Consent to sex is a topic of much research, particularly with the goal of optimizing sex education for youth, college students, and military service personnel. Sex educators have tended to err on the side of clear and concise definitions of consent for ease of instruction. However, the sexual science literature has steadily shown that the navigation of consent to sexuality activity is much more nuanced, situated and contextual. When consent is conceptualized as a yes or no answer to particular sexual acts or sexual activity altogether, it overlooks the dynamic nature of how people experience consenting. This article examines consent in the sexual science research literature and then considers these findings through the lens of some of the contributions of phenomenological philosophy. We then discuss the experience of consent as a dialogic process that can lead to moments of transcendence of the self and deep reverence for the other, despite some moments of lack of clarity or ambiguity within the same sexual act.

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Creative Commons License
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