University students are at risk to experience sexual assault. One of the reasons is the difference in sexual expectations. While men are expected to initiate sex, women are supposed to gatekeep it. Therefore, the research question of this study is to: How do male and female Dutch university students experience sexual consent during heterosexual intimacy? To study the experience of Dutch university students with sexual consent, 21 semi-structured interviews with twelve men and nine women were conducted. These interviews resulted in three themes: Verbal versus Non-Verbal Consent, Unwanted Intimacy and Reasons for Unwanted Intimacy. The results imply that Dutch university students experience sexual consent as a verbal or a non-verbal agreement or as non-existent. Some experienced that consent was gathered under duress, which is heavily determined by societal expectations and power differences between men and women. This indicates the importance of studying sexual consent because awareness surrounding how societal expectations and power differences affect consent negotiation can improve intimate experiences.

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Bonnie French, Willem Schinkel
Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Leebeek, S. (2021, June 20). If You Wanna be My Lover, You Gotta Get My Consent: Dutch University Students’ Experience with Sexual Consent during Heterosexual Intimacy. Sociology. Retrieved from