Consent means agreeing to do something...
Sexual consent means actively agreeing to take part in a sexual activity. This might be touching kissing, oral sex, vaginal sex or anal sex.
Getting and giving consent before taking part in any sexual activity with a partner means you can both be sure that the sexual activity is wanted and agreed to.
Doing something sexual to another person without their consent is sexual assault or rape.
Consent is an absolutely necessary part of a healthy relationship. It's when people mutually agree to sexual activity, including hugging, kissing, touching or sex.
Before being sexual with someone, you need to know if they want to be sexual with you too.
Ways to think about consent...
- Did you and a partner both agree to sex?
- Did you both agree to every sexual activity you did?
- Did you feel you could say no to anything you didn’t want to do? Could the person you were with say no to you?
- Is it what you wanted to do? Is this what the person you were with wanted to do?
For sex to be consensual both partners must agree to have sex.
It’s important to set personal boundaries for both yourself and a partner and check in with each other if things aren’t clear.
Without consent, sexual activity (including oral sex, genital touching and vaginal or anal penetration) is sexual assault or rape. Consenting to sexual activity is a choice you make without pressure, manipulation or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Consent is also reversible. You can change your mind at any time. Whether you’ve done it before or are both naked in bed, you can still say no!
It’s your body - you get the final say.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve hooked up before or even if you said yes earlier, you can still change your mind.
You’re allowed to say stop at any time and a partner needs to respect that.
Consent is never implied by your past behaviour, what you wear or where you go.
Sexual consent is always clearly communicated - there should be no question or mystery around consent.
Silence is not consent.
There are laws about who can consent and who can’t.
People who are drunk, have taken drugs, or have passed out can’t consent to sex.
The age of sexual consent is how old a person needs to be in order to be considered legally capable of consenting to sex.
In the UK the age of consent is 16.
Help and support
Rape and sexual assault can happen to anyone and accessing help and support as soon as possible is really important. Victims of rape and sexual assault have many feelings to deal with - that's why it's so important to get confidential help and support.
SAFE Place Merseyside:
If you have been sexually assaulted call SAFE Place Merseyside on 0151 295 3550 (24 hours a day, 365 days a year - all calls are treated professionally and in confidence).
SAFE Place will help you identify what next steps need to be taken, including involving the police and what health checks you may require.
You may require Sexual Health Wirral advice and support
If you have been a victim of sexual assault, we are here to support you. We recommend you contact our Clinic: 0300 123 5474 as soon as possible.
We encourage you to bring a friend or family member along to the clinic and upon arrival please alert the receptionist as to why you are there. You will be fast tracked to ensure you are seen promptly.
Our supportive staff will discuss any risks with you, offer you STI screening & contraception and signpost you to specialised services for further help from organisations including local women’s aid centres, RASA Merseyside and Survivors Manchester.