What is sexual consent?
Simply put consent is about your choice when it comes to agreeing sexual activity with another person. Sexual activity includes a whole spectrum of things from kissing, touching to sexual intercourse and consent is required for them all.
The age of consent
The age of consent is the legal age when people can engage in sexual activity. In the UK, the age of consent is 16-years-old. This is the same regardless of the person’s gender or sexuality.
The law is there to protect young people from any form of abuse or exploitation.
Consent involves a person having the freedom and capacity to agree to the sexual activity. ‘Freedom’ means a persons ability to say yes or no, this must be of their own free choice, without consequence or threat and should be respected. ‘Capacity’ refers to the persons understanding and ability to make their choice, they must be able to fully understand what they are being asked and be able to communicate their consent.
Consent can not be given:
- if someone is under the influence of drugs or alcohol and it has impacted their capacity to consent.
- if someone is being coerced, manipulated, intimidated or threatened, this would mean they don’t have the freedom to consent.
- a persons capacity could also be affected by a disability, mental health or injury.
- if the person is under the age of 13
Consent isn’t fixed
A person has the right to change their mind at any time. Sexual activity must stop as soon as consent is withdrawn. Consent is also ongoing, you have to communicate and check again if consent is still given, saying yes and giving consent to one type of sexual activity is not consent to all.
Watch this consent video to understand more.