Consent is a really important part of sex – it’s how we know that both people want to do it and are enjoying it. If consent isn’t given then it’s sexual assault or rape, and it’s important in any kind of sexual activity.
It’s more than just verbally saying yes or no; it’s also about paying attention to who you’re with and seeing how they are reacting to you.
Understanding consent might sound confusing, but it’s actually really simple.
Is consent a one-off question? Nope! Consent needs to be given for every sexual thing you do, no matter if you’ve done it before. Consenting in the past or being in a relationship does not mean consent is automatically given in the future.
How do I get consent? Simple answer? Ask! And look out for body language to see how they are responding to you. If they seem like they aren’t enjoying it, they probably aren’t enjoying it.
How do I deal with mixed signals? If there is a ‘no’ either physically or verbally, then it must be respected. Be patient. When you’re both ready, you’ll both have a better experience.
We’ve been flirting and kissing, have I led them on? Dating, kissing or being intimate does not mean consent for sex. Giving consent to one sexual activity does not count as consent for others.
I’ve changed my mind, how should they respond? Consent can be withdrawn at any time. If you want to stop, they should stop.
But how do I talk about sex, its awkward! It’s important to communicate what you want, or don’t want. If you feel nervous try talking away from the bedroom and make it a fun, light-hearted chat. Try using sentences starting with ‘I’, such as, “I like it when you…” to keep it positive.
Try The Mix’s consent tool to help you figure it out.