Many people talk about consent and sex as though it’s a simple as a “yes” or “no” question, but legally speaking, consent is much more complex. Some people may say they consent to an act, but legally, they cannot consent due to a temporary condition. Others may say they consent to an act, but they are legally incapable of ever consenting.
As a result of the misunderstandings concerning consent, Smith & Vinson Law Firm created this blog post to clear up confusion and highlight problems concerning this all-important sexual topic.
Dispelling the Myths of Consent
Many people believe consent is a simple yes or no to a sexual encounter, but that’s not true. There are a few things to consider when talking about the definition of consent among two consenting adults.
Consent Is Fixed
Consent to a sexual act is not permanent, and any person can change his or her mind about their consent to perform a sexual act. For example, if a woman agrees to a sexual act at a man’s home, but on the way over changes her mind, she may leave without consequence.
Furthermore, consent can be revoked by either party at any point during a sexual act. Therefore, if a man tells a woman to stop what she’s doing during a sexual act, she should comply or otherwise face criminal charges.
Consent Transfers to Other Sexual Acts
Consent to a sexual act only stands for the act in question. This means that consent to perform or receive one sexual act does not represent consent to perform or receive a different sexual act. For example, someone may consent to receive a certain sexual act, but that does not mean that he or she is now obligated to perform or receive a different sexual act.
Agreements to sequential sexual acts “first, you perform on me, then, I’ll perform on you” are not binding, and someone’s refusal to respond in kind is protected. Therefore, don’t try to force someone to “hold up their end of the bargain” if they refuse to perform after you have.
Consent Is Automatic in Relationships
Many people fail to realize that consent is not automatic in committed relationships; in fact, consent is not even automatic in marital relationships. Therefore, no one should assume that a partner will perform sexual acts for them, as this assumption is not legally upheld and could result in legal consequences.
Consent Is Simply Agreeing to a Sexual Act
Consent is more than an agreement to a sexual act; it is an agreement to a sexual act made rationally. This distinction is important because some people are (as defined by Texas law) unable to consent to sexual encounters logically.
Those who cannot rationally consent to sexual encounters include:
- Those under the age of 17;
- Those who are intimidated, coerced, or forced to “give consent”;
- Those who are unconscious or physically unable to resist;
- Those who cannot appraise the nature of the act due to mental disease;
- Those who cannot appraise the nature of the act due to drugs or alcohol.
Accused of a Sex Crime?
As you can see, consent is not as direct or as obvious as many make it out to be. Unfortunately, these confusions concerning consent can lead to criminal charges for those who were unaware of their mistakes (this is especially true when alcohol or drugs are involved).
If you or a loved one is charged with a sex crime, Smith & Vinson Law Firm can help. Our dedicated and experienced criminal defense lawyers have represented thousands of clients over the years, and we’re known for getting results.
Call (512) 359-3743 now for a free consultation for your case!