Consent is enthusiastic, willing participation in any form of sexual activity.

Anything other than a clear yes is a no. 
A person consents if they give permission to something by choice and have the freedom and capacity to make that choice.

Where someone is giving permission or saying ‘yes’ to sexual activity with another person(s), it must be enthusiastically and clearly signalled by everyone involved before and throughout. 

These are not signs of consent to any form of sexual activity:

●       Silence
●       Passivity
●       Lack of resistance or ‘freezing’
●       A smile
●       Flirting
●       How someone is dressed
●       Friendly body language
●       Being in a relationship (including marriage)
●       Having had consensual sex with someone in the past
●       Consenting to sex and then changing their mind
●       Agreeing to go home with someone
●       Liking sex or having it regularly

If someone says no initially, but eventually says yes in response to pressure or persuasion, they have not freely consented. 
Consent can be withdrawn at any point during sexual activity. Giving consent to one sexual act does not mean someone has agreed to any sexual acts that follow or any sexual activity that might happen in the future. 

 Having the capacity to consent.

Having capacity means the person can make and communicate a decision, understand the consequences and know that they have a choice. 

Someone does not have the capacity to consent to sexual activity by choice if:

●       They are asleep or unconscious
●       They are drunk or ‘on’ drugs
●       They have been ‘spiked’
●       They are too young
●       They have mental health needs or illness that means they are unable to make a choice 
●       They are being pressured, guilt tripped, bullied, manipulated, tricked or scared into saying 'yes’
●       The other person is using physical force against them

Consent must be freely given.

If a person is concerned that something bad might happen to them if they say no, they cannot give consent freely. 

This could include:

●       Being threatened with physical harm
●       Being blackmailed using images or social media
●       Someone using their age, authority, status or position as pressure
●       Someone not having a safe way to leave the situation, i.e. cannot get home for any reason

If someone says no initially, but eventually says yes in response to pressure or persuasion, they have not freely consented


If you are still unsure about consent and how it works then you can get in touch with the Gateway services for your campus or the Student’s Union for a confidential conversation about consent. 

You can pop into Gateway or a Student’s Union office on each campus or contact your campus Gateway via email at: 
or contact the Student’s Union at 


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