Consent Cues

Consent cues are the verbal or non-verbal signs to listen and watch for when you are hanging out with someone. They let you know if someone likes or dislikes what you are doing or saying. Being able to pick up on cues, and communicate clearly, makes for safer and better sexual experiences for everyone involved. 

Cues that there is no consent and you should STOP!

Verbal cues can sound like:

  • I don’t know.
  • I’m not sure how I feel …
  • I’ve never really done that …
  • Ummm, maybe, ok I guess …
  • I didn’t like that last time …
  • NO, that’s not ok, not cool.
  • Stop, quit, get off me, get out of here …
  • I don’t want to do this any more.
  • That hurts.
  • I need a break.

Non-verbal cues can look like:

  • Unresponsive or silent
  • Seems distracted
  • Becomes rigid or tenses up
  • Sharp and sudden deep breath
  • Sudden changes – no longer making eye contact
  • Avoiding eye contacting or looking away
  • Pushing someone away
  • Avoiding touch or moving away
  • Crying, looking sad/fearful, shaking head no
  • Freezing, or just laying there

Cues that you can KEEP GOING!

Verbal cues can sound like:

  • Yes!, I’m sure, I want to …
  • I want you/to …
  • That feels good.
  • Keep going/doing that.
  • I am so into you/that.

Non-verbal cues can look like:

  • Direct eye contact
  • Reciprocal sexual acts, pulling someone closer
  • Nodding yes
  • Laughter or smiling paired with other cues
  • Relaxed, open body language

Adapted from University of Missouri-Kansas City

See RISE (2021).