Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality, Vol. 1, Sept. 15, 1998



College Students' Perceptions of Women's Verbal and Nonverbal

Consent for Sexual Intercourse

Jason J. Burrow, Roseann Hannon, and David S. Hall

University of the Pacific


Perceptions of women's consent and nonconsent for intercourse were studied in 385 heterosexual college men and women.  Participants read one of four vignettes describing a heterosexual couple who are on a date and are engaged in intimate sexual behavior.  The male makes it clear to the female that he wants to have sexual intercourse.  The female either consents or does not consent.  Participants then rated the likelihood of the female using each of six verbal and six nonverbal behaviors to clearly communicate her intention.  Participants reported higher ratings for verbal behavior to communicate nonconsent than to communicate consent.  They reported higher ratings for nonverbal behavior to communicate consent than to communicate nonconsent.  Implications for future research are discussed.

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