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What is Consent?

Consent = Yes, I agree…

You, (the patient) consent to a medical or surgical examination – including sexual health matters.

This means that you have agreed (said ‘yes’) to the examination, service offered, or the treatment being proposed.

Consensual Sex

According to the Law, any kind of sex must be consensual, which means that both partners must agree to it. This is true whether you are planning on kissing, having oral sex, having sexual intercourse (sex), sharing sexual fantasies, or doing anything else that’s sexually intimate. Consensual sex means that you and your partner (boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife…) are comfortable and willing to have sex because you have discussed it with each other without putting any pressure on.

The age of consent

The age of consent is the age when the law says you can agree to have sex. In most countries, until you reach this age you can’t legally have sex with anyone, however old they are. Sometimes the law is slightly different when the partners are of a similar age, but there is still usually a minimum age below which sex is always illegal. It also makes no difference even if a young person has consent from parents – they do not make the law so it will still be illegal.

Is the age of consent the same across the world?

No. What the age of consent is usually depends on where you live – there are different age limits in different places and in some places the age of consent is different between boys and girls. To find out more on the age of consent in different countries visit www.avert.org.uk

Why do we have these laws?

Although many young people are mature enough to know how to deal with it if someone tries to get them to have sex, some teens are not grown up enough to know what to do. Age of consent laws are there to stop young people from being exploited by adults. This means that sex below the age of consent may be a criminal offence and a person can be prosecuted.

The age of consent in the UK is 16. This does not mean that once you reach 16 years old that people automatically expect you to have sex, the law is put in place to protect you.

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