Understanding consent

What is consent?

Consent is when everyone who is participating in a sexual activity agrees to what is happening because they want to and not because they are being forced to or are threatened.

Everyone has the right to decide if they want to engage in sexual activity, when, where and how they want to do this and who they want to do it with. 

Check out these 26 ways to ask for consent by the Soul City Institute:

So, what if the person you want to have sex with doesn’t want to have sex with you? If you still go ahead and have sex with them, that’s rape and you could face jail time and have a permanent criminal record. 

There’s a simple way to make sure you have consensual sex (sex where both people agree and are willing to do it) every time:

Getting a firm ‘Yes!’

Even in the heat of the moment, at a party or with someone you’re very attracted to, pausing to ask for consent is always the best idea. You can only have sex if you clearly hear someone say yes! If they say no, stop immediately.

It is also important to remember that just because you are in a relationship with someone, this does not mean that they must have sex with you. If your partner says no, they mean it. No will never mean yes.

A NO is NEVER a YES – whatever the situation.

Here are four examples:

  1. If someone said earlier in the day that they would like to have sex, and then they change their mind, it is a NO.
  2. If someone starts having sex with you, and then changes their mind and wants to stop, it is a NO, and you NEED to STOP.
  3. If someone invites you to their place and cuddles you in bed, and says no, it is a no.
  4. If you buy someone a drink or a gift, it doesn’t mean they have said yes to sex. 

If you partner does say yes, then remember to get tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including HIV together before you have sex. That way when you do have sex, you will know what your status is, what their status is, and you will have condoms with you from the clinic so you can enjoy yourself.

To find out how to talk to your partner about sex, read this article – I want to have sex: How do I talk to my partner?

P.S: If you are still not sure what consent means, watch this AMAZE.org video. 

Not wanting to have sex right now is completely okay! Find out more

Remember, there is no pressure to have sex with someone else. Check out this article to learn about pleasuring yourself

There are certain red flags that show that you might be in an unhealthy relationship. Check out this article to find out more.

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