Relationships and consent

What is consent?

We usually hear about ‘consent’ when it comes to romantic relationships. However, consent is not just about engaging in physical intimacy.

Consent is about establishing boundaries, standing up for your own choices, and communicating with others. Consent can be taught at any age.

What is enthusiastic consent?

Enthusiastic consent is about ensuring that all parties to sexual acts are enthusiastically consenting to everything that happens. This means you would be participating in sexual acts because you’re excited about it, not because you feel pressured into it. Enthusiastic content gives power to each individual to decide if they want to have sex and how they want to have it.

Things to know about consent

Consent for physical or sexual contact is always important to establish. Sexual consent should be explicit, which means you clearly agree to the action. You can always change your mind and withdraw consent, or ask for clarification on what the person wants to do. It is good to check in with your partner and ensure that you still have enthusiastic consent from them.

You should also note that being affected by drugs or alcohol can impact whether someone is capable of giving consent.

What does everyday consent look like?

In case you’re wondering what everyday consent may look like, here are a few examples:

  • Get everyone's input before planning group activities
  • Don't reveal personal information about anyone without their permission
  • Obtain consent before engaging in non-sexual forms of touch, such as hugs
  • Obtain consent before photographing others
  • Don't force a discussion someone doesn't want to have
  • Don't pressure anyone to accept anything form you
  • Decide in advance how expenses will be split

By practicing consent in everyday situations, you show that you value the choices of others.