Next week marks Sexual Health Week 2021, which will be focusing on CONSENT.
Someone consents to vaginal, anal or oral penetration only if s/he/they agrees by choice to that penetration and has the FREEDOM and CAPACITY to make that choice.
Consent to sexual activity may be given to one sort of sexual activity but not another.
Consent can be WITHDRAWN AT ANY TIME during sexual activity and each time activity occurs.
Any sort of sexual contact without consent is illegal whatever the age of the people involved. If consent is NOT given (to any sort of sexual activity) then this is classed as rape or sexual assault.
Consent and age
The age of consent in the UK is 16 for both men and women but there is clear guidance from the home office that there is no intention to prosecute you if you are under 16 and you are having sex with someone of a similar age if you both agree to it.
Those under the age of 13 however are protected by the Sexual Offences Act 2003. This means that if you are aged 12 or under you are not able to consent to any form of sexual activity. Any sexual activity with someone aged 12 or under is illegal.
Consent, alcohol and drugs
You can’t consent if you are drunk or high on drugs.
Consent and nudes
Asking for, creating, distributing and possessing nudes of someone under 18 is illegal. By law you need to be over 18 to send nudes. Sending nudes as an adults can have personal consequences. You must get consent before you press send. Not everyone wants a ‘visual’
Everyone is legally protected from sexual harassment by law.
Consent Can Be Fun
Consent does not have to be something that “ruins the mood.” In fact, clear and enthusiastic consent can enhance sexual interactions. Not only does it allow one to know that their partner is comfortable with the interaction, it also lets both partners clearly express what they want.
Consent is Specific.
Just because someone consents to one set of actions and activities does not mean consent has been given for other sexual acts. Similarly, if a partner has given consent to sexual activity in the past, this does not apply to current or future interactions. Consent can initially be given and later be withdrawn.