Consent, in simple terms, is deciding whether you want to do something or not. When it comes to sex and relationships, consent is non-negotiable.
People use both verbal and non-verbal cues (body language) to indicate consent. Saying ‘yes’ is one way of giving consent, but people can give it or take it away in other ways too. Even if someone doesn’t say ‘no’ or ‘stop’ verbally, they may be communicating this with their bodies or actions. Take a look at our examples of non-verbal communication here.
It is important to pay attention to the person you are being intimate with to make sure you are both happy and comfortable with what is going on.
Consent is freely given, not a result of pestering, wearing someone down or making someone feel like they ‘owe’ something. Someone should never try to persuade, pressure or encourage another person into doing things they do not want to do. This is not consent.
Someone is unable to consent to any sexual activity in these circumstances. If you’re not sure, you do not have consent.
You may do something one time but decide you do not want to do it again. This is ok. You need consent every time you engage in sexual activity, whether you are with someone you have just met or in a relationship. If someone changes their mind and no longer gives consent this must be respected straight away, even if it makes you feel disappointed or hurt.