What Is Sexual Consent?

Sexual consent is when someone actively agrees to be sexual with someone.

Consent lets someone know that sex is wanted and can be withdrawn at any point.

Consent isn’t what we wear or where we go, it is an enthusiastic yes.

Any sexual activity without consent is rape or sexual assault – not just penetration. Including stealthing.

You always get the final say over what happens to your body, it doesn’t matter if you’ve slept together before or are even married, your partner must respect this and vice versa.

There are laws surrounding consent. People who are under the influence (drugs or alcohol) cannot consent to sex.

Anyone under the age of 18 cannot consent. There are also laws to protect those who are under 18 from being pressured into sex with someone much older than them. Different countries have different ages of consent.

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No Means Not, But So Does...

No is definitely not consent but the following phrases or anything along those lines is also no. Remember, if it’s not an enthusiastic yes, it’s not consent.

  • “I’m not sure”
  • “Maybe later”
  • “Let’s just chill”
  • “I don’t like that”
  • “I’ve changed my mind”
  • “Not today”
  • “I don’t feel comfortable with this”
  • “I don’t know”
  • “Maybe we should wait”
  • “Stop”

“Anyone can be a victim — no matter their gender, sexual orientation, or age. But certain groups of people are more likely than others to experience sexual assault in their lives. Women (especially women of color), LGBT identified people, and people with developmental disabilities are more likely to experience sexual assault over the course of their lifetimes.” – Planned Parenthood  


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Consent Can Be Sexy

Asking for consent doesn’t have to be a mood killer or done in a serious, clinical way – consent can be sexy and super hot!

  • “Can I touch you here?”
  • “Can we try it like this?”
  • “Do you want me to stop?”
  • “Can I kiss you here?”
  • “Does this feel good?”
  • “Can I take them off”
  • “Tell me what you want me to do to you?”
  • “How would you feel if I did this?”
  • “Do you like it when I touch you there?”

Remember: It's hot but it's also mandatory and the bare minimum, not a sexy addition.

What is 'Coercion'?

Coercion is when someone pressures you into sexual activities with them.

It can present itself in many different ways, sometimes it's really obvious, "if you don't have sex with me, I will break up with you", but sometimes it's more subtle, "Come on, we haven't had sex in ages, I will be quick".

Either way it is when someone doesn't accept your 'no' and continues to try and persuade you to change your mind. This is not consent.

What Can I do If I've Been Sexually Assaulted?

If you have been sexually assaulted or raped please remember it is not your fault, ever, no matter the situation.

Head over to the NHS website for more information on the next steps.

If you need to speak to someone, some great helplines are:

Important Statistics

  • False Accusations are incredibly rare. According to the CSEW Men are actually 230X more likely to be raped than to be falsely accused of rape. You are more likely to be struck by lightning than be falsely accused of rape.
  • According to RAINN an American is sexually assaulted every 73 seconds.
  • An investigation by UN Women UK found that 97% of women aged 18-24 have been sexually harassed, with a further 96% not reporting those situations because of the belief that it would not change anything

Head over to the ONS GOV website for even more statistics.

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