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  • Sexual consent

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    Only 'Yes' Means 'Yes'

    Consent is when both you and your partner have a mutual agreement about sex. It means communicating with each other before and during sex to check that you are both happy and comfortable with what’s taking place. Remember that you or your partner can change your mind at any point – including during sex. Consenting or declining to have sex is like accepting or declining a cup of tea: you can say ‘no’ to a cup of tea even if someone has already made if for you.

    1. Sexual consent must be explicit

    There’s only one way to know for sure if someone has given their consent: if they tell you. It’s no good just to assume that the other person is as into it as you are. It’s extremely important to check, because any non-consensual sexual activity (even kissing and touching) is harmful and against the law.

    2. You can always change your mind

    You and your sexual partner can decide at any time that you don’t want to keep going, even if the sex stuff has begun. If this happens, both people should stop.

    3. It's good to check in with each other

    Take notice of your sexual partner’s body language. For example, if they seem tense or uncomfortable, pause and ask them how they’re feeling. But don’t rely on them to notice your body language – speak up and tell them how you’re feeling and if you want to stop or take a break.

    4. It's fine to slow things down or stop

    There’s really no rush to have sex if you’re not feeling it. If things are moving along too quickly for you, you could say something like ‘Can we slow down?’, ‘Can we take a break?’ or ‘Can we stop?’

    5. Alcohol and drugs affect consent

    If you’re really drunk or high, you can’t give consent. And if you’re sexual in any way with someone who's drunk or high and doesn’t know what’s going on and therefore can’t give informed consent, it’s equivalent to raping them.

    What can I do now?

    Check that your sexual partner is comfortable with what's going on.

    Read about safer sex.

    Don't pressure someone if they don't feel ready.

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