Consent means agreeing to do something. When it comes to sexual activity this means agreeing to take part in this sexual activity.
Sex should be a pleasurable experience and should always be your choice. You should not feel pressured into any sexual activity. This includes anything from sexual touching and kissing to penetration.
If you change your mind about wanting to have sex, you can say so at any point and the person you are with needs to hear and respect that.
Consent should be clear and without pressure. Consent can be communicated in what we say and what we do (body language):
- If someone is asleep or unconscious they are unable to consent
- If they are threatened or forced, they do not have the freedom to consent
- If they are drunk or high, they may not have the capacity to consent
If you do not give consent and sex happens this is sexual assault:
Age of consent
The age of consent in England is 16. Under this age sex is illegal. The law is there to protect a young person from being exploited by an older person. It is not there to punish those under 16 who are having consenting sex with somebody of a similar age.
There are special laws to protect those under 13 years. It is a sexual offence to have sex with someone under 13.
Disrespect Nobody is a government initiative that focuses on relationships.