Consent, in this context, means freely and voluntarily agreeing to intimate and sexual activity.
Not everyone feels comfortable being direct, assertive or explicit. We all have different boundaries and levels of comfort when talking about sex. So it is important that we can talk openly.
Asking to stop or try something else is the right thing to do if you are not comfortable.
Consent also means taking responsibility for and ensuring the other person is comfortable and agrees to engage in sexual activity with you. Understanding consent and acceptable behaviour is essential before you engage in any sexual encounter.
Respect for one another’s personal boundaries and wellbeing is at the heart of sexual consent. Consent is verbal and physical and is given when someone says ‘yes’ to sexual activity.
The best way to make sure of having sexual consent is to ask.
Sexual consent cannot be given by someone who is under the age of 16, forced or coerced, intoxicated, affected by drugs, asleep, unconscious, incapable of saying no or unable to understand what they are consenting to. Engaging with a person in any of these states is sexual assault.
Sexual consent can be withdrawn at any time during a sexual encounter: people can change their minds –even right before or during sex.
Consent is an ongoing conversation, and we all have the right to say stop.