The absence of a clear, enthusiastic “yes,” is always a “no.” Hesitation, silence, agreement after coercion—those are always going to be a “no.” Consent needs to be willingly and freely given; it needs to be ongoing, retractable, eager, earnest, etc. Consent for one act is not consent for another.
Consent is constant communication. “Can I touch you?” “Can I kiss you?” “Can I take your shirt off?” “Do you like this?” “Do you want me to keep going?” “Do you want to try this? “How does that feel?” “Are you okay?” “Do you want to stop?” You must always give your partner the option to say “no.”
Thank you so much to @theequalityinstitute for this fantastic image to go along with our words.
#Accessibility image description: a digital drawing of two people laying in bed. One looks over at their partner while their partner is fiddling with their own fingers, displaying what looks like hesitation. Above them are the words: “hesitation is another way of saying no.”