Before having sex, it’s important you have your partner’s consent. Here’s the who, what, when, where, how, and why of consent:
Consent means to agree to do something, or for something to happen.
Asking for your partner’s consent shows that you respect their body, their boundaries, their feelings, and their decisions. Consent is an important first step in making sex a mutual, safe, and happy decision.
Consent is also a legal requirement. It is against the law to have sex with, or perform a sex act with someone who has NOT given his or her consent – this is sexual assault.
Consent cannot be coerced or forced.
For more on the legal side of consent, visit the Lawstuff website.
“YES!” Consent might be different for everyone, but it should be enthusiastic and certain. Umming and ahhing is not consenting.
Every time! Even if your partner consented yesterday, you still need their consent. You also need consent during sex – your partner agreeing to a new sex position doesn’t mean they’re consenting to it forever.
Up to you! You might flirt, ask directly – whatever feels comfortable. The important thing is that you ask, and respect your partner’s decision.
People under the influence of drugs and alcohol may not be able to consent. If in doubt, put off having sex until they’re sober.
People who are sleeping or unconscious cannot give consent.
People under the age of consent (16 in all states, except South Australian and Tasmania where it is 17) are unable to legally consent. Age of consent laws are in place to protect young people. Find out more about the age of consent here.
Your partner is allowed to change their mind – even when they’re naked, or midway through sex. If they change their mind, then you don’t have their consent.
Remember, it is illegal to have sex, or continue sex without consent.
Consent is your partner’s decision. Neither of you owe each other sex. Uncertainty isn’t a sign they need convincing.
Need a bit more? Watch a handy video on how consent is just like making a good cuppa.
If you want to know more you can ring 1800 451 624 between 9:00am and 5:30pm Monday to Friday to talk with a sexual health nurse. It’s confidential and free if you call from a landline.