Internal Consent, Affirmative External Consent, and Sexual Satisfaction Among Young Adults

Hannah Javidi, Laura Widman, Reina Evans-Paulson, Nikolette Lipsey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Sexual satisfaction is an important part of sexual health. Recently, efforts have been underway to better understand what factors contribute to positive sexual experiences among young adults. One factor may be sexual consent. This study aimed to explore individual and interactive effects of two distinct, but related dimensions of sexual consent–internal consent and affirmative external consent–on young adults’ feelings of sexual satisfaction following their most recent sexual intercourse experience. Participants were 294 young adults (ages 18–25, M age = 23.7; 59% women) recruited from Amazon’s MTurk. Results showed that each dimension of consent had a significant, unique relationship with satisfaction, and that the two dimensions of consent alone accounted for half of the variance in satisfaction. Additional analyses showed that there are specific components of both internal and affirmative external consent (e.g., safety/comfort; arousal; consent/want; communicator/initiator cues) that may be most influential in driving this relationship. As both consent dimensions greatly contribute to positive sexual experiences, researchers attempting to promote sexual wellbeing may be wise to attend to both internal and external consent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1148-1158
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Sex Research
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Gender Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Psychology
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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