Understanding Consent


According to the Rights, Rules and Responsiblities (2020) of Princeton University consent is defined as the voluntary, informed, un-coerced agreement through words and actions freely given, which a reasonable person would interpret as a willingness to participate in mutually agreed-upon sexual acts. Consensual sexual activity happens when each partner willingly and affirmatively chooses to participate.

As it relates to sexual behavior, SHARE has an open community-call for healthy, and supportive communication, behavior and interactions, which includes consent and bystander intervention. Examples of this include:

  • Asking consent before/during sexual contact  
  • Respecting the “no” or subtle signs of non-consent (e.g., silence, “my roommate is coming home,” “I don’t feel well”) by not continuing to ask, saying thank you, offering to do something else 
  • Intervening in problematic/disrespectful situations to prevent further harm or escalation of harm 

Our open community-call is distinguished from rules and policy that comes out of Rights, Rules and Responsibilities (2020) and state law, in that we are seeking cultural change and encouraging our community to strive for a higher standard than policy compliance when it comes to sex and interpersonal relationships through a respect-based standard. Not all disrespectful behavior is a policy violation, but it can be harmful and can escalate to policy violation.

Core Principles of Consent

Remember that consent is:

  • Voluntary 
  • Uncoerced 
  • Mutual
  • Respectful
  • Ongoing
  • Verbal
  • Explicit
  • Respectful
  • Sexy
  • Enthusiastic 
  • Informed
  • Given with sound mind, legal age and capacity


Consent is as simple as tea

While most individuals understand the definition of consent, many struggle to implement consent as a practice in everyday life. Still struggling with consent?  Watch this video to learn how consent is as simple as tea. 

Legal Disclaimer

The Sexual Harassment/Assault Advising, Resources & Education (SHARE) website provides general information that is intended to be as accurate and current as possible, however, it is not guaranteed. This website is not intended to be a source for legal advice, and therefore you should not rely on it for legal advice. If you need legal advice, consult the SHARE team for a legal referral, or consult a competent, independent lawyer or legal advocate. SHARE does not assume any responsibility for actions or non-actions taken by people who have visited this site, and no one shall be entitled to a claim for detrimental reliance on any information provided or expressed.