Consent Is an Active "Yes"

Consent is not just the absence of "no;" it’s the presence of an active "yes." Women don’t exist in an “always” state of consent until we object. We are sovereigns over our own bodies. If you want to interact with us sexually—if you want to interact with our bodies—you have to get our consent actively. You don’t just have to proceed until you hear our objections. Because that assumes that women are here for consumption until we tell you otherwise, and it’s not true. We are full, sovereign human beings.

Against a dark background, a neon message in silver reads YES YES

My definition of consent is affirmative consent, where each one of us, regardless of our gender, is responsible to make sure that our sexual partners not only aren’t saying “Stop, please,” but are actively into whatever’s happening. That’s just a human responsibility we have to each other. It’s not about gender at all, ultimately. It’s about all of us, if we’re decent human beings, want to only be doing things intimately with people who want to be doing them.

From Ms. Friedman's appearance on a March 10, 2018 episode of the podcast Dear Sugars.

About the Author

Jaclyn Friedman

Jaclyn Friedman is the author of Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape and Unscrewed: Women, Sex, Power and How to Stop Letting the System Screw Us All. Her podcast, also called “Unscrewed,” was named one of the Best Sex Podcasts by Marie Claire and Esquire.

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