Through its sexual misconduct prevention efforts, response resources, and Title IX sexual misconduct process, Colby strives to create a climate in which all community members feel safe and respected.  Promoting a thorough understanding of sexual consent is crucial to establishing such a climate.


 In the context of sexual activity, Consent means all parties reasonably understand that they freely agree, through words and/or actions, to engage in sexual activity.  Consent may be withdrawn at any time.  A person does not “freely agree” to sexual activity when the agreement results from force, violence, threats, intimidation or coercion.  A person does not “freely agree” where the person was incapacitated, and the other party knew or should have known of that Incapacitation.

 Incapacitation: In the context of sexual activity, Incapacitation means that a person lacks the ability or capacity to make rational, reasonable judgments about whether to Consent to sexual activity. Incapacitation exists when a person is asleep or unconscious, and can also exist because of a temporary mental or physical health condition, or when a person is so impaired by alcohol or drugs (i.e., beyond merely being drunk, intoxicated or “high” as the result of consumption of alcohol or drugs).  Some indications of Incapacitation may include lack of control over physical movements, lack of awareness of circumstances or surroundings, and slurred speech.

Sexual consent is NOT:

  • The absence of a “no”
  • The absence of physical resistance
  • The result of one partner wearing down another partner
  • Deducible through things like chosen attire or known sexual history
  • Obtainable from someone who is intoxicated to the point of incapacitation
  • An entitlement

How do I make sure I have full sexual consent?

Clear and sensitive communication is vital to ensuring that you have full consent from a prospective sexual partner. Although you may worry that asking for consent as you initiate and increase physical intimacy will ruin the mood, consistently checking in with a prospective partner does not have to be difficult. You can ask:

  • Can I kiss you?
  • Can I hold your hand?
  • Do you want to have sex with me?
  • How far would you be interested in going?
  • Have you ever done…? Would you like to try it with me?
  • I would like to…? What do you think?
  • Is this feeling good to you?
  • Are you still okay with this?
  • You seem quiet…Are you sure?