operates on the sacred and traditional land of the Anishnawbe, Haudenosaunee, and Neutral peoples.