Queering Consent

Thinking about and practicing consent is critical for your sexual journey in terms of health and pleasure.As queer people, we are often left out of conversations and education about consent due to heteronormativity.

What Is Consent?

Consent is an agreement between people, often occurring when you ask or give permission to do something. Consent has to be voluntary. Pressures can cause us to give consent when we may not otherwise. Be mindful of the pressures you or the people you are involved with might feel. There are many kinds of pressures we experience including authoritative, societal, romantic, peer, and self pressure.

  • Romantic pressure comes from someone we are romantically involved with, and can include manipulation, guilt, and deception. (If anyone ever tells you that you’d do something if you love them, that’s a red flag!)
  • Self pressure is the pressure we put on ourselves based on ideas and messages we have internalized from society and people around us.

Consent requires a right mind. 

  • The use of alcohol or drugs makes navigating consent difficult. If someone is no longer in their right mind they cannot consent. 
  • Strong emotions can also affect our mind and our decisions.  
Consent is needed for every new act (and can be removed at any time)


  • We cannot assume that agreeing to one act, like cuddling, means that we have permission for other acts, like kissing. 
  • Similarly just because we have done something with a person in the past, we can’t assume that we have permission to do it again. 
  • Assumptions about what someone wants are often based on heteronormative scripts. It is valid and common to be interested in some sex acts and not others, and for those preferences to change between interactions. 

How can you practice consent?

How can we negotiate consent in the moment without breaking the mood? 

  • Provide examples of how to ask for consent in casual ways. 
  • Ask your partner what they would like and let them tell you what feels good for them.

Be someone people feel safe saying no to you.

  • It is okay to feel disappointed when we hear a no but those feelings are ours to own.
  • We should always affirm and encourage our partner’s nos.
  • By receiving nos well you will help the people around you to feel safe. Not only will this prevent harm, it may also nurture intimacy.

How can we combat heteronormativity in our consent practices?

  • Acknowledge that anyone can cause harm or be harmed 
  • Reject heteronormative scripts around dating and sex (in favor of communicating)
  • Expand our ideas around what is “sex”


Consent is sexy! Part of practicing safe sex is making sure it is consensual for everyone involved. 

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