Consent and Sex

Consent and Sex

What is Sexual Consent?

Consent is about the people engaged in sexual behaviour giving permission to each other that they would like to engage in a sexual behaviour.

At any point during a sexual encounter a person has the right to change their mind to say they don’t want to do something or to stop doing the sexual activity that has already begun.  To consent to doing one thing with a person does not mean you automatically consent to other sexual activities with that person.  It is okay for a person to agree to one type of sexual activity but to not want to do certain sexual acts with a sexual partner

Understanding Consent and Sex, is as simple as being offered a Cup of Tea

Animation courtesy of Emmeline May at and Blue Seat Studios. Copyright © 2015 RockStarDinosaurPiratePrincess and Blue Seat Studios.  Images are Copyright ©2015 Blue Seat Studios.

If you are still a bit unsure about consent and would like to know more here are more videos that might help you understand what consent means within a sexual relationship or encounter. 

How Do You Know if Someone Wants to Have Sex with You? >> PLANNED PARENTHOOD VIDEO

2 Minutes Will Change the Way You Think About Consent / Campus Clarity >> SEXUAL RESPECT AND CONSENT VIDEO

Sexual Respect and Consent. Learn about having respect for yourself and for your partner in any sexual relationship / - VIDEO

Consent and the Law

Mutual consent is necessary when engaging in any type of sexual behaviour with another person.  Sex without consent is a sexual offence under the law. “A person consents if they agree by choice, and has the freedom and capacity to make that choice” (Sexual Offences Act 2003).

Consent cannot be given if the person is DRUNK, HIGH, PASSED OUT, or ASLEEP.  In Ireland the law states that you have to be 17years of age before you can legally consent to having sex.

How do I know if my partner is giving sexual consent?

Communicate!  Watch, Listen and ask.  Communication is both non-verbal and verbal.  It is important during sexual encounters to pay attention to your partner’s verbal and non-verbal communications.

You need to check in with your partner. It might seem awkward at first but it doesn’t have to be.  When you’re together you could ask them:

Is this okay with you?
Do you like it when I do this?
Would you like me to ____________?
Do you want to go further?
Would you like to try ____________?
What would you like me to do?
Will I stop?
Are you alright?

There are non-verbal signs that indicate that your sexual partner is not comfortable with having sex and that they are not consenting.

They turn away from you
They push you away
They don’t respond to your touch
They cross their arms across their torso
Although you might know what consent means, how do you ask? The following

VIDEO helps navigate how to check in with your partner around sexual consent.

When Someone Isn’t Quite Sure If They Want to Have Sex | Planned Parenthood Video

How do I handle rejection?

Sometimes the person you fancy does not fancy you back, or the person you are with is not comfortable doing certain things or is not in the mood to have sex. It is important to respect that.  It can be difficult emotionally when you feel you are being rejected by somebody but how you handle it can make all the difference.

Safe and enjoyable sexual experiences happen when each person’s boundaries are respected. >> VIDEO

When Someone Doesn’t Want to Have Sex: What is Consent? | Planned Parenthood VIDEO

Consent is Classic Dane County Rape Crisis Center

Sex in the virtual age: Sexting

Consent and SexSexting is basically sending, receiving, or forwarding sexual photos or sexually suggestive messages through mobile devices.

Sometimes it’s difficult to navigate relationships especially sexual relationships and even more difficult when you are into the person. It should be okay to say ‘no’ to anything you are uncomfortable with.  The Zipit app provides funny memes to communicate that you’re not into doing something.

Sexting can be an enjoyable part of consensual sexual behaviour between people. It is important before engaging in sexting to ask yourself: Does my partner want to receive a sext message from me? Do I want to send sext messages? As with all sexual activity it is important to check in with yourself and to only engage in behaviour you are comfortable with.

There is an added dimension to sexting that may not be relevant to other sexual activity. A sext is a digital record. 

Before you engage in sexting it is important to check in with yourself:

  • Am I thinking of sexting because I feel pressured in anyway?
  • Do I trust this person wholly?
  • ¼ of people who receive a sext message show it to three friends, so sexting may not be as private as you hoped.
  • There is a possibility that others might accidentally see your sext, if your partner’s phone is lost, or picked up by a friend or family member. 

Intimate Images and COCO’s law

In December 2020 a new bill has passed in Ireland, which includes to make it a criminal offence to record, distribute, or publish an intimate image without consent. The official name of this new piece of legislation is “Harassment, Harmful Communications and Related Offences Bill”, commonly referred to as “COCO’s law”.

It basically means that a Court can prosecute someone who has (with or without intention to harm) recorded, shared or distributed “nudes”, sexual / intimate images of another person, without receiving their explicit consent to do so. It is also a crime to threaten someone that you intend to share such an image.

Being or having been in a relationship with the other person and passing on intimate images is an aggravating factor when this crime is being prosecuted. It does not matter if a person has consented to this photo being taken at the time, this does not give anyone the right to pass it on to anyone else!

Having your intimate image spread online can be a traumatic experience and can be a part of cyber bullying, harassment or revenge porn.
If you’d like to look at the bill click here