Anyone of any gender or sexuality who is intending to have sex, including kissing, foreplay and intimacy of any kind.
Who can give consent?
- Someone who knows what they are consenting to.
- Someone who is able to choose whether or not to do something.
- Someone who is able to communicate their choice without coercion. Both yes and no are safe and acceptable options.
- Someone who is able to understand if something might be harmful to them.
- Someone who is awake.
- Someone who is sober.
- It is the responsibility of EVERYONE to check they have the consent of their partner, before and during anything intimate.
Consent is giving permission for something to happen. You must seek consent from your partner or potential partner before you kiss, touch or have sex with them. You must also seek consent if you want to change from kissing to touching or foreplay, or from foreplay to penetrative sex. Consent for one thing does not mean consent for everything.
What does it look like?
- A clear and enthusiastic ‘yes’.
- A voluntary decision. It is not consent if you feel like you have to because of emotional, physical, mental or peer pressure.
- Consent is never assumed. You must always be sure of someone’s consent.
- Consent can be withdrawn at ANY point.
- Consent to one thing is not consent to everything.
- Not refusing does not equal consent. The absence of a 'no' is not a 'yes'.
You should always ask for consent from your partner, whether it's the first time you have been intimate, or the 100th time. Consent one day does not mean consent the next.
You should ask for consent if you are moving between kissing and foreplay, foreplay and penetrative sex, before you use sex toys and between different sex acts. Ask them 'Is it okay if I kiss you?' or 'Is it okay for me to touch you there?'. You could also ask 'Can we try _____?' or 'How do you feel about trying _____?'
You and your partner can withdraw consent at any point before or during sex and intimacy. If you consent to something, then decide you don't want to do it anymore, you are allowed to change your mind and tell your partner to stop. Your partner must respect your decision to withdraw your consent, and you must respect your partner's withdrawal of consent.
Consent keeps people safe. Consent allows you to check-in with your partner regularly and ensure that they feel comfortable, safe and are enjoying themself.
There are lots of ways to ask for consent, both before and during sex, here's some ideas:
- "Do you want to have sex?"
- "Can I go down on you?"
- "Can I touch you there?"
- "Is it okay for me to kiss you?"
- "Are you alright with this?"
- "How do you feel about doing _______?"
- "How does that feel?"
- "Wanna try something new?"
- "Would you like it if____?"
Respect your partner's response. If they say no, respect their decision. Don't force them or try to convince them to change their mind. Don't make them feel bad for saying no.