In a nutshell, sexual consent is when you and your sexual partner both agree to have sex. It’s really important to be clear on this before things get too hot and heavy.
1. Sexual consent must be explicit
There’s only one way to know for sure if someone has given their consent: if they tell you. It’s no good just to assume that the other person is as into it as you are. It’s extremely important to check, because any non-consensual sexual activity (even kissing and touching) is harmful and against the law.
2. You can always change your mind
You and your sexual partner can decide at any time that you don’t want to keep going, even if the sex stuff has begun. If this happens, both people should stop.
3. It's good to check in with each other
Take notice of your sexual partner’s body language. For example, if they seem tense or uncomfortable, pause and ask them how they’re feeling. But don’t rely on them to notice your body language – speak up and tell them how you’re feeling and if you want to stop or take a break.
4. It's fine to slow things down or stop
There’s really no rush to have sex if you’re not feeling it. If things are moving along too quickly for you, you could say something like ‘Can we slow down?’, ‘Can we take a break?’ or ‘Can we stop?’
5. Drink and drugs affect consent
If you’re really drunk or high, you can’t give consent. And if you’re sexual in any way with someone who's drunk or high and doesn’t know what’s going on and therefore can’t give informed consent, it’s equivalent to raping them.
Remember: if you’re both equally as enthusiastic about having sex, it also makes the sex much more pleasurable and enjoyable. Bonus.
What can I do now?
- Check that your sexual partner is comfortable with what's going on.
- Read about safe sex.
- Don't pressure someone if they don't feel ready.