What are the five pillars of consent?

Answered by Randy McIntyre

The five pillars of consent are essential in ensuring that our behavior is respectful and considerate of others. By understanding and following these pillars, we can create an environment that promotes healthy and consensual interactions. Let’s explore each pillar in detail:

1. Revocable: Consent must be revocable, meaning that it can be withdrawn or revoked at any time. Just because someone gives their consent initially does not mean they have given consent for all future actions. It is crucial to continuously check in with the other person and respect their boundaries. If someone indicates that they no longer consent, it is essential to stop immediately and respect their decision.

2. Conscious: Consent must be given consciously and voluntarily, without any form of manipulation, coercion, or pressure. It is important to ensure that both parties involved are fully aware of what they are consenting to and are capable of making informed decisions. Consent cannot be given if someone is intoxicated, asleep, unconscious, or unable to understand the situation.

3. Enthusiastic: Consent should be enthusiastic and enthusiastic consent is a clear indicator of genuine desire and enjoyment. It means that both parties are actively and willingly participating in the interaction. It is important to pay attention to verbal and non-verbal cues to gauge enthusiasm. If someone seems hesitant, unsure, or not actively engaged, it is crucial to pause and check in with them to ensure their consent is genuine.

4. Verbal: Consent should be communicated verbally, using clear and explicit language. It is important to have open and honest conversations about boundaries, desires, and expectations before engaging in any activity. Non-verbal cues alone may not always be sufficient to indicate consent, as they can be easily misinterpreted. Verbal communication ensures that both parties are on the same page and reduces the risk of misunderstandings.

5. Ongoing: Consent is an ongoing process that requires continuous communication and mutual agreement throughout the interaction. It is not a one-time event or a blanket approval for all future activities. As the circumstances change, so can a person’s comfort levels or boundaries. It is important to regularly check in with each other, respect any changes in boundaries, and ensure that consent is maintained throughout the interaction.

By following these five pillars of consent – revocable, conscious, enthusiastic, verbal, and ongoing – we can create a culture of respect, consent, and healthy communication. It is important to remember that consent is a fundamental aspect of any consensual relationship or interaction and should always be prioritized.