What is Consent?
Dating can be amazing when you both click but it can also get a little confusing sometimes especially when it comes to sex and making out. It can be unclear what the other person is thinking or how intimate they wish to get, we are not mind-readers after all. However, before you take things any further, it’s important to obtain their permission, which means their consent. A lack of understanding of what is meant by consent and that consent is crucial in all sexual activity can be a contributing factor for unwanted sexual activity and assault.
Maybe you’re a little unsure about what consent is – and what it isn’t? You may have heard the idea that “no means no,” but this doesn’t really cover it because it puts the responsibility on one person to resist or accept, rather than both of you being responsible for taking things to the next level. It also makes consent about what a partner doesn’t want, instead of about being able to openly express what they do want. Consent should be freely given, and an enthusiastic, clearly communicated and ongoing yes. Never assume consent.
Well, How Does It Work? (Example taken from Love is respect)
Some people are worried that talking about consent will be awkward or a mood-killer, which is not the case. If anything, the mood is much more positive when both of you are happy and you can freely communicate what you want or don’t want. First off, you could talk about what terms like “hooking up” or “going all the way” mean to each of you. Sex – it’s not about giving and it’s not about taking – It’s about sharing. Communication is a healthy and important part of sex. Consent can be expressed both verbally and physically, so it can be with words as well as actions and body language. Consider having these conversations during a time when you’re not being physically intimate.
Share your thoughts with us by using #AskConsent on Twitter.
Please watch this very informative video which explains consent quite simply: Consent – Simple as Tea.
How to know if someone is NOT freely consenting:
- So if someone is struggling and saying ‘stop’ – notice and STOP
- If the other person is not responding with any enthusiasm, they may be complying or feeling coerced. Check it out and if they are not glad to continue, STOP
- If the other person seems frozen or afraid check it out and STOP
- If someone is asleep or falls asleep- notice and STOP
- If someone is asleep or in a comatose condition possibly due to alcohol – notice and don’t even START
- Or if he or she is acting in any other way that suggests that they are not up for it, check it out and be prepared to STOP
Most importantly if you genuinely can’t tell whether they are interested in you or not, well maybe they’re not nearly interested enough for you to take that risk. If they are, and you have confirmed consent well then that’s great.
Some facts to keep in Mind
- The legal age of consent for having sex in Ireland is 17 years, in the North it is 16 years. This means that anyone who has sex with someone under the age of 17 is committing a crime.
- If a person has sex with another person without their consent it is a crime
- Be aware that having sexual intercourse with a person without their consent constitutes rape. A person cannot give their consent freely if they are asleep, are unconscious or severely impaired due to alcohol or drugs.
- When a person is taken advantage of in any of these circumstances whereby they have not given their consent freely, they suffer the huge trauma of the effects of being raped.It’s important to remember that sex is not a contract – you can change your mind anytime you want. If someone’s not feeling it, they’re not feeling it. End of story. So as the video shows it’s about asking, it doesn’t matter if you have had sex before, or even if you are in a relationship, when it comes to sex there are no grey areas. So make sure you #AskConsent every time.
Services of the DRCC.
The Dublin Rape Crisis Centre provides support, information, counselling and advocacy services to help people recover from the trauma of sexual violence. Our aim is to offer a safe and confidential space where women and men of all ages can be listened to and supported without shame or self-blame. If you or someone you know has been raped or sexually abused, you don’t have to manage alone. Please remember if you need any help or are unsure of what to do, call the National 24-Hour Sexual Violence Helpline 1800 77 8888 where you will get support and guidance from a trained person.
Please click on the following link to find the location of your nearest RCC.
Links to other RCC’s
For more support and information go to: