A person can legally consent to sex at the age of 16. It is therefore illegal to have sex with anyone under 16 whether they gave their consent or not. You can find out more about the age of consent here
Whatever your gender or sexuality you must always seek consent from someone in sexual situations.
If someone says “no” when you offer touching, kissing or sex, then you cannot continue asking or even force yourself onto them as you do not have consent. No means NO and ignoring this can lead to serious consequences.
Also be aware of non-verbal signs for meaning ‘no’. Has the person stopped kissing you, do they not want to be touched or hugged, does the person seem tense, frightened or nervous? People don’t actually have to say the word ‘no’ as their body language can communicate this message which they may be trying to hide. Signs of non-consent shouldn’t be ignored – check with the other person and reassure them they don’t have to do anything they don’t want to do.
Is someone seeking consent from you? Or have you found yourself already in a sexual situation without discussing or even thinking about it first? If a person tries to get you to do something sexual or physical after you have said no, then body language can reinforce your verbal non-consent. Push them away, move their hands away and if necessary/possible leave.
Sometimes people just don’t hear the word “No”: https://youtu.be/qj_OcHp7zm8
Did they say “No”?
If you are asking consent and the person says no, this is ok. There are a million reasons why this person could have said no and they shouldn’t have to do anything they don’t want to.
If you are pushing someone into having sex with you then think about the implications this could have. You could be making this person unhappy and actually be pushing them away emotionally. Forcing or shaming someone is not how you get them to have sex and will get you into serious trouble with the law. Why would you want to have sex with someone who just not into it?
Read Sophie’s Story about when she said “No” and was ignored here.
It’s ok to say “No”
You are in control of giving consent. It is your body and nobody can tell you what to do with it.
Saying “no” could be down to not feeling ready, being with the wrong person or simply not being in the mood. But it doesn’t make a person frigid, boring, in experienced or selfish. Also remember that saying yes doesn’t have to mean you consent to all sexual activity, you can choose what you are comfortable with. Visit the Yes page for more information
Did you know that people who are drunk, taking drugs or asleep cannot legally consent to having sex? Therefore it is an automatic no from people who cannot make a conscious decision about sexual activity.
Importantly, sexual assault and rape happens to people at any age, in and out of relationships and isn’t always violent or aggressive. Help or further information can be found on the help centre page.
Fill in the Spectrum Consent Quiz and find out what you actually know about consent