Son Heading to College? Here's How to Make Him Clear on Consent from Pexels

Uptown Magazine

Consent is a much broader topic than a man or woman agreeing to sexual activity.

Written by Dr. Nadine Pierre-Louis

The anticipation of your son starting college conjures up visions of freedom, parties, and independence for him. In today’s environment, it can also inspire some trepidation in parents. Parents are having to address an issue which has taken on a whole new meaning since they were 18, that of consent. Recently, the term consent has been used to refer to someone agreeing to sexual activity. The reality is that consent is a much broader topic.

Consent to Touch

The Legal Information Institute includes in its definition of assault, “reasonable apprehension of an imminent harmful or offensive contact. Physical injury is not required.” Studies have shown that more than 90 percent of our communication is non-verbal. We need to teach our young people, especially our young men, how to read non-verbal cues. If you lean into a person and they do not lean forward in return or, more importantly, lean backwards, they are letting you know that you are encroaching on their personal space. Any further encroachment can be considered offensive. Does that mean you have to stop talking to that person? Absolutely not! It just means, slow your roll. It does mean don’t touch them, tickle, or grab them. You may want to role play this scenario with your son so that there is a clear understanding before any alcohol is added to the mix. Diminished capacity is not an excuse.

Consent to Sexual Activity

Of late, discussions surrounding consent have centered on consent as it relates to sex. As the common definition of sex among adolescents includes penetration, it is again, imperative to inform our young men that sexual assault can include “fondling or unwanted touching above or under clothes,” according to This means that many of the popular movie make-out scenes where guys just reach over and commence touching without any conversation would be viewed as sexual assault today. The goal is to not increase the stress and anxiety surrounding interacting with someone you’re attracted to. In fact, if handled correctly, communication reduces everyone’s stress.

How to Know if You Have Consent

  1. Say something! “I really like you, is it OK if I …” or “I really would like to kiss you” and pause for a response.
  2. Don’t be ambiguous. “Do you want to go to my room?” is not code for “and have sex.”
  3. Pay attention! If the person you’re with has gotten quiet, they may have become uncomfortable and are having trouble verbalizing their feelings. Stop whatever you’re doing immediately, and check-in with your partner. SILENCE IS NOT CONSENT, ASK!
  4. Don’t be selfish! While it is easy to focus on your own pleasure, it is important to stay connected with your partner and don’t make the other person feel bad if they seem hesitant or want to stop. They are withdrawing consent. This is important; they don’t have to say “no” to withdraw consent. If they are no longer actively participating, there is NO consent.

Can There Be Consent When Drunk?

This is an important question as it relates to your son’s college career. College protocol and the law do not always have to agree. In other words, if students are inebriated at the time, and there is what was understood to be consensual sex at the time, and neither lost consciousness, in some states the parties would still be considered incapacitated to consent. However, in other states a legal argument can be made that there was consent. Based on your college’s protocol, you can be considered impaired even if both parties consented, and you may face consequences such as expulsion. Make sure to understand your school’s Student Code of Conduct. All major colleges and universities now have a section to address sexual misconduct. It’s a good idea to review this with your son before he leaves so that there is no ambiguity. So now you're drunk, how do you decide? Even when drunk, go back to step 1: Say something. If you or your partner can’t communicate, there can’t be consent. Remember, if there is any doubt, there is NO consent.

Yes, a Man Must Also Consent

Just because a woman offers sex, does not mean a man has to want it. There is nothing wrong with a guy turning down sex. Sexual emancipation has given rise to a dark side, an under-reported behavior. Some sororities are encouraging the collecting of sexual scalps. Without consent, it is wrong when a man does it. It is equally wrong when a woman does it. It is important for young men to realize that they can be sexually assaulted and/or raped. It is a myth that men cannot be raped. There is a powerful scene in the popular History Channel’s series Vikings which depicts just such an event. Sexual assault of a male is traumatic and should not be minimized because of gender. Males should be encouraged to report and are entitled to the same protections afforded female victims. You need to make sure your son is aware that this is NEVER OK.

Is It Ever Too Late to Withdraw Consent?

This is an extremely important concept. Just because someone consents to sex, that does not mean they have given up their right to end the experience at any point. Once someone says “stop” or “no” or ceases participation, they have withdrawn consent and the other party needs to stop, as they are no longer with a willing participant. There is no justification to continue the encounter.

At this point, some parents may be thinking, “Am I making a mistake letting my son go away to school?” The college transition for a prepared adolescent is a valuable experience. In addition to education, college provides an opportunity for a young man to master self-sufficiency, gain self-esteem, and most importantly develop the critical thinking skills needed to be successful in life. Teach your son about consent. This is an important tool that will make him a better person, then allow him the opportunity to step up and become that person.

DR. NADINE PIERRE-LOUIS is the founder and CEO of Doc and Jock LLC, whose mission is to enhance awareness and communication on male issues with the slogan Real Men Talk™. Dr. Pierre-Louis has more than 15 years of experience as a human growth and development educator and licensed marriage therapist.

In addition to her private practice, Dr. Pierre-Louis works as an adjunct professor at one of the nation’s largest community colleges, where she has gained a reputation for using humor to simplify complex concepts, making learning fun. She is the recipient of the 2016 AC4 Columbia University IACM Fellowship.

Dr. Pierre-Louis lives in Florida and is the mother of two sons, ages 24 and 20.

Richard and the Boyz: The Puberty Experience is available on Amazon. For more information on Richard and the Boyz*, visit* and . You can connect with them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Comments (13)

Inside the follicles, oil conveys dead skin cells to the surface of the skin. Skin break out can be cured with consistency utilizing effective cures, combined with disposing of the main driver. The main driver of Pimples (Acne) is two-crease. This face cream helps you a lot. Food plan and intense subject also matters.


Earn your master’s degree in intelligence and develop high level skills throughout your intelligence management studies in intelligence analysis, counterintelligence, collection management, and intelligence operations.


Cellular apps will be able to help one to produce your company more efficiently, which can save time and income in the lengthy-term. Building a Dubai program developer can enhance communication among customers and staff members as well if you include the necessary customer service functions.


students never have enough free time for their hobbies. They get a lot of homework, which they don't always do alone. It's good when there are services such as essay writing help which help in solving complex problems and free up time for hobbies.

Tyrone Williams
Tyrone Williams

This is one of the best articles that I've read on consent. I love that you included some sample lines on what a son could say. I'm definitely sharing this with my chaps at


This is one of the most important things that we must teach our child before he is getting admission to any college university. He or she must know about his or her restrictions and limitations that have to follow in college and here is easy you check for good work by children and students.Here is the guideline for the parents and children.

Jackie P. Jones
Jackie P. Jones

Such a necessary topic discussed here. That every son while going to college must have an idea about the limitations and restrictions of the activities which students can check to find quality work. I truly appreciate this article for defining these consent beautifully.