Enthusiastic consent is an important part of any sexual encounter. After all, it is against the law to coerce or force someone into physical intimacy. Each party to a sexual encounter should give informed consent of their own volition. Failing to obtain consent could easily lead to accusations of sexual misconduct. 

Certain factors, like the consumption of drugs or alcohol, could limit someone’s ability to give informed consent to an intimate encounter. Additionally, those who are not old enough cannot legally consent to sex and the repercussions it can sometimes cause. 

Making sure that both you and your partner are over the age of consent can protect you from criminal repercussions for a consensual relationship.

How old must a young adult be to consent to sex? 

Under New Jersey state law, the technical age of consent for young adults of standard cognitive ability is 16 years. When someone reaches the age of 16, they can consent to sexual encounters with people the same age and older than them. Anyone who is already a legal adult or out of high school can only have a legal sexual relationship with someone who meets this basic requirement. 

New Jersey does recognize that sometimes younger teenagers also start experimenting, and the state does have a so-called Romeo and Juliet rule regarding consent in those cases. Someone as young as 13 can consent to physical intimacy with another teenager, provided that the gap between their ages is no more than four years. 

Learning and following the laws in New Jersey can help you avoid accusations that you’ve committed a sex crime.