Date of Award

January 2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


School of Public Health

First Advisor

Sarah Lowe

Second Advisor

Kate Walsh


Sexual consent communication is a critical component in ensuring healthy and satisfying sexual experiences. The communication of consent can take many forms and be affected by a variety of factors, ranging from gender and sexual orientation, to type of sexual behavior and familiarity with a partner. The current study sought to examine the ways in which different factors affected how one communicated consent in their last sexual encounter. College students (N = 211) completed an online cross-sectional survey examining engagement in sexual behaviors, feelings in sexual encounters, and aspects of their most recent sexual experience. Individual- and situational-level correlates were used to examine the usage of four types of consent communication tactics in participants’ last sexual encounter: indirect verbal, indirect non-verbal, direct verbal, and direct non-verbal. Multivariable ordinal regression analyses showed that women, those who identified as lesbian, gay, or bisexual (LGB), and those who received oral sex had greater odds of higher direct verbal consent communication. Those who engaged in vaginal and performed oral sex, as well as those who identified as LGB, had greater odds of higher direct non-verbal communication. An interaction term for gender and familiarity with one’s last sexual partner was significant for both forms of direct consent communication. Analyses stratified by gender showed that both individual and situational factors had greater impact on engagement in direct consent communication for women, versus men. There were no significant findings in the investigation of indirect consent communication. Future research is needed to examine specific reasoning behind why specific communication tactics are used to inform theories of causality.


This thesis is restricted to Yale network users only. It will be made publicly available on 05/10/2024