Am I breaking the law?

The age of consent for males and females of all sexualities is 16 years old. Although it is an offence to have sex under the age of 16, the police or home office are unlikely to prosecute any teenagers who are aged 13-15 years old if they are both of similar age and they both agree to be sexually active.

It is however, an offense for a person over the age of 18 who is in a position of trust e.g. teacher, youth worker or social worker to be sexually active with a person under the age of 18.

To read more follow the link here.

Gaining sexual consent

Consent is about being able to agree to something if you are sure it is right for you to do it. It is also about making sure you have the confidence to say no if you don’t want to do something.

Just because you have contraception and condoms sorted doesn't mean you have to have sex. Make sure it's your choice.

Consensual sex means:

  • No pressure
  • You both decide to do it
  • You both feel happy and safe while doing it

Remember to check that you are both 100% up for it every time. You may have had sex together before, but just because they wanted to last time doesn't mean they want to this time. Consenting means only that at this particular time you would like to engage in this particular sexual behaviour so if you say yes now it doesn't mean you agree to it next time.

Sex is meant to make you feel good and bring you closer to someone. But this will only feel good if you both agree to it.

It's ok to say no.

Don't feel awkward about saying no to sex (or kissing, touching or any other sexual activity).

Nobody has the right to make you go further than you want to. You also have every right to say no, at any point, whoever you're with. If you want to have sex but your boyfriend or girlfriend or friend doesn't, you must respect their feelings.

How do I know if I have consent?

If your partner says yes just to please you, or is unsure, or not ready – then you don't have consent.

If your partner ever says no during sex or asks you to stop, you must stop immediately. Saying no should never be treated as a game or as a signal that someone is "playing hard to get." However, it might be that they feel they can't say no. Other things that might mean they're not into it include reluctance to take part, freezing up during sex, crying or being silent.

Certain situations make it impossible for a person to legally give consent. These circumstances usually involve cases in which a person is not mentally or physically capable of choosing whether to engage in sexual behaviour. For instance, if someone is drunk or high on drugs, then that person cannot give consent.

Not having consent can result in serious consequences including prosecution and even going to jail.

The following excellent short film gives a helpful and humorous summary of CONSENT, using the metaphor of offering someone a cup of tea.

If you are worried, have been raped or think you may have been sexually assaulted click here to find out where to get help and support.