Consent means the permission for something to happen or agreement to do something.
It means if someone says no, they mean no! It means that they don’t want to do something and that boundary has been set to go no further. There’s no negotiating and you should not push for a yes answer as this is still not consent. It’s coercion.
If someone says yes, they mean yes! It means that they are comfortable at that moment to do something. However, there are still conditions.
Consent is very important in communication.
Just because one moment someone may feel comfortable in doing something does not mean that they will always feel comfortable.
For example, sex!
One moment someone (no matter what gender you identify as) may say yes to wanting sex but 5 minutes later they want to stop and they say no! This doesn’t mean carry on, this means stop and wait until both parties feel comfortable to go further.
What’s the difference between encouragement and coercion?
Coercion is “the action or practice of persuading someone to do something by using force or threats”.
Encouragement is the “act of giving someone support, confidence, and hope”.
Notice the difference between, “force or threats” and “support, confidence and hope”. Force, threats, support, confidence and hope can come in different shapes and sizes.
Overall, consent means giving permission to do or not do something. If someone says no, they mean no. If someone says yes, they mean they are comfortable with something based on the conditions that you have discussed with that person and at that particular time.