Consent is your agreement to participate in something.
In the context of sex, if you are made to do something that you don’t consent to, it is a criminal offence (sexual assault or rape).
In terms of the law, consent is only valid if it is given:
- Voluntarily (not forced)
- Expressly (silence is not consent)
- Knowingly (you must be sober and aware of what you are consenting to)
- Specific (to a particular act, like kissing, taking clothes off or sex)
There are specific rules about consent when it comes to people under the age of 18 – see Teens.
Consent can be withdrawn at any time. If you feel uncomfortable at any time, you can withdraw consent and demand that the activity stops – even if you are both naked.
If you are married or in a relationship, you can refuse to consent to sex. If your partner continues to have sex with you, it is rape in terms of the law.